Photo: Stamers Kontor

Skylab obtains record grants for student start-ups

Wednesday 16 Jan 19


Jakob Svagin
Team Manager Start-ups and Prototyping
+45 28 72 04 88
DTU Skylab helped distribute record amounts for student start-ups in 2018, with several projects receiving more than EUR 13,400.

Never before has the innovation hub DTU Skylab facilitated the distribution of so much money for student start-ups as in 2018. Six projects received more than EUR 13,400 (DKK 100,000), whereas only a single project received that much money in 2017.

“We have shown that really healthy projects can arise from giving companies even small amounts of money. This has attracted the attention of the foundations and made them interested in handing out higher amounts,” says Jakob Svagin, one of the three DTU Skylab start-up coaches.

In addition to the already affiliated foundations beginning to allocate more money, the Verner Overgaard Family Foundation has also donated grant funds to the pool for the first time. This has prompted DTU Skylab to develop the ‘next level funding’ concept—a programme focusing on allocating greater amounts to projects that just need that final push to take their products to market.

“Next level funding enables a handful of students to exit their student roles and build their companies for real. I think this could inspire all DTU students to pursue their own start-up dreams,” says Jakob Svagin.

The total amount distributed through Skylab in 2018 was EUR 187,500 (DKK 1,396,779), a new record compared to EUR 108,400 (DKK 807,436) in 2017.

Money is fuel for start-ups
One of the companies that qualified for next level funding last year was SubBlue Robotics. They received EUR 33,500 (DKK 250,000) to develop their ship-cleaning underwater robots, which will be tested on shipping company DFDS ships operating out of Oslo during 2019.

“The Skylab next level funding, combined with our other financing sources, means that we now have the muscle to upgrade our small-scale prototype to a full-scale prototype. This leap also meant that we went from testing in a water tank to testing on real ships,” says Don Fischer, CEO of SubBlue Robotics.

Concurrently with the next level funding programme, Skylab still awards many medium-sized grants to student projects with the help of smaller foundations. Receiving one of these can still be a great help for your start-up, emphasizes start-up coach Jakob Svagin.

“A start-up requires money, just like a car requires fuel. But no matter how much fuel you get, you can learn extremely much just from being able to try starting the car. Not many study programmes exist where, for EUR 1,350 or 2,700, you learn how to do VAT accounts, examine patents, talk with customers, build a business case and be responsible for everything yourself,” he says.

If you want to apply for a large or small grant for your start-up, submit your application to DTU Skylab before 31 March.

The full list of projects supported in 2018 is available here.