Denmark: the European outlier for VC growth in 2023

Key Takeaways:

  • Denmark bucks the global VC decline trend witnessed in 2023, experiencing its second best year for VC investment in 2023, led by investment into healthtech startups.
  • Danish healthtech startups raised a record $835M, surpassing the previous record set in 2021 by 11%.
  • Biotech, Pharma and Health platform startups are leading the way for VC investment into  the Danish healthtech sector.

Denmark: the European ecosystem that grew instead of declining in 2023

When comparing VC investment in 2023 against the previous year, Denmark stood out as an exception to the rule of declining VC investment trend seen across the continent and globally.

In the table below, amongst the top 10 European ecosystems for VC investment in 2023, Denmark was the only country in the subset to experience VC investment growth as the country experienced it’s second best year on record for VC investment.

Across Europe, VC investment went down by 37% across the continent, with nearly all countries experiencing a drop in VC investment to varying degrees.

Only 4 countries bucked the trend: Denmark, North Macedonia, Ukraine as well as Bosnia & Herzegovina, which experienced VC investment growth against 2022.

Denmark stands out against these, being a more mature and developed startup ecosystem compared to the other noted examples hence this study conducted into why this has been the case.

What (in-part) caused this outlier? Record levels of VC investment  into healthtech startups in Denmark in 2023

Danish healthtech startups experienced a record-breaking year in 2023, raising $835 million across 56 funding rounds.

This marked a significant 11% increase from the previous year, highlighting a resurgence in VC investment that bucked the global investment trend observed in 2021 and 2022.

Healthtech VC investment accounted for a substantial 58% of Denmark's total investment in 2023

When compared to Europe, for industry level investment, Denmark over indexes in Healthtech and startup VC investment, with Healthtech, Enterprise Software and Fintech rank as Denmark's top funded industries since 2018.

Explore this funding data and benchmark against other ecosystems of interest here on the Dealroom platform.

What factors drive this success in Denmark's health tech sector?

  • A supportive ecosystem network: Denmark has a thriving ecosystem of healthtech startups, investors, and incubators. You can review these incubators and accelerators active in this space in Denmark here on the platform. This networking and support provides healthtech startups with access to capital, advice, and partnerships that can help them succeed.
  • A mature healthcare market: In 2021, Denmark spent $5,203 per capita on healthcare, which was higher than the average for developed countries ($4,527) [World Health Organization]. This demand provides healthtech startups with a large potential customer base.
  • Global leader for healthcare digitisation: Denmark has one of the most digitized healthcare systems in the world. In 2023, 99% of Danish citizens had access to their EHRs, and 84% of Danish citizens used telemedicine services. This has created a thriving environment for healthtech startups to operate and grow under.
  • Strong public sector support: The Danish government is a strong supporter of innovation in the health sector, and it provides a number of programs and incentives to help healthtech startups get off the ground. VC's such as Innovation Fund Denmark and Denmark's Export and Investment Fund (EIFO) have invested in many of the most prominent healthtech startups in Denmark in 2023, including the likes of Corti, Hemab Therapeutics, IO biotech amongst others.

Which startups and sub-sectors within Healthtech drove this record setting year?

  • Biotech: Denmark's legacy of excellence in biomedical research, with renowned universities and research institutions conducting cutting-edge research in biotech-relevant fields, provides biotech startups like Hemab Therapeutics and IO biotech, both of which raised Series B VC funding in 2023, with access to fresh findings and insights that can fuel their development endeavors.
  • Pharma: Aarhus-based NMD Pharma and Acesion Pharma both secured Series B funding in 2023. The former has been able to capitalize on the city of Aarhus emerging as a critical center for pharmatech innovation, boasting a concentration of pharmatech companies, research institutions, and service providers.
  • Health platforms: Denmark's adoption of digitization in its nationwide healthcare infrastructure has fostered an environment conducive to the growth of AI-powered health platforms such as Corti. The Copenhagen-based healthtech startup secured $60M in Series B funding in 2023 to expand its AI-powered services, aiding healthcare providers in delivering timely and precise care.
  • Explore the above and other funding rounds into Healthtech startups in Denmark in 2023 on the platform here.

The Danish healthtech startup ecosystem from the Danish Healthtech hub (June 2023)

Which investors are driving this Danish healthtech investment?

As mentioned, Danish healthtech companies have been receiving an increasing proportion of VC investment over the past few years, this has been supported by a wide network of VC's, private equity and other investors based in Denmark, the Nordics and further afield.

The table below showcases the 50 of the most active investors into Danish health tech startups over the past 5 years.

You can also explore these investors and their portfolio investments here on the platform.

Closing thoughts

In 2024, the outlook for Danish healthtech startups is very positive. A supportive ecosystem, mature healthcare market, strong public sector support, and emerging biotech and pharma platforms are driving this growth, positioning Denmark as a hub for healthcare innovation that will help transform healthcare delivery and drive further healthtech innovation.

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Danish BioTech Report: Explore our report published here alongside Danske Bank on the venture capital trends and insights on Danish Biotech startups.