Our Programme

A unique combination of top academic learning on HardTech entrepreneurship and real-life implementation of a potential spinout company.

HardTech Entrepreneurship is a 13-week programme running at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) twice a year in both Spring and Fall semesters.

It is a project-based 10 ECTS programme, which translates to an academic load of 280 hours along the semester (lecture, workshops, group work, exams…).
We organise our programme in 3 tracks:

1) Cases focusing on commercial entrepreneurship with technologies, inventions or technology needs from mother companies.
2) Cases with inventions or patents from DTU departments’ own research, or DTU students’ own projects.
3) Cases focusing on Sustainability with challenges coming from Non-Profit Organisations/SMEs.

For each project, a team of 4-5 engineering students with optimal skill sets are selected, based on their answers to our competencies survey. Teams typically contain Mechanics, Electronics, Software and Design engineers. Added to this is 1 CBS (Copenhagen Business School) Master’s student (Marketing/Business Development), and 1 Business Mentor (from the alumni network).

With the support of specialists, experienced entrepreneurs, lectures on the best methodologies to assess technologies, validate markets, prototype… they will create the backbone of a potential spin-out from a technology or challenge from a mother company or a research institution.

A Typical Team

Open Lectures + Keynotes

We teach state-of-the-art tools, methodologies and theories related to technology entrepreneurship in a format that combines Keynotes from renowned entrepreneurs with Open Lectures. Each week, the students learn a new topic linked to the development phase of their projects, so they can apply the new knowledge to improve their business proposition and technical development.

Creative Solutions

The students have a point of departure: a technology or technology need. The outcome is always a clever and imaginative new product and business model for the technology. We give our students freedom to explore new and creative ways to make sustainable and feasible businesses and to adapt the technology to the needs of the new markets.

Niche Markets

We try to open our students' entrepreneurial mindset to be proactive and effective when scoping new markets based on the specific characteristics of a given technology. We strongly encourage them to contact potential stakeholders, customers, and investors... at an early stage, to test assumptions and to validate their targeted markets.

Build. Measure. Learn.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." We teach our students to validate their assumptions by testing them in a real environment. At every step of their entrepreneurial path, they need to develop the tool/method that they will use to validate the market and technical feasibility of their case.

Effectuation Principles

One of the pillars of HardTech Entrepreneurship's learning experience are the Effectuation Principles of Entrepreneurship, a unique methodology and way of thinking that enhances entrepreneurs to effectively identify and capture new opportunities by by utilising their available resources.

Rapid Prototyping

Our students have access to all sort of prototyping tools and facilities: from 3D printing, CNC, metal workshop, wood workshop, wet lab, electronics... as well as consultation with Prototyping and Product Development specialists, so they can effectively develop a MVP as fast as possible and with minimum resources.

National Startup Competitions

We have aligned our Business Pitch Deck with Venture Cup and Danish Tech Challenge's evaluation criteria, so our students can submit their final work directly to these competitions without effort.
In Fall 2018, we got 8 semifinalists, 2 category winners and the overall winner of the Idea Competition!
And in average, we have 6 finalists of Venture Cup every year!

The Best Startups

We also have our own competition at the end of each semester: Lions' Den. All the teams will compete to perform the best Business Pitch, showing the most promising business model and the best technology demonstrator in front of 5 fierce lions (investors). From them, only the best 3 teams will get 20.000 DKK each to spend on Startup services/prototyping and after 6 months, they will pitch to get only one Discovery Loan of 200.000 DKK (to be unlocked at the end of their studies if they continue to pursue their venture).
The 3 grants and the Discovery loan are provided by publicly funded early stage investor, PreSeed Ventures.

Keynote Speakers

In our Open Coffee Keynotes, we invite a new Keynote Speaker every week to share his/her entrepreneurial journey with us, so our techpreneurs can learn from their mistakes and get inspired by their success stories. We have had many renowned entrepreneurs, professors, investors... visiting us, here you can get a glimpse of some of them:

Lions' Den

The culmination of our programme is Lions' Den. A full-day event where all the teams showcase their technology and pitch their business ideas in front of a jury of 5 investors (lions) in a "shark tank" style (video recorded) . We award prizes to the most promising spin-outs, consisting of 3 X 20.000 DKK to be invested in the company

Take a look at some of the pitches from previous batches!