Copenhagen start-ups come together

Copenhagen startups recently gathered for what organizers called "the largest ever tech meet-up in the history of Denmark".

Copenhagen start-ups come together
Unity Technologies founder David Helgason addresses #CPHFTW. Photo: Martin von Haller Grønbæk
#CPHFTW, a grassroots initiative to unite the startup community in Copenhagen, organized its fourth town hall meeting on November 22nd. Around 1,000 people, most of them connected to the startup community or looking for networking opportunities, got together at the big Den Grå Hall in the freetown of Christiania.
Martin von Haller Grønbæk, one of the key people behind #CPHFTW and a partner at the Bird & Bird law firm, said that the movement is working to "create momentum in the startup ecosystem in Denmark".
"There are more than 80 startups who have contributed more than a 100,000 euro to form the core capital of the #CPHFTW Foundation. We are self-funded and not driven by any agenda or vested interests. Our goal is to bring the entire community together and work out ways to improve the entrepreneurial ecosystem centred around Copenhagen. We do everything with the sole aim of sustaining and nurturing this ecosystem and we put a strong focus on building relationships, trust, knowledge and awareness in the Danish startup community by bringing people together," Grønbæk told The Local.
The event started with an eye-opening talk by Thorvald Stigsen, founder of Momondo, who gave several key tips to fledgling startups from his vast experience. A couple of hot startups also introduced themselves and their products, while local startups also announced community initiatives. The last keynote of the evening was delivered by David Helgason, founder of Unity Technologies. He spoke of his initial struggling days and how he, along with the other partners, worked out of a garage for many years before coming up with one of the most popular 3D game engines and helping to democratise development globally.

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Google to invest $700 million in Danish data centre

US tech giant Google is to invest 4.5 billion kroner (just under $700 million) on a data centre at Taulov near Fredericia.

Google to invest $700 million in Danish data centre
The site of the planned Google data centre at Taulov near Fredericia. Photo: Peter Leth-Larsen/Ritzau Scanpix

The company purchased 73 hectares of land at the site in 2015 and on Monday announced plans to build its first Danish data centre at the location.

“The Fredericia data center will be among the most energy efficient data centers in Denmark to date, taking advantage of advanced machine learning to make sure every watt of electricity counts,” Google's vice president for global data centres, Joe Kava, wrote in a blog post on the company’s website on Tuesday.

Director of Google Denmark Malou Aamund said in a press statement that the decision to place the data centre at Fredericia was evidence of Google’s commitment to Denmark.

“It will create new Danish jobs and make a positive contribution to the economy, both locally and in the rest of the country,” Aamund said via a press statement.

Fredericia’s mayor Jacob Bjerregaard welcomed the announcement and said that the city had been working with Google for four years.

“I am hugely pleased and proud that Google has been able to invest 4.5 billion kroner in Fredericia Municipality – not least when you think about the jobs that will bring,” Bjerregaard said.

1,500 construction workers will be involved in transforming the area into a complex of several-storeyed buildings.

The first section of the data centre is expected to be completed by 2020, with between 150 and 250 engineers, electricians and data specialists ready to begin work at the site in 2021.

The investment has been estimated to create a potential 700 jobs including services and auxiliary roles.

The tech firm has said it is taking into account the environmental impact of the centre.

“In Fredericia, Google is committed to matching its energy use with 100 percent carbon-free energy,” Kava wrote.

“This commitment includes the electricity use of our data centers, too. We’re pursuing new investment opportunities… in Danish renewable energy projects like onshore wind, offshore wind and solar energy,” he added.

Meanwhile, Bjerregaard said that no specific demands on use of surplus energy were made in the agreement between Google and Fredericia Municipality.

“We are very keen for Google to supply surplus energy to the district heating network,” he said.

“So we will do all we can to make that happen, but that also means regulations have to be good enough, and that’s a problem to be solved at Christiansborg [the parliament in Copenhagen, ed.],” he said.

The mayor cited levies on surplus energy and the issue of whether there was enough demand to use it locally as potential issues.

READ ALSO: Danish data centres unlikely to make use of surplus power: report