DTU Startup Day 2021.Photo:Roar Reinert.
DTU Startup Day 2021.Photo:Roar Reinert.
DTU Startup Day 2021.Photo:Roar Reinert.
DTU Startup Day 2021. Photo: Roar Reinert.

DTU Startup Day premiere drew full houses

Entrepreneurship Innovation and product development
More than 300 participants and 60 start-up projects participated in DTU Startup Day, which gathered activities from DTU’s entire ecosystem for innovation. 

Companies and investors turned up in large numbers for DTU Startup Day to hear what DTU has to offer in the field of innovation and to meet start-ups. The day was dominated by sustainable solutions and projects with social impact, and it was the first time that DTU opened a window into its full range of innovation activities—from early concepts in DTU Skylab to start-ups in the accelerator programme Danish Tech Challenge.

“Start-ups are important to DTU. They help ensure that our technology gets out into society and makes a difference to people. DTU wants to create an open innovation scene, where we collaborate and help each other. That’s why we’ve also involved other universities and other researchers. No one can do this alone. Start-ups need support and good advice from people with more experience and connections. And we hope that Startup Day can help create this,” said Marianne Thellersen, Senior Vice President of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at DTU.

Experience with start-ups

Two out of three participants at Startup Day came from a company or were investors. A total of just over 300 participants turned up on the day, and a show of hands among the audience indicated that nearly one in four participants had experience with establishing a start-up. The number of hands then dropped when the question was: Have you been involved in starting a company that today has 50 or 100 employees? And only one hand was raised when the bar was set at more than 500 employees. The hand belonged to investor and co-founder of the consulting firm Implement Consulting Group, Jens Vasehus.

"Start-ups are important to DTU. They help ensure that our technology gets out into society and makes a difference to people."
Marianne Thellersen, Senior Vice President of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, DTU.

“I’m here as an investor and to get some good ideas. I’m a partner in a private equity fund with 16 partners where we only invest our own money, and there is actually one of the companies that we’re currently looking at that I’ve been inspired to something different with by what I’ve seen at Startup Day. It’s a fantastic event, I’m impressed,” said Jens Vasehus.

Exhibition halls and pitching

Startup Day was structured around two exhibition halls with presentation stands for the 60 start-ups. DTU’s innovation hub DTU Skylab buzzed with life all day, interrupted by a panel session with discussions with investors and entrepreneurs and three pitching rounds of one hour’s duration at which the many start-ups presented their concepts. 

One of the projects—Grøn Sky (Green Cloud)—briefly presented their concept for energy savings by storing data on cloud-based hard drives which are switched off most of the time, as opposed to storage with constant online access used by the Dropbox and iCloud platforms. By accepting a response time of a few hours in the long-term storage facility at Grøn Sky, consumers can reduce the energy consumption for storage of their digital data to one tenth.Since February 2021, Dansk Overskudsenergi A/S—which is the parent company of Grøn Sky—has been connected to DTU Link on Risø Campus in the accelerator programme DTU Link Early Impact. According to Pierre Bennorth—CEO of both companies—the Grøn Sky project is ready to stand on its own feet after a crowdfunding campaign that will raise EUR 10,000 for the final development of the concept, possibly in an incubation environment.


Startup Day was characterized by a wide selection of projects focusing on the development of sustainable technologies ranging right from the WOHN project—which builds 3D printed houses from plastic waste—to AQfeed, which turns waste from fish farms into fish feed through a process with algae and worms.

The day ended with the best pitch of the day being chosen from among the start-ups that presented their projects in the Danish Tech Challenge pitching round. The first prize went to the start-up Sensæ and its portable sensor and vibrator, developed to support patients with stress and anxiety in master their anxiety.