Let Leg: Why work in a startup while studying?

WHY WORK IN A STARTUP WHILE STUDYING?

Let Leg helps schools initiate fun games and physical activities in order to create a more stimulating education for the children.

My name is Micki Kold Nagel and founded Let Leg in February 2015 – 6 months before I began studying Business Administration and Psychology at CBS.

Let Leg helps schools initiate fun games and physical activities in order to create a more stimulating education for the children.

Founding or working in a startup is unknown territory for many students so in this blog I will try to explain why I think it is a good idea – and why it’s not as hard as you may think.

Low financial risk
Many people I have met believe founding a company is expensive and full of risks – for me, it wasn’t. I got my first customer before I had spent 5.000 DKK. I tested my idea at the school where I was employed as a substitute teacher. They gave me valuable feedback for months, which changed my idea so many times I can’t remember. So my advice – if you have an idea – is to go out and test it on your ‘ideal customer’ in the cheapest possible way. You’ll get valuable feedback on your idea for very little money, which will help you decide if you should proceed.

More relevant than you (may) think
This one is more relevant if you’re thinking about taking a job in a startup. I have encountered the pressure for a ‘relevant job’ numerous times during my studies. If you were studying my degree the best thing to do was to get a job in an HR-department – and if you could get one in a famous company that would be even better. However, working in a startup will give you so much more in my opinion (to be fair, I never tried the alternative myself). In a startup, I believe you get a much broader business understanding because you are faced with problems regarding all aspects of a business. Even though you are not a founder you are sure to be working very closely with them on a daily basis and will most likely get involved in big decisions that large organisations would deal with in their boardrooms 10.000 miles away from your student-helper-desk.

Great fun
I won’t lie, working in a startup requires a big time-investment and you will probably earn less than if you had a student job in a larger organisation – but it’s worth it. It is a lot of fun and you will meet a lot of passionate people that also like to think outside the box.

 

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Milestone Systems: Why Copenhagen is a Great Place to Work

WHY COPENHAGEN IS A GREAT PLACE TO WORK

Probably the best startup community in the world!

By President & CEO Lars Thinggaard, Milestone Systems

 He loved science. He had a global mindset. And some claim he was the first hipster in the world. Sound familiar? With a well-meaning risk of labelling, this could be a description of a typical startup guy or girl of today. But the person I’m referring to was born in 1811 and 36 years later, he established a micro-brewery in Copenhagen. And he was way ahead of his time. Of course, I’m talking about J.C. Jacobsen, the founder of Carlsberg Breweries. What J.C. Jacobsen did, including his struggles and endeavours, are not far from what modern startups face today. Copenhagen can pride itself on being the cradle of numerous entrepreneurs throughout time, J.C. Jacobsen being only one of many. And to this day, Copenhagen, perhaps more than ever, is the ideal place to start up a company.

First of all, Copenhagen hosts a unique startup community with a strong focus on entrepreneurship and innovation. Copenhagen School of Entrepreneurship (CSE) is a great example with about 200 startups that benefit from CSE’s ambition to develop an entrepreneurial culture and help startups turn ideas into successful businesses. Siteimprove and Trustpilot are great examples of Danish startups that turned into global successes while keeping their headquarters in Copenhagen. Even Milestone Systems was a startup only 20 years ago, and today we employ more than 700 people across the globe and are a global leader in our field. And we still run our business out of Denmark – and with high ambitions to accelerate our innovation with currently 175 job openings.

So why is it that the success rate for Danish startups seems strong? I believe it has to do with our unique Scandinavian management style including a focus on work/life balance. I practice it myself and it works. Scandinavian management style is about inclusiveness and a focus on goals and values rather than the chain of command. At Milestone Systems, this approach has helped create a work environment where young, talented people from more than 40 countries thrive and where innovation and entrepreneurship are paramount. Another important reason why I think Copenhagen, and generally Denmark, is the right place to start up a business, is our unique work/life balance. Our level of ambition is high, but we understand that there is more to business and life than being optimized for business.

In 1876, J.C. Jacobsen established the Carlsberg Foundation, to ensure that the brewery continued its operation based on high-quality products and innovation. Also, to this day, the foundation supports research within natural science, social science and arts. Truly forward-looking and ahead of time. Just like any startup today. And just like J.C. Jacobsen supported his contemporaries, it is imperative that we support the modern startup community.

President & CEO Milestone Systems, Lars Thinggaard

I look forward to talking more about entrepreneurship and how to support our startups at the CBS Entrepreneurial Day in September.

 

Milestone Systems: How to stay entrepreneurial

HOW TO STAY ENTREPRENEURIAL

Meet Subhi, Business Developer, Market Intelligence, at Milestone Systems, in CBS Entrepreneurial Day

 

Why Milestone is a great place to start your career.

By President & CEO Milestone Systems, Lars Thinggaard

25 years ago, friends of mine and myself had a grand idea about changing the world, well, at least the world within market analysis and data. So, we decided to disrupt this market by establishing our very own company. It went well and in the following years, I started a few more companies, all of which were successful but one. I dare say that the company, I’ve now been involved in for 20 years, is the most successful of them all. We’re the global number 1 in our industry, and today we employ more than 700 people around the world, and we’re looking for more! You may ask yourself, what a well-established company like Milestone Systems has to do with innovation and entrepreneurship? How is it even possible to be innovative and entrepreneurial, when you have 700 people on the payroll and is owned by one of the world’s largest tech companies? I dare say that it is. Let me explain why and how.

What characterizes a startup with its innate entrepreneurial spirit and foundation is a devil-may-care attitude and the courage to try unknown things and deal with the consequences later. But when startups grow up and grow older, they – a bit like human beings – tend to get stuck within comfortable, fixed boundaries, rigid rules and slow procedures. This happens to most people – and startups. Unless, of course, you are aware of this risk from the very beginning. Obviously, once you grow bigger, you will be bound by more rules and regulations, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that you can no longer be truly innovative or entrepreneurial. And it doesn’t have much to do with the product or service you’re trying to sell, it’s all about your approach and self-image. To preserve a true entrepreneurial spirit in an established company, well past its teenage years, it’s imperative that the company dares take risks and make mistakes. I practice it in my company; I encourage my colleagues to venture into new, unknown projects, step out of their comfort zone and make mistakes in the process. I would never blame them for that. What I would blame them for is not at least trying. If you don’t try, you won’t know. And that’s the essence of entrepreneurship in my view.
Most visitors to Milestone Systems mention a certain atmosphere in the house, a kind of college atmosphere. It’s not so much because we have a majority of young people (although there are quite a few), it has more to do with our culture, and the entrepreneurial spirit that has been our DNA for the past 20 years and not least our appreciation of challenging status quo. Here is how one of my good colleagues Subhi Irshed, Business Developer, Market Intelligence, in our Technology Business Development department, puts it: “What I think characterizes Milestone Systems is that people are not paid to agree, we are paid to disagree. Now, it’s not that easy for a fresh graduate to tell one of the director executives or C- suite executives; I see your point, but I have a better idea! It takes courage, risk and hard work, and to me, this is the entrepreneurial spirit that I admire about the Milestone Systems culture. You are empowered to speak up your mind, expected to disagree and enticed to thrive.”

In our headquarters in Copenhagen, we pride ourselves on 34 different nationalities. Not because a variety in geographical origin is a value in itself but our cultural diversity helps us to constantly challenge status quo and see things from different perspectives. And this is another reason why entrepreneurship is still thriving in our company. On top of that, the management style that is practised widely in Scandinavia, which focuses on goals and values rather than the chain of command help create an environment where entrepreneurial spirits thrive. At least that is how we try to run our business. And it works.

So yes, is it possible to stay entrepreneurial even though you’re no longer a fierce, dare-devil but a well-established company, as long as you have the right culture and the right people.

Lars Thinggaard, President and CEO of Milestone Systems, will attend our Entrepreneurial Day 2018, come and meet him!

hairpal: the comfort zone hack!

THE COMFORT ZONE HACK!

 

If your idea fails, it is not just okay – it’s amazing! Perhaps not in the moment, but it will grow you as a person, and when one door closes, another one opens 

And not just that, you gotta do stuff that most other people wouldn’t do because they might think it’s embarrassing, or that they’re overqualified, or some other reason to stay in the good old comfort zone.

Doing that sets you apart. Makes you different from the lot. After all, a thousand people probably had the same brilliant idea as you, so that part is not special. Execution, as they say, is what matters. But what does it really mean? Following a number of textbook steps? It might, but probably not, because then at least one of the thousand people with the same idea would have unicorned the shit out of your idea already.

We think that execution is putting yourself out there. Out of the comfort zone. We have often found that the stuff that really pushes the business forward, isn’t always pleasant to do. That’s a good thing! If something isn’t pleasant to do, then fewer people are probably doing it. This means that the impact is much greater and it’s your opportunity to execute better and faster than the other thousand eager entrepreneurs with your idea.

When we were looking for companies to try out our pre-beta version, we had to think a little different and for a cheap and not crowded space to reach end users. We came up with the idea to go to the parking lots in industry parks and put a flyer designed by ourselves in all the windshield of all the cars.

We learned a few things that day… like it sucks to get kicked off a parking lot… like putting 1000 flyers under the whiskers of 1000 cars in January is pretty cold… like it sucks to get a call from a partner at a large accounting firm, thinking that we just got our first large customer, when it was actually a five-minute-long description of how we should stay the f… away from their parking lot…

BUT also, that no one else was doing it and it gave us a lot of traffic and important leads that got us the customers we needed to test our idea… We made a decision that day to use the comfort zone hack as much as possible. To go where it is less crowded. To pick up the phone and start dialling. To knock on doors. To tell everyone that hairpal is the next big thing.

We also learned that getting kicked off a parking lot with our questionable self-designed flyers beats a regular nine to five because we are entrepreneurs and we love our company – hairpal!

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2030 Builders: 3 ways to get a startup idea

3 ways to get a startup idea

Entrepreneurship should not all be about the exit but about a life style, doing what you love, and you are passionate about, building something from scratch, learning from the process and deliver something that will serve others.

These stories are meant to empower us, to keep us going when on the low curve of the startup life and most of all to inspire us to get started in the first place.
But starting up… getting the right idea… is not a piece of cake. Especially if you want to build that Unicorn. But if you believe that entrepreneurship should not all be about the exit but about a lifestyle, doing what you love, and you are passionate about, building something from scratch, learning from the process and deliver something that will serve others, then getting that first idea might not be that hard. Here are 3 ways to get an idea for your startup.
1. Look at the things you are passionate about, at your hobbies, what is it that you love doing and you would do it even when hit by challenges and low moods. What is it that makes you happy and you can take that thing at a professional level? Can you transform your hobby into a business? Give it a go!
2. Look at what positive changes you would be both able and happy to make in your daily life, in your house, neighborhood, community, city, planet. Can you find a way to make things run smoother, better, smarter? Give it a go!
3. Look at what makes you unhappy and you would like to change, what frustrates you and you would like to change. Can you find a way to eliminate the drawbacks and improve the things for good and for everybody? Give it a go!
When we came up with the idea of 2030 Builders, we looked at a board game on Human Rights and we understood we can do it better! We felt that our product can also change for the better the way training is delivered to companies.

We believe that people learn better while playing. We looked at where the need was in the market and we immediately identified that there was no useful tool, not to say easy and fun like a game, that could help companies work with SDGs. We did a short and positive creative brainstorming where we build on each others’ ideas with the “Yes, and…” principle and we really liked what we came up to at the end! We took the ideas through a Startup Weekend iteration session and over a weekend we built the red thread of where we wanted to go and what we wanted to achieve: Create an easy and fun tool for SDG Strategy Implementation. An SDG Game! We gave it a go!

Follow 2030 Builders on Social Media!

Blue Lobsters: bridging an imagination gap in the direct-to-consumer fish market

BRIDGING AN IMAGINATION GAP IN THE DIRECT-TO-CONSUMER FISH MARKET

Blue Lobster is an app that allows consumers to buy directly from their local fishermen.

We started Blue Lobster because we wanted to help fish lovers easily find fresh, local seafood and support their local fishermen.  We also wanted to create a tool to help fishermen sell directly to their consumers.

We spent our summer on Bornholm, talking to fishermen and learning about their direct-to-consumer sales practices. We saw that one fisherman named Bo was selling out in 15 minutes from the time he arrived at the docks in Hasle, further confirming that customers are willing to come to meet fishermen to purchase their fish! Bo has a large Facebook following and uses the platform to let his customers know when he will be arriving at the docks, and even during off-peak times, he still sells out consistently. When we asked the other fishermen, who weren’t selling fish directly to consumers, why they weren’t doing what Bo was doing so successfully, they replied that:

  • They don’t have the time or know-how to build a social media following, and
  • They aren’t able to be at the harbour at the same time every day

We plan to solve both of these issues. The app will function as an online community of both fishermen and people who want to buy local, wild-caught fish, so each fisherman won’t need to build a following from scratch – they will just need to upload their fish, and they will appear on the map and in the search feature. They will also tell us through the app what time they will be on the dock, so they won’t need to sell fish at the same time each day for consumers to know where to find them. Additionally, if they aren’t there some days, there will be other fishermen selling through the app, so consumers won’t be out-of-luck if they want to purchase fish that day.

When we speak to people in the industry, they’re really excited because we are potentially eliminating the most expensive part of the fishing industry, transportation. Restaurants love that the fact that we are electronically tracking the source of fish. And fishermen are excited about the features of the app, but they have a hard time imagining that it is possible to build. They keep saying: “I would like to use it, but I don’t know if you will be able to make that.” We are facing an imagination gap, so getting the technology into people’s hands is our number one priority.

After spending time with fishermen and understanding their needs, we decided to prioritize creating a beta version of the Blue Lobster App.

We hope that Blue Lobster will bring you closer to your food and closer to your local food providers.  Sign up here to get notified when the app is up and running!

 

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FLEXLOGICAL: FEELING DIFFERENT? THEN BECOME AN ENTREPRENEUR!

FEELING DIFFERENT? THEN BECOME AN ENTREPRENEUR!

 

Many people want to find their purpose in life and become successful – but it rarely becomes a reality. I have often asked myself why. Why don’t people just go for it? After I become an adult I figured out why.

I grew up in the south of Fyn, Denmark. I was the weird stupid kid in the corner of the classroom. I didn’t have many friends and I felt completely misplaced in my school. I told my father that I felt different, and he answered “All successful people are different – if they were like everyone else, they would not stand out from the crowd. If we all think the same way, the world will not change”. That was the moment which made me care less about what other people thought of me.
When I started at university, people hated working in groups with me, because I did things way different than our teacher told us to do. I thought it was a good idea to stand out and show them that things could be solved in a different way – until I went to the exams. I began doubting what my father told me until I got my first job as a student assisting a company that makes electronic locks for homes. My job was to help develop their new product, and I remember the CEO of the company telling me that the product had to be different from the competitors’, otherwise we would not get noticed on the market. That was the first time I experienced what a gift it can be to be different.

A couple of years later I was hired by another company as a development engineer. The companies had been running for some years but had not made any profit. I suggested we changed our approach, so we could get the product to market faster, and the only response I got was that I wasn’t in a position to say such a thing. That was the moment I knew I had to run my own business and become an entrepreneur.
I quit the job to start my own company with a friend, but we quickly realized we did not have the money to make it a reality, so I just returned to the labour market again. I applied for a job at a medical device company and got to the interview. A senior businessman called me into a meeting room, and he began telling about his story as a young entrepreneur, and I was blown away. I didn’t care what I had to do; I just had to work together with this man. So I worked my ass off for one and a half year, and he suddenly asked me if I wanted to be the CEO of the company, and I, of course, said yes. Now, two years later, we have founded a new medical device company called FlexLogical, which is going to be the greatest medical device company in the world. I believe all this has happened because I accepted to be different and stand out from the crowd, and I can only encourage young entrepreneurs to do the same.

 

Come and meet FlexLogical team at the CBS Entrepreneurial Day!

 

SOLEKKO SOLUTIONS: THE YEAR OF A STARTING ENTREPRENEUR

THE YEAR OF A STARTING ENTREPRENEUR

We’ve sunk countless hours into developing our product and company. Despite the product coming along nicely we are still primarily students.

In September 2017 we wanted to try our hand at developing a software solution for the construction sheet metal industry. It has now been a year since we started working on our business idea. In that time, we won a business idea competition, met so many people who helped us develop our idea into a product, and started a company. More importantly, we’ve sunk countless hours into developing our product and company. Despite the product coming along nicely, we are still primarily students.

Balancing studying and entrepreneurship hasn’t always been easy but fortunately for us, the Oulu University of Applied Sciences has allowed a lot of flexibility in our studies. We’ve been able to integrate entrepreneurial studies into our studies and gain extra credits that way. It has still been an extra workload for us and free time has been short. It isn’t always easy, but the long days (and sometimes nights) have paid off. At the end of a long day, the relaxing feel all the better. And what an experience it’s been!

Late last year we got to work with the Smart Construction Cluster and we gained a lot of insight into how technology has been applied in the construction industry and how it will be used in the future. We got to validate our product with industry professionals, got a lot of feedback and improvement ideas, and got a lot of motivation to improve and work on our idea.
Now we’re slowly coming to the point where we have something to show for the past year of work. The CBS Entrepreneurial day is the first opportunity for us to show what we’ve been working on for people outside those involved in the development and early feedback.
Come to check us out!

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INSIGHT ACADEMIA: BE RELEVANT, VISUALIZE IT.

INSIGHT ACADEMIA: BE RELEVANT, VISUALIZE IT.

 

Nowadays, we are not facing the problem of the lack of scientific innovation but, instead, we are dealing with the challenge of being aware and fully updated on what is going on in the scientific panorama.

The challenge

People of academia are facing the new challenge of the internationalization of the scientific knowledge, which has shifted scientific knowledge from being locally based to globally based. The total number of scientific publications is increasing yearly, and scientific knowledge is spreading through various sources – scientific journals, public and private databases, universities, individuals, and social networks. These changes are making difficult for anyone to be fully updated on the newest scientific trends, as well as identify the scientists leading the innovation, even though all the information needed is already present in the web. Nowadays, we are not facing the problem of the lack of scientific innovation but, instead, we are dealing with the challenge of being aware and fully updated on what is going on in the scientific panorama.

The solution
By using Insight Academia’s search engine, the user has the possibility to search for any scientific topic (e.g., biology, informatics, healthcare, …) or word (e.g., a specific gene mutation, any machine learning algorithm, diabetes, …) and visualize the results of the research as a network of entities (including people, articles, universities), instead of a conventional list of results. Insight Academia can visualize multiple kinds of networks: networks of scientists, networks of scientists clustered by cities, networks of universities, and networks of scientific papers.


The team
Insight Academia is led by Parid Doksani, M.Sc. student in Business Administration in Innovation and Healthcare at Copenhagen Business School and Agzam Idrissov, Ph.D. student at the Engineering Systems Division, Management Engineering Department, Technical University of Denmark, but soon also Andreas Harmuth a B.Sc. student in IT from DTU, Lars R. Olsen an associate professor at DTU bioinformatics and Will Wright, investment manager at Accelerace, will join the team.

The vision
Insight Academia wants to be a unique search engine able to visualize what is hidden in the scientific panorama. However, in the academic world, there are a lot of other not met needs. To meet these needs, Insight Academia aims at being something more than that. By transforming Insight Academia in a scientific social network and keeping at the same time the search engine functionality, we believe we can do something that others are unable to do.

Meet the Insight Academia team next 27th of September, during our Entrepreneurial Day 2018!