In a showcase of world-class innovation, The Extreme Tech Challenge Life Sciences Startup Competition, generously supported by Novo Nordisk Foundation and presented at TechBBQ in Copenhagen, Denmark’s quintessential startup summit, delivered nothing short of sheer amazement.
As the competition reached its thrilling climax, Per B. Andersen of ASAI-BioInnovation Institute, one of eight Finalists, seized the spotlight and emerged as the champion in an exciting fast-paced final round. ASAI faced formidable competition against the other startups in the final round: Alcolase, BrainCapture, Droplet IV, Fauna Smart Technologies, HATO Medical, Pharmista Technologies and Zeta Diagnostics. Anderson delivered a pitch that resonated with the judges and crowd. The jubilation that followed ASAI’s win was a testament to their unwavering commitment and hard work.
The finals pitch round unfolded at the prestigious Life Science Stage at the two-day event, which drew more than 7,500 attendees. Among the crowd were not only pioneering startups and scale-ups, but a host of keen investors, media luminaries, and more than 400 speakers. The occasion was co-hosted by the dynamic duo Jan Thordsen, TechBBQ Project Manager for Life Science, and Extreme Tech Challenge Executive Managing Director Victoria Slivkoff.
Each pitch was meticulously orchestrated, with a strict two-minute presentation followed by a focused three-minute Q&A session with a panel of five judges. Staying within these time constraints was no small feat, yet Finalists rose to the occasion. They delivered succinct, high-energy pitches with a striking force like lightning.
The fast-paced, high-caliber pitches coupled with intricate business cases posed a challenge for our exceptional judges. The distinguished panel included Leigh Brody (AlbionVC), Signe Ulrik Holm (Danish Life Science Cluster), Camilla Gilbro (DTU Science Park), Charlotte Schöller (Novo Nordisk Foundation), and Sam Kondo Steffensen (Rethink Value).
It was evident the judges had diligently prepared and conducted thorough research on each startup before pitch finals. The panel listened intently and engaged each Finalist with probing questions that delved into the heart of their innovations.
Leigh Brody provided insight into the decision-making process undertaken by the judges. With a mere 15 minutes at their disposal, they thoughtfully debated the merits of each startup. In the end, judges voted unanimously for ASAI-BioInnovation Institute.
On the stage, Marcus Remmers (left) and Christian Waarst delved into a lively discussion, shedding light on the considerations of investors when contemplating an investment in a startup. Marcus divulged the primary focus areas for the life sciences investors group within Novo Holdings and revealed the top three elements he looks for in a pitch deck.
Startup founders in the audience were captivated during this discussion, as Marcus emphasized that Novo Holdings, as an active investor with 160 portfolio companies, must be exceptionally efficient when reviewing pitch decks. Only five to 10 minutes is allocated to determine whether further investigation is warranted. This valuable insight kept startup founders hanging on every word during the discussion.
TechBBQ, a sensory feast, featured keynotes, fireside chats, panel discussions, matchmaking sessions, and bustling startup booths, with thousands networking at the Lokomotivvaerkstedet, a venue blending the industrial ambiance of its past iteration as a train workshop with state-of-the-art lighting and AV equipment. At the epicenter of the Scandinavian startup and innovation ecosystem, it resembled a hive, abuzz with attendees flitting between clusters of activity and pollinating across event hubs.
The venue was packed with activity in every square meter, featuring tech giants such as Google, Microsoft, and SAP. The atmosphere felt like a mix of Christmas, a carnival and a conference.
Conversations buzzed with keywords like “impact,” “startup,” “investment,” and “deal flow,” creating a harmonious soundtrack that was music to our ears.
The Life Science Stage struck a balance between spaciousness and intimacy, allowing presenters to engage closely with the audience for a cool – yet intimate – vibe.
The cavernous 10,000 m2 venue made acoustics tricky, but TechBBQ organizers ingeniously provided noise-cancelling headphones at all the small stages. Presenters used high-quality mics, piping sound directly to the audience’s ears. This unique setup facilitated a deeper absorption of information, like a silent disco for conferences. And we loved it.
Before the final pitches, we visited various startup booths. Steffen Yndal, CEO and co-founder of HATO Medical Technologies, summed up his TechBBQ experience: “It’s going great! We’ve already had a lot of interest, which is surprising. Wouldn’t it be great if we got funding?” Indeed, it would be fantastic.
Despite the thousands in attendance, TechBBQ exuded a neighborhood barbecue vibe, informal and far more enjoyable than a typical corporate event. Everyone wanted to connect over food and talk startups and innovation.
And, of course, startups were eager for funding.
It was the perfect vibe and venue for the Extreme Tech Challenge Life Sciences Startup Competition finals.
We’ll definitely be back.
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See the full pitch session here.
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