Investor Predictions 2021 no. 6: Sara Rywe predicts new Danish Unicorns on the horizon

Number 6 in our series, where we ask some of our ecosystem’s key figures on the investment side to dust off the crystal ball and take a quick peek at the year in front of us. This week we offer investor predictions for 2021 from Sara Rywe former McKinsey consultant, entrepreneur at heart and current VC investor at ByFounders.

What do you see as the biggest opportunity of 2021? 

The beginning of 2021 has been extraordinary for the Danish tech ecosystem with several impressive exits (Peakon, Humio, etc) and funding rounds (, Vivino, Labster, etc).

Hopefully, the aftermath of this will include a range of new startups being formed and more smart angel money being invested in Danish early-stage companies. When combining the influx of talent and money with an increasing awareness about impact and ESG, I’m confident that we will see some truly transformative purpose-driven startups setting a strong global example and leading the way into tomorrow.

What do you see as the biggest risk of 2021? 

With more US-based VC funds entering the Nordics, we see round sizes and valuations go up drastically. This of course has some good implications for founders (more money for less dilution) but it also comes with a range of risks such as higher level of pressure for extreme growth, increased difficulties to raise the next round, and maybe even a risk of being forced into down-rounds, which can lead to a startup’s demise. Furthermore, the negative signalling effect of large funds not taking a lead in your following round can also be detrimental. I would, therefore, encourage founders to look at fundraising holistically and choose investors based not solely on valuations and brand recognition, but also other factors: the terms given, the level of support provided, and references taken from the funds’ portfolio companies.

What’s your wildest prediction for 2021?

As the Danish startup tech ecosystem started the year with a bang I hope to see that it’ll continue to do so throughout 2021. Maybe not the wildest prediction, but we might see a couple of new Danish unicorns being formed (Pleo and Trustpilot being high on the list!). We’re at least rooting for them, and so is probably the rest of the Danish tech community as well.

Bonus question – which startup should we pay extra attention to in 2021?

Wow – it’s absolutely impossible to choose one startup to look out for amongst so many great ones. But if I restrict my answer to Danish companies and to a time-span of the next few months, I would encourage you to keep an eye open for