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There’s no doubt about it — when it comes to tech, New York is a global leader and the city’s tech ecosystem — which once played second fiddle to Silicon Valley — is now one of the most complex in the world. Today, the Big Apple is home to thousands of fledgling companies and the New York region regularly attracts interest from venture capitalists making the rounds. The city itself has more than 9,000 startups and New York City is ranked second globally for start-up output. In other words, if you’re a tech start-up looking to strike it big, New York is the place to be.

But how can Denmark’s scalable tech start-ups break into New York’s intricate tech environment while building networks, hiring employees and adapting to the local business culture?

Enter CANUTE: Denmark’s gateway to the New York tech start-up ecosystem. A three-day boot camp designed to bridge the gap between Danish start-ups’ needs and the New York tech reality, CANUTE is now making its New York debut on October 8 th , 2019 after four successful iterations in London.

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We spoke with Denmark In New York’s Commercial Advisor in Tech, Victoria Bager, about CANUTE’s New York launch and what this year’s program has in store for participating Danish entrepreneurs.

Denmark In New York: What is CANUTE and how does it help Danish companies?

Victoria Bager: CANUTE is a networking programme for Danish tech scale-ups with their sights on global growth. Our vision is to provide scalable tech start-ups with the network and knowledge needed to launch in a foreign market that would otherwise take them months to accrue. In just three days of CANUTE programming, they will engage with investors, marketing agents, recruitment specialists and get a full overview of the co-working spaces, accelerators and legal needs for their businesses to succeed abroad.And, most importantly, they get to know other Danish scale-ups that have already launched in the market.

Overall, CANUTE’s programs take place in London, Berlin and New York.

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What can a company expect to get out of CANUTE?

Victoria Bager: The scale-ups will engage with New York’s start-up ecosystem and get an up close and personal look at the do’s and dont’s of launching a business in the US. The program will also provide the start-ups with access to an extensive local network in New York and valuable market knowledge for US expansion. Companies will be able to connect with trusted advisors within legal, finance and accounting and receive tips on how to recruit employees in the US and how to boost marketing opportunities in New York. In addition, companies will engage with New York-based Danish tech founders boasting years of experience from scaling their tech businesses internationally and receive honest feedback on their business models from international accelerators and investors.

The CANUTE programme will ultimately give participants the necessary access to New York’s must-know network and push them to reflect upon their readiness to take their businesses to the next level.

What has been your biggest achievement with CANUTE so far?

Victoria Bager: I believe CANUTE’s success is reflected in the fact that the program has launched in new cities this year, specifically Berlin and New York. Mia Grosen, who founded the program in London, built it based on her own experiences as an entrepreneur. As a result, CANUTE is truly designed by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs. With this 3-day program, Mia has done an amazing job delivering the answers and solutions to some of the frustrations experienced by Danish entrepreneurs looking to expand their businesses into a foreign market.

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Four programs have already been completed in London accommodating 29 Danish start-ups, each of which successfully raised capital from those investors to whom they were introduced. Overall, CANUTE has
received great feedback!

Why is the Trade Council — New York best positioned to help Danish start-ups land in the US?

Victoria Bager: The Trade Council is the commercial arm of the Consulate General of Denmark in New York and represents Danish business interests and Denmark’s values. Our job is to help Danish SMVs enter, or expand in, the North American market using our local presence, understanding of the market and culture, and expansive networks to make those key introductions that would otherwise be hard to find. We want to facilitate a smooth market-entry for these businesses so they can succeed in a leaner way.

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One should not forget that the American business culture is very different from what we have in Denmark and Europe, in general. In-depth market research can be time-consuming. The costs of establishing an American entity including real estate, financial and legal matters, are two- to three- times higher than in Europe. The tax system is completely different, not very digitalized and highly complex. It all makes doing business in the US more costly and labour intensive for foreign scale-ups!

The Trade Council will not be able to take away those difficulties. However, it can help navigate through these demands and provide a soft-landing for Danish start-ups in the US.

What are some of the US based companies participating in the CANUTE program and how are they helping?

Victoria Bager: The New York program is, for the most part, in place and features some amazing industry experts, founders and investors. In addition to our program sponsors Danske Bank and Deloitte, we have already secured a commitment from the founders of Peakon, Viabill, Templafy, Archii, Drive Studios, and Prehype, as well as experts from Barkbox, Fishtank PR and PCG. We also expect the participation of more than 50 investors and accelerators, including the well-established Ellis Accelerator.

For more information on CANUTE or to sign up for the program, contact Victoria Bager at vicbag@um.dk.

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