Nordic Innovators Has Seen Rapid Growth
The two partners, Henrik Kemp and Kenneth Junge Hermansen, were former colleagues and good friends. One night after a few drinks they decided to start their own consultancy with the aim of helping companies progress on their funding journey.
At the 6 years anniversary of Nordic Innovators, Henrik and Kenneth take stock of what they already have achived.
How do you lead a company in constant growth?
Henrik (H): Well, I think it is obvious that we have to be a modern workplace where the Scandinavian work culture permeates all our offices with a flat hierarchy. We value teamwork and dialogue as well as personal freedom to achieve objectives and not least variation in the daily work.
Kenneth (K): Yes, our key principle is freedom with responsibility and not least self-management. As there are deadlines to be met almost all year round, we are very pleased that our fantastic team is up for the challenge to continuously go from deadline to deadline! Therefore, we want to give something back by being a highly flexible workplace.
We do our best to care for, understand and get to know every single employee. Moreover, we work hard on attracting and keeping the best talents – It is key to our business, so we try hard to make all our employees think it is great coming to work every day.
What are the most important lessons you have learnt during the last 6 years?
K: Phew…. Many things… That it is tough and a lot of hard work having your own business… But it is also a lot of fun and all the hours have been worth it. As you can imagine, it is a huge difference going from 2 to 40+ employees.
H: Yep! Obviously, one of the biggest barriers for growth in a niche consultancy as ours is not having access to the right talent or putting together a team that does not pull together. Nordic Innovators has been growing 30% each year. On the other hand, when you got it right, you also get the best return. A big difference is of course
that with more people, you need to put in place a new management structure, outlining more processes and delegating work. I think we have come a long way and we are getting the organisation ready to enable continued growth in the years to come.
What makes you most proud of Nordic Innovators?
First of all, I think we are very much in line with our purpose and passion for helping young but also mature tech companies on their funding journey. We care about making a difference with a personal approach to our clients assisting them achieve their goals for their businesses. Our help can often make a real impact on their future – enabling them to further develop and scope their great new disruptive and innovative ideas.
K: We are proud of having built a solid and growing consultancy firm. We have a fantastic team that delivers and goes the extra mile for our clients every day, something that is really rooted in our DNA as a consultancy. Last, but not least, we have built a brand which is not only recognised in Denmark and Norway but also across Europe. In only 6 years, we have managed to become a top 10 biggest soft-funding consultancy in Europe and now, maybe one the fastest growing.
What lies in the future of Nordic Innovators?
H: We have just finished working on our next three years strategy. We will enter new markets, provide new services and not least, we expect to welcome many new colleagues. We expect to reach our first milestone in the first quarter of 2020 which is to welcome employee no 50. In three years, Nordic Innovators will hopefully
reach another big milestone with 100 employees across our European offices.
K: We also expect a lot from the new programme, Horizon Europe; the next European research and innovation framework programme to succeed Horizon 2020.
What advice would you like to pass on to other startups?
K: Hard work pays off. And be patient – things will happen or be okay if you work for it. Also, remember to keep focus on your clients – fight for them and never give up. We have seen it many times – go the extra mile every time, which is so important to us. Clients appreciate and remember this! Consequently, we have many clients who keep coming back to us with new projects.
H: I know research has shown that luck and timing are often critical elements to succeed. However, in a consultancy where the only resource is people, I think it comes down to hard work, the right skills and many sleepless nights. My final advice for any startup is – planning is good but doing is better! Good luck
and go for it!