Creating a start-up is a complex process. There are decisions to make. Actions to take. For company founders with a scientific or technical background most of these will be unfamiliar.
This generic start-up checklist is for the start-up rookie. It aims to list the steps that every new company needs to take. It does not aim to explain how to take them.
Where Denmark has good, free-of-charge services for further information or help, we have included a link. Where there is no link… Google it.
Every company starts with an idea. Maybe it’s a technology. Maybe it’s a method. Maybe it’s a new way of reaching customers. Whatever your idea is, it should solve a real problem.
Before rushing out to incorporate your new company, here are 8 steps every start-up should go through.
A. Have identified a problem that is so big that people are willing to pay for a solution.
B. Have figured out a solution that many customers will pay a little for, or a few customers will pay a lot for.
If you are planning to start a business that has a chance of growing, it is wise to team up as soon as possible. It is usually sensible to build a team with three different qualifications. A hipster, a hacker and a hustler.
These core qualifications are especially crucial, if you outsource functions. Co-founders cost you a slice of the company, but sub-contractors can cost you the entire company, if they are handled inexpertly. If you are building a student start-up, you can look for teammates on this platform:
Using the answers to all of the above, your business plan should explain:
Once you know what you want to sell, who you want to sell it to and how you will produce it, you are ready for the official parts of building a company. In Denmark, you will need to register for a CVR number if your company will be taxable for VAT and have an annual turnover of more than 50,000 DKK. In order to register, you will need a company name and a bank account.
Having a company name is not only practical for discussing it with investors, collaborators and customers. You need a name when you apply for a bank account and when you incorporate your company. A name should be easy to pronounce, easy to remember and appropriate for your type of business. When you have thought of a name, you should:
If your new name is available buy the internet domain immediately and register to virk.dk as soon as you have opened a bank account and decided on a company type.
In Denmark, you need a so-called NemKonto linked to your company in order to get refunds from tax, VAT and other public interactions. This usually needs to be a business account (Erhvervskonto). A business account also assures separation of your private and commercial economy and reduces the risk of inadvertently committing tax-fraud. Shop around. Costs and service levels vary considerably.
For a start-up, there are four relevant types of company in Denmark. The two sticky points are about whether or not you are personally responsible for debts incurred in the company, and whether or not you need capital to open it. Choose wisely. Each type comes with its own set of rules, and changing type later is complicated. Read more here (Only available in Danish)…
To get started with your incorporation, you need electronic identification. Either a Danish NemID or a foreign eID. When registering, you have to provide:
The web-page for incorporation is in Danish, so if you do not read the language yet, get a friend to help you.
Companies based on technology will probably need an investor when friends and family run out of money. These come in many flavours. Be sure to investigate whether they can help you with anything besides money. Note that in Denmark, there are a number of public funding bodies, which will take little or no slice of your company.
Copenhagen Science City is home to seven start-up communities with various specialisations and flavours. Find them all on the Copenhagen Science City portal…
Copenhagen Science City is home to over 450 start-up companies in various tech-sectors. Other start-ups could become your first customers or provide services you need.
Find them through this Copenhagen Science City portal to company listings…