Silicon Valley in Denmark

According to David Helgason, the Icelandic IT guru and developer of Unity – one of the most popular licensed game engines – Denmark has the potential to usurp Silicon Valley as the world’s leading tech mecca.

Helgason contends that a weakening of Silicon Valley’s dominance, combined with the quick development of the Danish tech and startup arena, could see Denmark ascend to the zenith of tech development in the future.

“It’s going better than ever before in Denmark. I meet with startups every day and there are really solid companies and a good growth layer of small startups,” said Helgason.

“They are technically sound, visionaries, think globally from the off and sell their products across the world. They are not afraid of moving if needed, but many feel it’s lovely to live in Denmark. So it’s probably only a matter of time before someone decides to remain in Denmark.”

Helgason pointed to the new grassroots network #CPHFTW (Copenhagen, For The Win), which now consists of over 80 Danish startups, and a number of startup clusters like Founders House and Startup Village CPH.

Startup Village CPH is made up of over 500 people in almost 35 companies, including Vivino and Labster, and is supported by a number of capital funds, including Creandum, Northcap and Sunstone.

David Helgason, the Icelandic IT guru and CEO of Unity.
David Helgason, the Icelandic IT guru and CEO of Unity. Image credit: Road to VR

Europe gaining ground

Europe in general is becoming a hotspot for startups. Just last year there were 11 European startups that were sold or estimated to be worth over 1 billion US dollars – and two of them, Trustpilot and Tradeshift, were Danish.

However, Denmark still needs to be more proactive, contends Helgason, to propel the scene in Denmark to the same level of Silicon Valley – and London and Berlin in Europe – and the effort will require both strong political and business will.

“If Denmark wants to disrupt the entire innovation area in earnest, they actually need to be far more aggressive,” he warned.

“If we really wanted to get something going, we need to do something big on a national stage.”

Carlos Monteiro is a Brazilian citizen, graduated in Business Administration by the Catholic University of São Paulo. He lives in Odense, Denmark with his Danish Wife, Cathrine, and their half Danish /Brazilian daughter Ines Marie. You are very welcome to be in contact him at any time.
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