Startups and scaleups in INCUBA report ready for upturn

After a couple of economically tough years, INCUBA's IMPACT analysis shows that startups and scaleups in INCUBA had a soft landing in 2023 and are poised for upturn and growth in 2024.

In the wake of a general downturn in entrepreneurship, Aarhus-based startups and scaleups at INCUBA saw steady progress in 2023. In the annual IMPACT analysis, which was completed in early 2024 among the companies in INCUBA a/s, many of the founders and CEOs surveyed reported positive growth and optimism for 2024.

"We are very pleased to see that the companies have generally demonstrated good, stable results in 2023. Not only have the companies experienced an increase in turnover compared to the previous year, they also report stable operating results, they are consolidating and ready for an upturn," says Mai Louise Agerskov, CEO of INCUBA a/s.

According to EIFO's study "The Year of Entrepreneurship 2023", the number of new entrepreneurial companies has decreased by six per cent compared to 2022, marking the second consecutive year of decline since the record year 2021. The development reflects the challenges Danish entrepreneurship has faced in recent years. High interest rates, tighter credit standards for SMEs and declining investment activity among venture capitalists have contributed to the difficult conditions. At the same time, high inflation and economic uncertainty have also played a role.

However, INCUBA's IMPACT analysis for 2023 shows encouraging resilience among startups and scaleups in the science park despite the challenges. 57% of companies have experienced an increase in revenue during 2023, and 59% have launched new products or services during the year. Furthermore, 71% expect a further increase in revenue in 2024. Despite the general market downturn, INCUBA companies have also managed to attract more than DKK 1.4 billion in investments across the three verticals of the science park, IT/tech, cleantech and life sciences. In comparison, the investment level was DKK 420 million in 2022.

Mai Louise Agerskov, CEO of INCUBA, comments: "This strong performance from the companies in INCUBA indicates their ability to adapt and continue to thrive despite the challenging circumstances in the Danish entrepreneurial environment and the economy in general. We are still not back to pre-corona levels in terms of the number of start-ups and fast track to growth in companies, where we used to see around 50 companies growing out of INCUBA each year. But the picture is complex, and there are still industries that are experiencing remarkable growth, such as cybersecurity, biotechnology and areas within cleantech that support the green transition."

INCUBA companies on a positive growth trajectory

A prominent example of this remarkable progress in cleantech is Battman Energy. The company started its journey with three co-founders in the INCUBA StartupLab in 2023 and has been on an upward trajectory. The cleantech company develops large battery parks around the country to stabilise the grid and now, with 14 employees, aims to facilitate and execute investments of more than €100 million in batteries by 2024.

Daniel Kappelgaard, CEO at Battman Energy, says: "Since joining INCUBA, we have achieved significant and tangible results within our vision of supporting a strong grid and a greener Denmark. We do this through our core business as a project developer of large-scale battery energy storage systems (BESS), where we have, among other things, secured our first investments, procured our first projects and are executing on them according to plan.

We have experienced significant growth as a company and have already scaled up with a larger office at INCUBA and hiring more employees. We have set ambitious goals for the future and are proud that by the end of 2024, we will be operating the largest portfolio of battery storage systems within mainland Denmark. In addition, in early 2024, we have also taken the first steps towards international expansion by starting operations and establishing an office in Spain. We are also in the process of starting activities in the Netherlands, Bulgaria, Finland and Australia, which will materialise during 2024."

Mai Louise Agerskov, CEO of INCUBA, comments: "We are pleased to see how companies have successfully handled the challenging circumstances of 2023. Their ability to adapt, attract capital and prepare for further growth is a clear testament to the resilience and strength that characterises our entrepreneurial environment here at INCUBA."

Co-founders of Battman Energy, Daniel Kappelgaard & Alexander Kaae, and CEO of INCUBA, Mai Louise Agerskov, 29.02.2024 INCUBA Navitas