The Vikings are coming!

Guest blog by Anette Nørgaard

The Kingdom of Denmark: the Southernmost of the Nordic countries, bordered by Germany, Sweden and Norway.  Its governance comprises three countries: Denmark itself, the Faroe Islands and Greenland.  Original birthplace of the legendary Vikings, it also happens to home to a vibrant entrepreneur community.  I’ve been mentoring and working with startups in Denmark for many years and I can definitely say that despite economic challenges, we’re seeing a lot great business ideas developing here.

And, like those warriors of old, many Denmark’s startups are setting their sights on global roll-out.  This is hardly surprising – like lots of European countries, the size of the domestic market limits potential growth and so, pushing beyond national boundaries is imperative to long-term survival (as well as being good news for the local economy of course).

It’s easier said than done, but here are a couple of examples from the BizSpark community where that Viking spirit is working.  MailTalk™ has created an ingenious platform for “digital dialogue”. This cloud-based solution addresses the growing trend towards engagement marketing, where organizations want to have rich, more tailored contact with audiences, but in a controlled and integrated way.  It overcomes the challenge of  having multiple data and communication tools or platforms (ERP, CRM, CMS, email, etc). Although this is a very young company (it only launched its platform in late 2011) it is already attracting a lot of interest from some big organizations.

Further down the track is Pixel Pandemic, whose ‘Zombie Pandemic’ game has been a huge hit.  This is a classic start-up that spotted a gap in the market. It has tapped into the interest in browser-based games  - particularly the explosion of game applications on Facebook -  and has created a feature-rich gaming platform that appeals to more ‘serious’ players of massive multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPG).   Once again, being on the cloud has helped the company accelerate: the “the Azure model means we can build a global business without investing in our own IT infrastructure,” said CEO Thomas B. Krogh-Jacobsen.

Last but not least is Little Beacon, which has successfully launched mobile solutions aimed at productivity (for instance, ERP).  Once again, this is a company based on the Azure platform, which has made it easier for the company to scale and build expand into other countries.  Little Beacon is already doing very well in the US.

Of course, it’s hard to be successful without a helping hand, which is why working with our local BizSpark Network Partners is so important.  Take startup City (also one of the first partners for our Windows Azure for BizSpark Special Offer), based in Århus, providing office space, mentoring and all kinds of support for local startups within the BizSpark community.

Another example is SCALEit is a Silicon Valley based organization promoting Danish entrepreneurship.  It has big ambitions: to engage more than 1,000 entrepreneurs in Denmark, bring +75 startups to Silicon Valley for a one-week SCALEit camp, put +30 companies through a 3 months accelerator program in Silicon Valley and ultimately help these companies explore their full growth potential.  We look forward to sending more BizSpark start-ups in their direction.

These companies are just the tip of the iceberg.  Denmark is definitely a country to watch, especially those startups who have global ambitions.  So watch out for the Vikings!

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