Aarhus Investor Summit 2023 was held at Aarhus City Hall on October 5th and brought together over 200 participants, 110 investors, 26 exhibiting startups, and featured 11 pitch cases seeking funding. This year's summit marked a significant expansion, with a focus on cases and investments in the domains IT/tech, cleantech, health, and food. Notably, two new partners, Food & Bio Cluster Denmark and Agro Food Park, joined the event as partners, demonstrating Aarhus's commitment to foster innovation within its strongholds of health, cleantech and food.
The summit opened with a warm welcome from Søren Boel from the City of Aarhus, who initiated a conversation with Chat GPT. The AI tool highlighted Aarhus's thriving startup ecosystem, attributing its success to world-class education institutions like Aarhus University, a collaborative environment, and a robust network of mentors, industry experts, and entrepreneurs. On the investor front, Aarhus is lauded for its attractiveness to both local and international investors, with substantial growth in venture capital funding during the recent years.
The keynote speakers set the tone for the event. Alfred Spormann from CORC took the audience on a visionary journey into a future carbon economy. He emphasized the unique aspects of the green tech revolution, including its scale, speed, cost-effectiveness, and the need for cross-disciplinary expertise. Spormann identified the requirements for success, including new partnerships, revised risk and profit assessments, and an annual investment potential of $1.5 - $1.7 trillion. Market opportunities, he said, lie in decarbonization, energy, and the carbon economy.
The second keynote speaker, Ask Emil Løvschall-Jensen, CEO of Hyme, spoke about achieving large-scale, cost-efficient, and sustainable energy storage. He highlighted that most of the world's current energy comes from non-renewable sources, making the need for innovative energy storage solutions imperative. Hyme's molten salt technology, expected to reach a market value of 16 billion euros by 2031, is a promising step towards this goal.
The pitch session featured 11 startups actively seeking strategic partnerships and investments. These startups covered a wide range of industries, from quantum computing (Kvantify) to ocean energy (Crestwing), robotics (ROBOE), and healthcare (HĀTO Medical Technologies).
Following the pitches, the reverse pitch session brought together three investors who shared insights and opportunities: Rockstart, Angella Invest, and The Export and Investment Fund of Denmark (EIFO). Their involvement showcased the diverse investor landscape available for startups.
“Aarhus has all the ingredients. That was ChatGPT's conclusion on the startup and investor environment in Aarhus, which was very visible when Aarhus Investor Summit gathered 200 investors and startups at Aarhus City Hall today. Great presentations from Novo Nordisk Foundation CO₂ Research Center (CORC) and Hyme as well as strong investor pitches from Rockstart, Angella Invest and Export and Investment Fund of Denmark. 11 pitches and 26 booths with very promising startups ranging from robotics to quantum technology, wave and wind energy to AI and artificial intelligence,” says Søren Boel, Manager at City of Aarhus.
The summit also featured the highly anticipated INCUBA Awards, recognizing outstanding startups and investors in the Aarhus ecosystem. Kvantify was awarded 'Startup of the Year 2023' for its revolutionary quantum computing technology, with the potential to make a global impact. Kvantify participated in the final together with three other startups: Battman Energy, PlanetDairy and SulfiLogger. Claus Hansen received the 'Investor of the Year 2023' award for his dedication and expertise in supporting knowledge-intensive startups in the healthcare space. Claus Hansen participated in the final together with Christian Vinther from Founderment and angel investor Pernille Lynggaard Frandsen.
“Aarhus Investor Summit is a must-do every year for any interested investor and also for the startup environment in Aarhus and in Denmark in general working with tech solutions,” he says.