Frontpage News 2015 Again and again an...

Again and again and…

14 September 2015

​“Keep taking risks, make mistakes, learn from them and be better next time,” the American ambassador, Rufus Gifford said at a masterclass for student start-ups at the Danish Bankers Association. 

Later this month, the American ambassador, Rufus Gifford will host the Student Startup Investor ball at the ambassadorial residence in Rydhave. It is one of the year’s largest and most exclusive investor events, where young Danish start-up companies, created by students attending higher educational institutions and new graduates, get the chance to obtain venture capital from a large turnout of potential investors.

“I’m really looking forward to the Investor Ball. I hope that some of you will meet investors, that can lift your companies up to the next level,” Rufus Gifford said, as he welcomed 31 student start-ups from across Denmark to a masterclass at the Danish Bankers Association.


Rufus Gifford: “I think we should do a lot more collaborations like this, such as the ‘Student Startup Investor Ball’, between governments and the private sector.”


Here, the young entrepreneurs received advice and input about where and how they can find venture capital, about valuing their company, how to optimise business plans, how to receive a loan from the bank and training the all-important investor pitch.

The Chief Executive for business customers at the Greater Copenhagen financial centre at Danske Bank, Ole Rahbek Mathiassen: “Be prepared with thorough business plans when you meet with the bank so that you can account for your own weaknesses, as well as threats on the market. And be realistic, perhaps even preferably on the conservative side.”


Jan Rosenbom Keystones: “A lot of start-ups overestimate their market value and they are also often very optimistic in terms of how long it takes to penetrate a market.”


“I have experiences of starting companies myself and I have made huge mistakes. Several times,” explained the ambassador, while he also encouraged the packed room to keep trying and not to be put off by setbacks.

“I only became successful when I learnt how to balance my head and my heart. And for me, this is exactly what entrepreneurship is about. We all need challenges and goals in life, and I believe that you all have these. So, keep taking risks, make mistakes, learn from them and be better next time. Again and again and again,” Rufus Gifford said.

The ambassador also emphasised that the American Embassy is here to help Danish companies that wish to enter the American market.

“We can help you navigate your way around the system and I would, of course, encourage you all to invest in the USA. That’s actually what I’m employed for,” the ambassador said with a wry smile.  


Companies chosen for the Student Startup Investor Ball

​Name and educational institution

Emplate ApS
Aarhus University

​iBeacons that can communicate with smartphones from a short distance, e.g. for marketing in shopping centres.
Aalborg University Copenhagen
​A “digital green finger” that can measure moisture levels, temperatures etc. in plants in office buildings.
KEA (Copenhagen School of Design and Technology)
​Elegantly designed high-heeled shoes.
DTU (Technical University of Denmark)
​Solar panels that can absorb a lot more energy than existing products.
SIMAC (Svendborg International Maritime Academy)​
​Environmental technology for ships.
The University of Copenhagen​
​A measuring apparatus for production buildings, horticulture enterprises etc.
Aarhus University
​A parasol base which is lighter and more stabile.
Business Academy Aarhus BA level
Golf equipment with built-in charity functions.
​A website where customers can rent jewellery etc.
CBS (Copenhagen Business School) ​
​A digital flea market.
​City trips with included experiences.
Aarhus University
​Skin care products against acne.
​New bacteria cultures for the pharmaceutical industry.
The University of Copenhagen and Aalborg University)
​Methods to avoid re-admissions to psychiatric hospitals.
CBS, SDU (the University of Southern Denmark) and DTU
​A new strategy game.
Aarhus University​
​Underwear for men.

Student Startup Investor Ball - programme 

The Danish Foundation for Entrepreneurship supports the Student Startup Investor Ball in cooperation with the American Embassy and the Danish Bankers Association. 
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