What kind of companies are we looking for?

Sunday 25 September, 2011 at 3:51 pm, by Søren Therkelsen in Step 3

The stage of where we seek startups

Your company is unique! Even though the below descriptions are used to give you a general idea of what we are looking for, each rule can be bent. The most important thing for us is that we believe you and your startup are ready for this trip. Their may be no way back - you and your business will change. If you are ready for that change, if you think your team is strong, if you have considered the risk of going somewhere far away for 12 weeks, then good. Keep reading!


We scale startups - we dont build products (you should talk to our friends at Startupbootcamp about that). We are looking for company with a defined product, who probably already have the product in play. Ideally you are already generating some early revenue at home.

We want to work with talented people and great teams. We love disruptive ‘take-over-the-world’ ideas, but what we like even more, is passionate teams! Expect us to give you 20% love to your idea - and 80% love to your team. We believe that an experienced and skilled team, is ‘all it takes’. We like teams with leaders - because leadership is important in this quest to scale abroad.

In order to be taken into consideration, your startup must deliver products or services within IT – consultancies can not be included in SCALEit. For us, the definition is that the revenue of the company must not be linear (or close to linear) with the money spent on salaries. If you today can sell 10 units per month, your product should be able to scale to 1.000 units pr. month, without increasing your operating cost proportionally. Your product will most likely be software based/digital, but could also be a physical hardware product - such as headphones.

We imagine, the ideal company to be about 1 to 3 years old, and employs +5 people in Denmark.

Last, but not least:

The SCALEit advisor, Steve Blank, wrote this fine piece on ‘Why Governments don’t understand startups‘. We (of course) think we do understand startups - which is why we also now have Steve Blank as a part of the team, mentoring us to build a clever part government funded program. He defines scalable startups as follow:

Scalable startups are what Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and their venture investors aspire to build. Google, Skype, Facebook, Twitter are just the latest examples. From day one, the founders believe that their vision can change the world. Unlike small business entrepreneurs, their interest is not in earning a living but rather in creating equity in a company that eventually will become publicly traded or acquired, generating a multi-million-dollar payoff.

Scalable startups require risk capital to fund their search for a business model, and they attract investment from equally crazy financial investors – venture capitalists. They hire the best and the brightest. Their job is to search for a repeatable and scalable business model. When they find it, their focus on scale requires even more venture capital to fuel rapid expansion.

Scalable startups tend to group together in innovation clusters (Silicon Valley, Shanghai, New York, Boston, Israel, etc.) They make up a small percentage of the six types of startups (read article to learn more), but because of the outsize returns, attract all the risk capital (and press.)

Just in the last few years we’ve come to see that we had been building scalable startups inefficiently. Investors (and educators) treated startups as smaller versions of large companies. We now understand that’s just not true. While large companies execute known business models, startups are temporary organizations designed to search for a scalable and repeatable business model.

This insight has begun to change how we teach entrepreneurship, incubate startups and fund them.

That is why SCALEit is being organized. To find the business model that can be scaled repeatedly, so scale can happen. Rapidly.


By now you should know if we are looking for you…