The rise of robotics in Odense: a new era of innovation
In the heart of Denmark lies a city transforming the global narrative on robotics. Odense, while relatively small in size, is rapidly emerging as a significant player in the robotics industry.
The city is driven not only by highly-skilled talent but also by a substantial surge of capital investments from which numerous robotics startups and established companies are reaping the benefits. This influx of funds isn’t accidental. The city’s robust ecosystem is one of the reasons why so many companies find it easy to grow and collaborate.
ODENSE: WHERE TECH MEETS CAPITAL
The robotics revolution is already here. What was only recently considered fiction is now quickly turning into fact. The use of robots can be seen in everyday situations as trivial as shopping. And Odense is both the partaker and the facilitator of this new revolution in Europe.
Therefore, it is no surprise that Aris Robotics, a startup focused on designing automated systems for pre-sorting consumer waste, thrives in Denmark – a country intensely focused on sustainability.
“Our latest investment underscores the value of our idea as a crucial missing puzzle piece within the market and the current landscape of waste sorting. Overall, here in Odense, we have experienced great opportunities when it comes to upscaling our company, where both companies, investors, and people from the city are adaptable and ready to take in new technologies.”
But companies that develop robotic solutions for other industries can also find millions in funding.
Autonomous Units, another company based near Odense, focuses on robotics that can help automate logistics solutions. Their robots can cruise around hospitals, supermarkets and other places where they might be needed, supporting people around them. During the pandemic, they distributed hand sanitisers, helping citizens stay safe.
”The recent investment into the company means that more robots may very well soon be seen in stores and hospitals across Europe.”
FROM RETAIL TO AVIATION: ODENSE EMBRACES ROBOTICS OF EVERY KIND
Various robotics companies are managing to attract substantial capital.
Odense is also where QuadSAT develops drone-based antenna testing and tracking solutions for worldwide satellite, defence, wireless and broadcast markets. Their recent funding of DKK 66 million from a British investment fund shows that the company is onto something.
Coalescent Mobile Robotics, also based in Odense, has just closed its seed funding round. This Danish company designs and markets AMRs (autonomous mobile robots) to assist retailers. They can help streamline in-store transportation, order fulfilment, restocking, rubbish collection, and much more. Such solutions can already be seen in the Danish supermarket chain Bilka, where clients and employees can interact with the robots.
“We are happy to welcome aboard SuperAngel, along with all our current investors continuing on this journey with us. This investment will allow us to scale in the UK and France along with other European markets.”
NURTURING THE NEXT WAVE OF ROBOTIC PIONEERS
One of the places where companies can grow and learn how to raise capital is The Odense Robotics StartUp Hub.
Nordbo Robotics is one of the promising robotics and technology companies that participated in the accelerator program at the hub. The company creates software platforms for robots that work on surface processing and surface quality inspection. They now cooperate with multiple companies, including the aviation giant Boeing.
The Odense Robotics StartUp Hub provides promising startups with more than just guidance. It gives them access to the Danish Technological Institute’s state-of-the-art laboratory and testing facilities.
The program is going strong, and the Odense Municipality believes in the growth of this burgeoning industry. The Mayor, Peter Rahbæk Juhl emphasises that Odense is in it for the long run and sees Odense as a place where tech giants co-exist with startups and where all companies can learn from each other, grow together, and thrive in their coexistence. Finding another place with an infrastructure that supports and nurtures such tech ventures is hard to find.
GETTING IDEAS OUT OF THE CLASSROOM
In tech industries, cooperation between various sectors is the cornerstone of innovation.
Business and academia are deeply intertwined in Odense. Research is not stuck in classrooms or laboratories but, instead, finds its way into real-world applications. Again, Nordbo Robotics, founded by two alumni from the Mærsk McKinney Møller Institute at SDU (the University of Southern Denmark), is an excellent example of the symbiotic relationship between academia and the robotics industry.
Those who have already succeeded in robotics are also happy to share their expertise with startups in Odense by joining the board. Esben Østergaard, the founder of Universal Robots, is even a part of the board that saw Nordbo Robotics’s potential.
THE FUTURE LOOKS BRIGHT
As automation becomes integral to many businesses, Odense is where many innovative ideas are born.
Odense is a city with a vision. Becoming a robotic powerhouse is not easy, but with its blend of innovative spirit and solid infrastructure, this city is poised to lead.
The vision is accompanied by a genuine belief from entrepreneurs and the city itself that robotics is the future. By supporting the best talent out there and helping the best robotics companies continue to thrive and innovate, Odense aims to be one of the key European robotics hubs for many years to come.
Investment Manager - Seed & Venture
An engineer by trade, Odenseaner by heart. My focus lies within identifying investor-ready cases, developing our investor network of business angels, venture capital, and corporate venture capital, and bridging the investment gap. Ultimately, we are creating growth through investments in the robotics, drones, and automation industries.