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Denmark, one of the world’s leading robotics clusters, has created a new fund to financially support startups. The Odense Robotics StartUp Fund has DKK 18.4 million ($2.5 million USD) in capital thanks to donations from some of the country’s most influential robotics investors and companies, as well as prominent commercial foundations.
The new fund aims to offer improved access to capital, unique sector knowledge and a strong incubation environment. The funding will be invested directly into at least 30 startups over the next six years. The investment takes place in the form of a loan, which startups repay over time. Startups make an additional payment if they are acquired. Payments generate returns, which the fund then uses to support new startups.
The fund is open to applications from robotic and drone startups from Denmark and abroad. Aside from receiving a loan, startups are part of the world-class incubator at Danish Technological Institute in Odense, offering office space and advanced technical equipment in an innovative environment focused on hardware development.
The capital in the Odense Robotics StartUp Fund consists of donations from the following:
- Bente Iversen
- Enrico Krog Iversen – CEO of OnRobot and former CEO of Universal Robots
- Helge Munk
- Niels Jul Jacobsen – CEO of Capra Robotics and founder of Mobile Industrial Robots (MiR)
- Ralf Astrup – investor and former CEO and Co-owner of Cabinplant
- Thomas Visti – CEO & founder of Visti Unlimited; former CCO of Universal Robots; former CEO of MiR
- Bitten & Mads Clausens Foundation
- C.C.N. Holding A/S
- Den Faberske Fond
- Entreprenør Marius Pedersens Fond
- Novo Nordisk Foundation
- The Grundfos Foundation
- Universal Robots A/S
“We have donated to Odense Robotics StartUp Fund because we want to contribute towards the continued growth of the robotics environment in Odense and Denmark,” said Enrico Krog Iversen, CEO of OnRobot and former CEO of Universal Robots. “It’s about giving robotics entrepreneurs better access to loan capital, professional support and good facilities. By joining forces with other strong players, we hope to make a difference for generations of robotic startups in the future. The robotics community here has given us so much, so we feel we want to give something back.”
Some of the fund’s founders will act as mentors to the startups.
“For us, it’s about giving back to the community we come from. We have a truly unique robotics cluster here in Odense with a world-class university, enormous support from the municipality and local ecosystem, and hundreds of robotic companies of various sizes spanning a huge range of expertise,” said Kim Povlsen, president of Universal Robots. “But we’re not done yet with making Odense the world’s best robot city. There’s still lots of potential waiting to be realized. That’s why we are contributing to Odense Robotics StartUp Fund – so we can support future startups, not just financially but also through dialogue and mentoring.”
Denmark’s robotics industry grew 12% in 2021. It generated EUR 2.8 billion (DKK 21.1 billion) in turnover in 2021, including EUR 1.5 billion (DKK 11 billion) in exports. More than EUR 900+ million (DKK 6.7 billion) has been invested in robotics companies in Denmark since 2015.