Good news, internationals: Science will save us

by Nathalia Hentze Nielsen
CEO and Founders, Shellie Ann Boudreau Christensen and Signe Simonsen at Investor Summit Aalborg 2023
CEO and Founders, Shellie Ann Boudreau Christensen and Signe Simonsen at Investor Summit Aalborg 2023

As internationals come to Denmark to study and build their careers, many root themselves in North Jutland for the long term. 

Rightfully so, Aalborg is an amazing city that many of us call home. Among the signs of beautiful weather this week, Aalborg showed additional signs of a thriving startup scene.

But what does that mean for internationals?

Only a few days ago, a lineup of Angels, investment firms, lawyers and business developers met at the newly launched AAU Innovate building for the Investor Summit 2023.

Among them was Tommy Ahlers, one of Denmark’s most successful entrepreneurs, from Look Up Ventures. 

The title of Tommy Ahlers’ talk: Science Will Save Us

Know your worth ex-pats 

Expats are equipped with expertise in marketing, engineering, and scientific education. The future of humanity and the world may rest upon those who will take risks, like moving to another country and applying their hard-earned expertise to something meaningful.

To kick off the Investor Summit 2023, we heard encouraging words from Thomas Kastrup-Larsen, Aalborgs’ mayor, Per Michael, Johansen, Rector AAU, and Jacob Stormer, Chief business officer at Danmarks Export and Investment fund (EIFO).

Following these opening remarks, Tommy Ahlers shared his insights on behalf of Look Up Ventures and Power-to-X. The talk and slides were rich and green. And investing in science and scientist is the next big thing.

Opening speeches at Aalborgs’ investor summit held at AAU Innovate

A lucrative argument was presented for investors considering deep tech and green solutions. However, these arguments went further than that.

We must take better care of ourselves; to do that, we must preserve our natural resources and get further on less.

“We are reaching a tipping point,” Tommy Ahlers said during his presentation.  And for that, Tommy Ahlers recommends that more scientists are needed in startups – sooner rather than later. 

Who better to help balance the scale and tackle challenges than local entrepreneurs in Aalborg and outgoing ex-pats? We all have insight and perspectives to offer.

Local and international start-ups attended

The speaker lineup perfectly balanced academia and business, exactly where the local Aalborg startup, ContentAvenue likes to operate.

“The event signals to local investors and firms that Aalborg is home to humble scientists and industry experts who can offer game-changing technologies and services,’ the Canadian CEO, Shellie Boudreau Christensen, from ContentAvenue says.

Their team translates the latest academic research and discoveries into marketing material for science and technology-backed companies.

Other local Aalborg startups attended the event too. 

Lars Moltsen, CEO of Sternula, shared his journey with local investors about their custom-built satellites that help track shipping containers on a dedicated frequency band.  

Not many startups can claim their own wavelength, but Sternula can, giving them a competitive advantage. 

Lars Moltsen, CEO of Sternula sharing his mission at the Investor Summit 2023, Aalborg

Their mission is to connect the oceans. Why? No one likes to get lost at sea, and nobody wants their cargo lost either.

Sternula is one of the first movers in this space and focuses on commercial maritime activities. Yet one only needs a little imagination to foresee that these operations can evolve to help ‘green initiatives’ in the future. 

Their team includes locals (Aalborg-native) and internationals who call Aalborg their home.  

More female-founders wanted

Later in the day, Mette Tønnesen, Startup Aarhus, Director, Kirstine Leerbeck, Angella Invest, Co-Founder & CEO, and Michael Hansen, Danish Business Angels, CEO took the stage.

There was an emphasis on backing female-led and mixed founding teams. 

“I heard about the Aalborg Investor Summit through the amazing Start-Up Club Aalborg,” founder Karen Richter Hansen from SnakVærk explained and added:

“We received excellent advice from Tommy Siim, Thomas Nielsen (Beierholm) and Anne-Mette Bak Nielsen (LB Patent). As a female founder, joining the Aalborg Investor Summit places our team in the middle of a growing ecosystem.”

Karen Richter Hansen from start-up Snak Værk at AAU Innovate, Aalborg

ContentAvenues’ CEO, Shellie Boudreau Christensen, represented their team and spoke with a few other founders. One CEO in particular, Signe Simosen, is combining AI, robots, and drone technology.

Sounds scary? It’s not. 

Signe Simonsen launched the Race for Oceans Foundation to help clean up our coasts. The foundation is based in Løkken, and you can learn more about it here.

In short, the foundation and team behind the scenes are collecting microplastics in small pellets and developing technology that can identify, find and collect these pieces from our coasts and remove them before they degrade further and reach our dinner plates.

An overall impression of the sold-out event was that Jacob Stormer from EIFO, one of the main drivers behind the Investor Summit, exceeded expectations and gathered a diverse team of legal, business developers, investors and startups all in one place – AAU Innovate.

“I hope to see more internationals next time,” Shellie Boudreau Christensen, CEO and Co-founder of ContentAvenue, concludes.

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