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Path to growth

State of medtech startups in Denmark • 2016

A unique insight into the state of Danish medtech startups

This report provides insight into how it is to be a medtech entrepreneur in Denmark. We have asked CEO's of venture backed startups about everything from capital access to recruiting. CEO's from 1/2 of all venture backed medtech startups in Denmark have participated in the survey.

Denmark is one of the global leaders in the medtech field. The annual turnover of the industry is €6.5 billion and it accounts for 10% of all private investments in R&D. In Denmark the medtech industry is known for its significant size, high growth and high level of innovation.

Startups play a crucial role in the ecosystem that makes it possible for the industry to grow and develop new solutions. However, our report highlights significant barriers for founding new successful medtech companies. If we do not address these challenges we risk depleting a fundamental source for growth - and jeopardize the future of the medtech industry in Denmark.

Here is what we have learned.

Entrepreneurs are pessimistic about the future

The vast majority of medtech startups expect to make their first sales within 1-2 years. Despite this, less than 1/5 believes that the business climate for medtech startups in Denmark is positive!

This is caused by poor access to capital and lack of regulatory competencies

More than 3/4 of the startups expect that it will become challenging raise the next round of funding and 1/2 believe that they are either under-funded or significantly under-funded. About 1/3 startups report difficulties in recruiting employees for regulatory affairs.

Unfortunately the public business support that should help is not working

2/3 af the startups perceive support from the public "Innovationsmiljøer" as poorly functioning or not working and more than 1/2 of the startups miss a life science incubator with access to regulatory employees.

We can reverse the tide

The solution is smarter public business support, easier access to capital, and regulatory competencies. We have defined 9 solutions to the problems.

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Open policy folder (Danish)

Complete survey results

We highlighted some conclusions we find particularly interesting, but the survey yielded several other relevant and surprising results. See below for insight into all answers and the companies that participated. The 34 companies that participated represent approximately 1/2 of all venture-backed medtech startups in Denmark.


1. Is the business climate for starting a medtech startup in Denmark good?

2. What was your last funding round?

3. Who were your lead investor?

4. When did you raise your previous round of funding?

5. How long was the fundraising process for your latest round?

6. How many investors did you pitch for your latest funding round?

7. When do you plan to raise further capital?

8. Do you expect it to get harder or easier to raise venture capital in the next 12 months?

9. How challenging do you expect your next fundraising round to be?


1. Over the next few years, do you think power will be more in the hands of entrepreneurs or more in the hands of investors?

2. What was the most important factor behind your choice of lead investor?

3. Has the help you have received from your lead investor made a significant difference to the development of your company?


1. When do you expect an exit?

2. Do you expect fewer or more mergers and acquisitions for startups over the next 12 months?

3. What valuation do you expect at your exit?

Business promotion

1. Do you miss a life science incubator to start and develop your business?

2. What services should this incubator provide?

3. How do you perceive the public business support to medtech startups through the Danish "Innovationmiljøer"?*?

*Innovationmiljøer are four national micro VC funds that invest on behalf of the government in startups founded by researchers and science based entrepreneurs (BOREAN, SDI, Capnova and Pre-seed)

4. How do you perceive the public business support through the Danish "Innovationsnetværk"*?

*22 public funded national innovation networks that gather researchers, companies and public institutions to facilitate innovation and growth (e.g. Medtech Innovation, Welfare Tech)

5. How do you perceive the relevance of the "Væksthuse" for medtech startups?*

*Væksthuse are public funded organisations that provide entrepreneurs advice on business development

6. How do you perceive the public business support through the Danish "Innovationsfond"*?

*Innovation Fund Denmark is a public fund that yearly provide €170m in grants for new initiatives that create growth and employment in Denmark. Offentlig fond med formål at give tilskud til udvikling af viden og teknologi

7. How effective is the pubic business support for medtech startups overall in Denmark?

Økonomi og vækst

1. How would you describe your current level of funding?

2. When do you expect to make your first product sale?

3. How many employees do you expect to hire the next 12 months?

4. What type of employee is the most difficult to recruit?

5. Do you have sufficient access to specialised employees from abroad?

6. Are the Danish rules for compensating employees through stock options limiting growth?

About the respondents

1. Are you the CEO, founder or both?

2. Where is your company headquartered?

3. How long ago did you start your company?

4. How old are you?

5. How mature is your company?

6. How many employees do you have?

7. What is the CE classification of your product?

How do we create a better climate for startups?

Medicoindustrien has 9 proposals to improve the business environment for medtech startups in Denmark.

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Open policy folder (Danish)