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Building Startups for Impact – by Design

Innofounder is Denmark’s most comprehensive, design-driven startup incubator. Innofounder helps early-stage entrepreneurs to build a solid business around innovative ideas that help solve society’s greatest challenges

This project is a part of our theme
Green transition

The Results: What do our alumni say about the program?  

“Innofounder takes away the stress of being a startup”

– Niels Fibæk, CEO & Co-founder, Matter

“It (developing a startup) is not always glamorous, and sometimes it feels like a rollercoaster ride and a marathon. Innofounder helps you stay sane while developing your business”

– Alina Engel, Co-Founder and COO, Hooves 

The Challenge: How can we help the next generation of founders build sustainable businesses that are ready to grow?

Startups have tremendous potential to push boundaries, generate true impact, and transform the way we live – for the good of both people and the planet. Yet, up to 90% of startups fail.  

Even in Denmark, a country with a solid infrastructure to support new businesses, the startup ecosystem has struggled to produce the same successes, as we have seen in other Nordic countries, especially Sweden & Finland. 

That is why Innovation Fund Denmark has created Innofounder, a launch pad for early-stage startups. The Innofounder program provides financial support and access to the Innofounder incubator. The incubator is operated by consulting firm Second Foundation and Danish Design Center, and provides mentoring, networks and design competencies.  

The Approach: Using strategic design to build good businesses from the start

Just like microbiological incubators in labs, startup incubators provide a safe environment that allows young businesses to flourish. Innofounder gives founders peace of mind by offering between 430.000 (1 founder) – 1.090.000 (3 founders) to finance salaries, while providing professional mentoring in business and design, including a range of workshops and masterclasses with highly skilled and experienced domain experts.

What sets Innofounder apart from other incubators is the program’s foundation in strategic design principles. The program focuses on creative problem-solving, always centering around the people who will be using the final product or service.

“Entrepreneurship is a creative act - charging into the unknown with imperfect information, trusting you’ll figure it out as you go. Designers face this kind of unknown every day. The approaches and tools we use are helping Innofounder entrepreneurs to be more agile at getting insight from customers, building, co-creating, testing, and learning - and getting better ideas to market faster”

Gitte Jonsdatter

Previous design mentor

Learning and analyzing come before development and implementation. We want to give the founders the tools to make informed choices about every step taken. That’s why we teach startups how to do user research right off the bat. How to identify and test their assumptions. How to prioritize stakeholders and activities. How to map user journeys to understand every touchpoint a user has with the product. How to build rapid prototypes to test on users, and how to quickly iterate on these and test again.

Want a deeper dive into some of the Innofounder startups?

We got you.

Meet Roico Solutions. They’ve created a collaborative painting robot that boosts productivity and reduces strain for professional painters. The founders, Tijmen Spiertz, Oskar Pazylbekov, and Antonis Karageorgiou, participated in Innofounder in 2023.

Get to know them and learn more about their Innofounder journey here:

While you’re at it, you can also get to know the startup Decameal. They have developed a sustainable protein supplement for the animal feed sector that is made from harmful and invasive common shore crabs. Happylan Natkunarajah and Leander Hessner, the two company founders, were also part of Innofounder in 2023.

Find out more about their key Innofounder experiences in this video:

About the project

Innofounder is owned and financed by Innovation Fund Denmark and operated by DDC and Second Foundation.

Learn more about the program and while you’re at it, why not give us a like as well on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.

This project works on realizing the following actions

  • Borderless solutions
  • Courage 
  • Risk capital

Theresa Ebling Lauritsen

Urban Transition Designer

Phone +45 3172 2472
Social LinkedIn

Are you interested in learning more about Innofounder?

Related articles, tools, cases, and projects:

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Bryghuspladsen 8
BLOX, 2. floor
1473 Copenhagen
CVR 3699 4126


Dyrehavevej 116
Design School Kolding
6000 Kolding
CVR 3699 4126

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