2 years + 9.1 million = HatchIT Lab is a Success

Cetpu CEO John Smedegaard meets with a happy customer. Photo: Ceptu

Since the beginning of 2016, the seven different companies in HatchIT Lab have received more than DKK 9.1 million in support from various funds and programs. HatchIT Lab is Lab is an experimental innovation lab and incubator environment, which is anchored in the Department of Computer Science at Aarhus University.

Innovation Fund, Market Demand Fund, Environmental Technology Development, and Demonstration Program. The list of funds and programs, from which the start-ups at HatchIT Lab have received funding to the development of their ideas and companies, is long.

One of the companies that has been very successful in getting funding is the technology company Ceptu. The company has grown from three to 12 employees in just two years. Ceptu has developed FieldSense; an app that provides farmers health updates on their crops through high-resolution satellites photos.

"For us, it's a big advantage to be part of the HatchIT Lab because we are close to other entrepreneurs who, like us, base our business on knowledge and technology. We're different companies, but no more than we have a lot to gain by helping each other with applications, funds, frameworks, and rules for fundraising, says John Smedegaard, CEO of Ceptu.

Close to professional environments
Another advantage is HatchIT Lab's close relationship with the professional environments in the IT City Katrinebjerg, where the Department of Computer Science is located, says John Smedegaard:

"What makes HatchIT Lab unique compared to other entrepreneurship environments in Aarhus is that we have the opportunity to seek sparring and counseling in the University's existing network of researchers, teachers, and students who sit just across the hall from us."

Another HatchIT Lab company that has received large grants is MONTEM, which specializes in intelligent infrastructure and internet-connected, high-tech products. Founder and co-owner Christian Østergaard Laursen experiences great branding value and legitimacy by having an address in HatchIT Lab:

"The fact that we have a base at Aarhus University has given us a lot of credit and good-will when we have presented our business for funds, companies and collaborators. “Being part of HatchIT Lab means that we have been able to launch MONTEM in a safe space where there has been room for developing our company from scratch. We have had access to networks, competencies, knowledge, and equipment, which has provided us with a very solid foundation to continue MONTEM on when we, one day, have to leave HatchIT Lab,” Christian Østergaard Laursen continues.

The university also see it as an advantage that the young entrepreneurs work with their ideas and start-ups close to the research and education environments. "By strengthening the opportunities for students to test their entrepreneurial ambitions, we as a university can contribute to the development and testing of innovative ideas, products and services while the students can still follow their current education. At the same time, an entrepreneurial environment like HatchIT Lab gives a whole lot of back to the university by creating relevant study jobs, partnerships with research and industry and a generally positive impression on the study and learning environment at the department”, says Søren Poulsen, Special Consultant at the Department of Computer Science.

Christian Østergaard and Anders Høedholt from MONTEM work on new products. Photo: Department of Computer Science