London isn’t the only European capital with a thriving startup scene; Copenhagen’s entrepreneurs are every bit as resourceful as their British counterparts, although until recently raising large funding rounds in the Danish capital might have been considered a bridge, or maybe a pivot too far.
The floodgates are starting to open, however as Nordic VCs and Angel investors, spurred by the international success and phenomenal growth of startups like “Unicorn” Just Eat, reviews site Trust Pilot and music streaming service Spotify, are gaining in confidence and backing some truly game-changing startups.
Planday is the latest beneficiary; having raised $14m from investors including Nordic VC Creandum, Just Eat’s Klaus Nyengaard, and SEB Private Equity, its founders, investors and staff are daring to dream big.
Planday is a provider of workplace management software that has been designed with the modern millennial in mind. Its cloud based “Shift Planning solution” is perfect for any business with a flexible workforce, from nightclubs, where founder and CTO Mikkel Lomholt was working when he was inspired to build the platform, to restaurants, gyms, call centres and more.
The company has marked itself out as one of Copenhagen’s most innovative and exciting startups, bagging three “Gazelle” awards from Danish business daily Die Borsen for its exceptional growth, and growing to 100,000 users, not to mention opening offices in Germany, Sweden, and New York; could London be next?
The app lets users – a company’s employees – swap shifts, receive notifications and reminders from the workplace, schedule and plan their working weeks and even bid for popular peak time shifts.
Employers benefit from enhanced data which when interpreted effectively can transform efficiency as well as staff morale, planning and payment functionality – Planday helps them take a big data analytics approach to managing staff and even implementing best working practices.
CEO and angel investor Christian Brondum believes that 80% of workplaces use outdated methods – pens, paper and old school time-tabling – to keep track of staff, but doesn’t expect organisations to hold out for much longer before switching to services like Planday’s.
The service is already in 24 countries, has more than 2,000 corporate customers, is growing 100% year on year and has doubled its number of staff in just over a year.
“Nobody was doing a great job at workforce management until Planday stepped into the breach”, says employee Taylor Ryan, who joined the company, now over a decade old, after 10 years on the Washington DC startup scene; “I saw the opportunity and I thought “I have to be on this ride, I don’t know where it’s going but I know it’s going up”.
“It’s the perfect app for time strapped millennials who are likely to be working 2 or 3 jobs at once and want to manage everything on their phone, such is the nature of modern work – it’s a service that gives you the flexibility you have always dreamed of.”
The Planday phenomenon has already hit London with Sophie’s Steakhouse signing up to the service last year; so next time you’re in town and looking to grab a bite to eat, maybe you can drop in and be greeted by a fresh faced, smiling, on the ball waiter or waitress, instead of the usual surly, hungover, teen who only left the disco floor a few hours earlier.
Planday says they will keep looking to partner and integrate their software into more and more systems – with so many diverse clients using the service already, they must have an enviable stash of industry knowledge which will only increase.
Now, the question is; Denmark and Copenhagen (and indeed the rest of the Nordic states) can build a mean startup and maintain the lean agile, growth that is the hallmark of all successful startups – but can they scale them like London, or, whisper it, like the Valley.
That’s when the competition starts to get intense. From Berlin to Brooklyn, via Bethnal Green, all eyes will be on flagship startups like Planday; can this humble startup make a serious dent in a global industry worth multi-billions. Well, as they say in Brooklyn – money talks, and bullshit walks – Planday sure got that part the right way round – who says they can’t go on and claim the higher ground?