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#CPHFTW turns 2 years – what is next for our community organization?

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#CPHFTW turns 2 years – what is next for our community organization?

Two years ago around 70 tech startup people got together and laid the foundation for #CPHFTW. The first Townhall in March 2014 kicked off the many activities #CPHFTW would bring during the next months and years.

To celebrate all results we as a community of tech startups and passionate individuals have achieved, and to look to the future, we invited all the people and companies who founded and financially backed #CPHFTW for a gathering on December 21st.

25 people came to meet, drink a glass of glögg and to discuss where #CPHFTW should be headed. We had set 1 hour aside to discuss, but ended up having 2 hours filled with great and useful discussions.

Before the discussion Christoffer made a brief presentation which prompted a short Q&A.

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Q&A

Subject: Political influence / Public Affairs

Question: Should #CPHFTW seek political influence?

Group conclusion: Politics are a hot potato, typically a one-way street and non-grassroots. Other stakeholders are fighting our battles and are better equipped for this, so let us provide them with ammunition and focus at creating value where we get most return on investment. We will have a dialogue with politicians and be open in any way possible. Lowest hanging fruit will be to collect data on the impact tech startups have on the economy and share this with everyone.

 

Subject: Townhalls

Question: Should Townhalls have another focus and format?

Contrary to the results of the survey done after Townhall #6, October 29th, 2015, a proposal was made to be more focused on startups stories, how tos and do less networking. There is a feeling that the Townhalls, because they are open as principle, attract a lot more people who are only interested in the startups and not the founders and employees of the startups. The question remains: How do we make Townhalls more relevant for startups with our knowledge and connections?

Townhall #7, January 21st, 2016, will feature a shorter show from the main stage, but interaction with community builders and startups with common interests in the main hall after the stage show.

Are you interested in hosting such a mini session around a certain topic, please contact Ervin today: [email protected]

 

Subject: Budget and memberships

Questions: Where are we financially? What is the budget for 2016? (Please see page 5-6 in the slide deck)

To operate with the current activities we need a minimum of 800.000 kr. To expand and further develop the activities and the platform 1.200.000 kr. and above is needed. As a principle we want to be mainly independent of outside funding, as these funds often take considerable effort to apply for and get, are short term and campaign-focused and have strings attached – no matter if they are private or public. But we are already looking into funding through both public authorities and large corporations and are looking to employ a person to help us in developing these relationships.

In short: To be true to the #CPHFTW credo, “By startups, for startups”, the salaries of the key employees in #CPHFTW should be financed by the members (the tech startups of Denmark and the Öresund Region) and on top of this we will actively seek to raise money from other stakeholders for specific activities.

We are currently asking the tech startups to sign on as members of #CPHFTW and pay a yearly membership fee according to their size and funding:

Bootstrapped startups: Free

Young startups: 2.500 kr./year

Seed stage: 10.000 kr./year

Growth/IPO/exit: 25.000 kr./year

 

Subject: Board and governance

Question: Who is on the board and who has influence in #CPHFTW?

The CPHFTW Foundation is a simple company with no employees, its aim is to safeguard the community’s assets, intellectual property and identity. It fully owns the operating company (CPHFTW IVS), the domains, the names and it appoints the Managing Director of the IVS.

The board consists of: Martin von Haller (chairman), Thomas Madsen-Mygdal and Rasmus Bjerngaard with one seat left to be filled in 2016.

The CPHFTW IVS (operating company) is organized to take advice and direction from the community. This happens in many different ways: At the Townhalls, at meetings like the founder meetings we just held, in one-to-one meetings between #CPHFTW and the founders and members, and especially in the Circles where people show up and take action.

#CPHFTW daily management is:

Christoffer H. Malling – Head of #CPHFTW (full time)

Oliver Franklin – Operations Manager – Communications (15 hours/week)

Ottocar-Ervin Szerdocz (a.k.a. Ervin) Operations Manager – Finance and Event (15 hours/week)

The daily management meets with the #CPHFTW Coordination Circle (CCC) every second Tuesday. The CCC is:

Karsten Deppert, Kenneth Auchenberg, Lærke Ullerup, Martin Ferro-Thomsen, Martin LeBlanc Eigtved, Martin von Haller, Michael Reibel Boesen, Rasmus Bjerngaard, Sebastian Schwemer, Thomas Madsen-Mygdal.

The CCC consists of individuals who use their spare time, knowledge and network to make great things happen for the community. The CCC is open to all and will be looking to getting other passionate people onboard in 2016. The existing members of the CCC decide who the new members will be.

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GROUP DISCUSSION

Following the Q&A five groups discussed a topic each which in turn was discussed by all of us. Below are the notes from the joint discussion on each topic:

Group 1: Attracting international talent

Group 2: Increasing investments from local/international VCs & BAs

Group 3: Enhancing networking and knowledge sharing

Group 4: Branding and PR of tech startups, #CPHFTW & the region

Group 5: Strategic partnerships with organizations, large corporations and public institutions

 

Group 1: Attracting international talent

Four areas to work with:

  1. Inbound (PR, branding of Denmark, the Öresund Region)
  2. Discovery (localization and recruitment/headhunting)
  3. Integration (ensuring talents and their partners are well-integrated into the community, find a place to live etc.)
  4. Bureaucracy (making it easier for companies to hire)

Conclusion of discussion:

#CPHFTW should facilitate a network, group and platform between the startups who are actively working with the area. The network could find ways of collectively locating talent and startups could share candidates they are not hiring. The group could also explore partnerships with established companies who works in this area or, if the need and funding exist, look into establishing a satellite company under the #CPHFTW moniker, but with separate funding and employees.

 

Group 2: Increasing investments from local/international VCs & BAs

Venture Capital firms

#CPHFTW VC Dinners are successful. #CPHFTW and the community need to be better at telling the world about our major successes in the past, the big exits and IPO’s, which the VCs are noticing.

 

Business Angels

All agreed that the funding situation regarding BA’s in Denmark and the Öresund Region are not optimal. We would like to see a situation where more BA’s joined the small group of excellent BA’s with tech startup focus, experience and skills. #CPHFTW should develop more and better AngelNext pitching/matchmaking events, but both startups and BA’s should be qualified to participate in these. Could we set up a peer-reviewing process for BA’s? Could we form a #CPHFTW BA Group that could become integrated in #CPHFTW?

Conclusion of discussion:

A small group is meeting in January 2016 to explore how #CPHFTW can address these questions.

 

Group 3: Enhancing networking and knowledge sharing

We began discussing what #CPHFTW should be in general. Comments were among others: “#CPHFTW should create opportunities for connections between individuals in the startup community”. And: “#CPHFTW should be the main facilitator in highlighting the best events and create some of these.” In other words, should #CPHFTW be very active in helping startups recruit, fundraise and gaining knowledge or should it rather be hands-off and focus on connecting people, who in turn will take the initiative?

Conclusion of discussion:

  • #CPHFTW should look into alternatives to mass events – with concrete value for and connections among startups. One idea is to have startups and community builders host a monthly events around changing topics.
  • The Townhall events could also be used as a physical space and platform for pre-events for community builders and others.
  • #CPHFTW should be the digital community manager of a Slack channel, creating subchannels and introducing people to foster dialogue. Please join the #CPHFTW Slack channel.
  • Sharing Groups: A small group will meet ASAP to create an overview of existing groups, a new set of guidelines and ideas for cross-group interaction as well as developing a way of displaying an overview of the groups, their members and what topics they are discussing.
  • #CPHFTW should also find a way of promoting external events, to lend out the brand and collaborate more with the other community builders etc.

 

Group 4: Branding and PR of tech startups, #CPHFTW & the region

Is the name still relevant for an organization working cross-regional?

Yes. Copenhagen as a city is the main hub in the region and is strong as a brand, so we need to leverage this to benefit all the startups in the region. #CPHFTW is only the brand for Danish and Öresund-based tech startups in the eyes of the world. All local startups and community builders will maintain and develop their own brand and activities, and will collaborate with #CPHFTW when it is relevant and mutually beneficial. And when it comes to fundraising from national or regional (Öresund) authorities, attracting international VCs, branding us all as a place for talents and startups to relocate to, and having one database and website of jobs, events and information about running a successful startup we are much stronger together.

Conclusion of discussion:

#CPHFTW should help with regular and consistent storytelling about tech startups. We should have an external pulse, beating regularly. (Currently we are picking up on any business/tech/startup jounalist who are visiting or are writing about us. Recently Denmark/Copenhagen and #CPHFTW has been featured in Forbes and Inc besides the local tech startup media).

  • Ask Wonderful Copenhagen for ideas on how to brand ourselves.
  • Focus on USPs for us: Design + Tech. Danes have been instrumental in creating many programming languages.
  • #CPHFTW needs assistance from experienced PR firms, agencies and individuals who want to contribute. Agencies are believed to be willing to help for a low (or no) cost which we will look further into.
  • #CPHFTW should look into having journalism students or similar do regular stories about the members and the scene in general.
  • Collaborate with stakeholders like Copenhagen Capacity (in progress).
  • We should look at and talk to organizations like Slush, who are getting massive attention.
  • #CPHFTW should ensure better representation at major international events and congresses (CES, Slush, Websummit etc.).
  • Also, #CPHFTW should connect all startups going to these major international events as the advantages of connecting, going together and exchanging knowledge are massive.
  • #CPHFTW should inform all public authorities of our existence.

 

Group 5: Strategic partnerships with organizations, large corporations and public institutions

Many ideas and little discussion on this topic. Only discussion was whether tech startups really are interested in working for large corporations. The latter are very interested in having entrepreneurs working on the challenges they face in one setting or the other.

Conclusion of discussion:

Active startups are focused on building their own product and company, but entrepreneurs in other situations could be willing to do this.

  • Corporate partnerships are a good idea, but we need to work out what we offer and what value we provide.
  • One idea is a form of innovation hub – matching brains with corporations. But again, what is the value, who brings it and is it #CPHFTW’s focus?
  • Another idea is to use data in collaboration with corporates. To further develop and use this together.
  • A third idea is simply to provide access to the community with consent from the startups, on stage at Townhalls, at other events, in newsletters.
  • Universities and especially the students should be targeted. Collaboration with existing initiatives and organizations (incubators, startups pitching students, student organization) and possibly development of new ones with these organizations and individuals.

 

Summing up

After two hours of fruitful discussions and ideation, we did not have the time to really prioritize in all the above. #CPHFTW is not able, and maybe it should not, solve all the challenges tech startups face.

But we did finish off with agreeing on some high-level guidelines. These are:

  • #CPHFTW should create spaces for people to meet – and action will follow.
  • Everyone cannot be interested in everything, so #CPHFTW should create spaces according to people’s interest. Find and experiment with innovative ways of creating these spaces.
  • #CPHFTW should facilitate contact between people who will not normally meet.
  • #CPHFTW should work on the ground (with startup people), and should spot people who would like to drive certain activities.

 

Many thanks and invitation to help out the community

If you want to help there are a number of ways to do so. See below. Please write to [email protected] if you want to be part of any of these Circles, if you have ideas or tips.

  • Townhall Circle – for planning and providing hands-on help creating and setting up the quarterly Townhalls
  • Design and Web Circle – In 2016 we are looking to update our visual identity and design of the website. Designers and developers of all types are very welcome and all help is appreciated.
  • Sharing Group Circle – If you want to help give input and create the best format for the Sharing Groups
  • Communications and PR Circle – Do you want to help in making the overall strategy for all our channels (PR, newsletter, social media, blog) and also help create content?
  • Conference Circle – Are you going to some of the major conferences in 2016 or do you have good insights on how to get the most of these? How should #CPHFTW be part of this. Help form the Circle and find a way of improving how the community does conferences.
  • Slack Circle – Are you a master community manager on Slack and do you want to help form a Slack Circle that maintains and develops the #CPHFTW Slack Channel? Everybody, please join the Slack channel https://cphftw.slack.com.
  • Member – If you are a tech startup and would like to become a member, do send us an email.
  • Please do notify us if you learn of any media, journalists, bloggers or investors visiting us or have an interest in being introduced to relevant startups.

Many thanks to all the people who have contributed to making #CPHFTW a strong community organization, to all the participants and especially to Jeanne and Admiral Gjeddes Gaard for providing the space where it all began.

And last but not least, many thanks to all the tech startups for taking the lead and creating amazing results.

Have a great 2016!

#CPHFTW
– By startups, for startup

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