Three to watch: Aarhus startups gone global
Our own playground, Aarhus, has a booming startup community. But the world outside of Denmark is also full of opportunities. Dive into these three startups from Aarhus that have had success beyond Danish borders.
Dripdrop is an umbrella sharing system founded by Andreas Søgaard and Mattias Edström in 2021. Placed mainly in hotels around Europe, guests can borrow umbrellas from Dripdrop stands in one place and return them in another with a swipe of a card.
Prior to becoming Dripdrop – an Aarhus-company supplying some of the largest hotel chains in Europe – they had been through a couple of different solutions. First, they simply went by selling advertisements on the umbrellas placed in local shops for people to borrow. But they realized, they couldn’t rely on people bringing back the umbrellas.
“We really wanted to solve this rain problem on a larger scale, but we could easily see that the concept would never work in a city like Copenhagen for example,” Andreas Søgaard explains.
Later on, they transformed into a tech-company, but converting people to an app in order to use the umbrellas didn’t seem to work either. That’s when they started testing it out in hotels.
“Hotels just had a completely different need. That’s where we saw the maximum potential of usage, as guests would always return to where they first picked up the umbrella,” Andreas Søgaard says.
Now, they operate in 14 European countries and are looking to expand even more. A notable achievement considering the company is run by a few guys in a small office in Aarhus.
“We get about 40 requests per month from hotels across Europe without seeking it out. It comes to us because people have seen our product elsewhere. That's the good thing about hardware,” Andreas Søgaard explains.
And recently, a new investment from among others Danske Bank Growth and Vækstfonden has made it possible for Dripdrop to take in even more of the requests.
“It gives us the freedom to use our resources to actually grow the business. Before, we had to constantly use the means in production,” Andreas Søgaard says and explains that they expect to have Dripdrop umbrellas placed in over 1000 hotels by the end of next year.
Another Aarhus-born startup with success beyond Danish borders is the fintech, Vibrant – an app that transforms android devices into a payment terminal. An easy solution for businesses like restaurants and craftsmen, and an alternative to the traditional expensive card terminals.
Vibrant was founded by Kasper Krog, Kåre Brøgger Sørensen, and Anders Kaels Malmos in 2020.
Kasper Krog is a second-time entrepreneur, who has been vocal about taking advantage of his previous experiences.
This time around, it was significant for Kasper Krog to take the process of building a company slowly. He considers it running a marathon, rather than a sprint.
“It is important to take care throughout the journey. For example, by not working too much for long periods of time," Kasper Krog points out. "And remember to enjoy it, because it’s a long journey, but also a fun one!”
A perspective he has carried with him for the process of building Vibrant.
At the moment, the Aarhus-based fintech operates in Denmark, Norway, Cyprus, and Spain. Countries that are deliberately scattered across Europe.
“We don’t want to only seek out our neighbouring countries. We want to roam widely in Europe to see if our solution fits better in Cyprus, Spain, or Italy, for example. That way we get to test our range and see what the ideal markets are,” Kasper Krog explains.
The latest news from Vibrant is that they completed their seed round raising 30 million DKK. They have now welcomed investors from byFounders and Luminar Ventures.
Pento is the first automated payroll software that makes payroll more transparent and user-friendly.
The Aarhus-born startup was founded by Emil Hagbarth Rasmussen and Jonas Bøgh Larsen in 2017. The two guys had personal experience of running payroll and therefore spotted room for improvement.
Running payroll often requires huge amounts of manual data and paperwork, which can lead to errors taking up time to fix. Many companies also outsource payroll to accountants or payroll agencies, but Pento provides a solution where companies can handle it all from within letting them submit the payroll in one single click.
After establishing themselves in Denmark, Pento quickly look beyond Danish borders as the level of payroll-effectiveness was significantly higher in Scandinavia than in most other places in Europe. Therefore, they sought out England where they have since had great success.
Now, they have offices in London, Ireland, and Copenhagen with employees spread across 17 different countries working remotely.
Pento also have more international adventures on the menu for the future. Jonas told Børsen in 2021 that they have plans to roll out in several countries such as Spain in 2022. And in the past years, Pento has been on a roll when it comes to investments helping them expand even more internationally.
In one of their latest investment rounds, they raised over 200 million DKK back in December 2021 from international investors like Tiger Global Management and Avid Ventures. Six months prior, Pento secured an investment of about 103 million DKK.