SPONSORED: Startups bring tomorrow’s technology to life

Corporate companies tend to focus on innovation within their already established business areas whereas startups freely explore new territories by help of brand new and cutting edge technology. There is room for both in DTU’s incubator and co-working space Skylab, fuelling creativity and strengthening the ecosystem.

”There is an air of curiosity,”

Frederik Østergaard Neble is a DTU-student as well as the CEO and co-founder of Obital, a DTU-startup working with eye-tracking to help people with disabilities to operate smart home devices. The startup has developed an app through which the user is able to, let’s say, switch on a light, open a window, or close a door only using simple movements with their eyes.

Obital is one of the many startups founded by students based in Skylab at DTU. As an incubator and co-working space, Skylab houses both individuals with a glimpse of a new idea, full-blown startups, and large corporate companies looking for innovation. What unites them all is a strong sense of curiosity.

”Skylab is just a great place to be part of. The spirit here is great, and everyone shares and collaborates,” says Frederik Østergaard Neble.

The core idea for his startup, Orbital, was developed as part of a bachelor thesis. However, the professor overlooking the project helped making theory into practice, and today the startup is close to provide a viable solution and potentially change many people’s lives to the better.

Uniting the ecosystem

Inniti is another innovative startup born and bred in Skylab at DTU.  Inniti works for making faster, better and cheaper laboratory tests by help of IoT (Internet of Things).

Today, the startup is based at Copenhagen Business School. The hardware development is, however, taking place at Aalborg University, and Inniti is moreover part of a national scale-up accelerator. In other words, Inniti is a successful example of Skylab’s aim of initiating collaboration between different parties of the ecosystem surrounding startups.

”There is a lot of high qualified help out there both in terms of access to equipment, counseling and funding. And it works very well,” says Malthe Muff, CEO and Co-founder of Innity.

To learn and succeed

And this is exactly the purpose of Skylab: to support entrepreneurs and innovators and give them the best possible framework for success. And to keep spirits high for those who may fail but nevertheless have learned an important lesson.

”We have two purposes: to give people knowledge, tools and experiences which they can use broadly in society. And to nurture startups and innovative projects which can change the world and create new value,” says Mikkel Sørensen, CEO of DTU Skylab.

True to the spirit of startups, Skylab started out in a basement at the campus. Today, Skylab spreads its wings over 1.550 m2, and by help of a donation from A.P. Møller Relief Foundation, it is expected to triple in size by 2020.  Thereby, room is being made for many more startups and innovators.

A house for great ideas

Last year, DTU was the birthplace for more than 50 startups founded by students and another nine founded by either DTU-employees or individuals with a patent owned by DTU. In other words, Skylab has become a true breeding ground for tomorrow’s technology.

”We offer everything from support of the first curiosity to elite tech-innovation. The most important thing is, that we have created a space where you dare to think big but also aren’t afraid to fail. The ones that succeed sit next to the ones, that don’t. There is a need for diversity at all levels, and Skylab brings everyone together,” says Mikkel Sørensen.

While well-established corporates tend to innovate close to their core business, startups are necessary to get new technology out and give value to the world, says Marianne Thellersen, CEO of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at DTU.

Today entrepreneurship is very popular among DTU-students and the university now want even more Ph.D.-students to engage as well.

“If we can have more researchers to experience entreprenurship in real life, we will also get much better and more motivating teachers later, who can support even more students to become entreprenuers,” says Marianne Thellersen.

This article is brought in collaboration with DTU for the original purpose of branding the Nordic high-tech fair High Tech Summit October 10-11 2018.