• Heartful Academy

From startup revolution to green transition: working for a better future

Tine Thygesen has been doing well by doing good in the Danish startup ecosystem for more than a decade. Today, she is all about the necessary green transition.

One of our heroes in the Danish startup ecosystem is Tine Thygesen. That’s because of some clear patterns that we see in her journey:

  1. For a serial entrepreneur, Tine is exceptionally social and inclusive. For Tine, getting other people along with her on the journey is more important than personally getting ahead. She mobilises for change by organising events, networks, dinners etc. Always done in a kind and generous way, and people benefit from the connections made.

  2. Throughout the years, Tine has applied herself wholeheartedly to play her part in kickstarting the Copenhagen startup ecosystem. Now that is up to high speed, she is putting all her energy and passion into sustainability and the green transition.

  3. Tine has been on all sides of the startup table. Several years have been spent deeply entrenched in building one startup at a time, and for other long stretches she has dedicated herself to being an ecosystem builder. Most people have only been deep into one of the two roles. So it’s no wonder that Tine has obtained an extraordinary understanding of what startups and founders need to succeed. This has made her incredibly insightful and useful not only as an ecosystem builder, but also as an advisor, board member, speaker, writer, and most recently investor.

Let’s go back in time for a moment. After graduation, Tine left Denmark and made London, New Zealand and Australia her home for a decade. Corporate jobs quickly turned into startup ventures, and early on it was clear that the entrepreneurial spirit had to be nurtured. When Tine returned to Denmark in 2009 she took over the role as Managing Director of Venture Cup. From there on things gained momentum quickly. Already early in her career Tine got invited to all sorts of trusted positions. Board Member at Copenhagen School of Entrepreneurship, mentor at several startup accelerators, Strategic Advisor to the EU, Nordic Innovation, and the Danish government - just to name a few.

In 2011, as co-founder and CEO of the first co-working space in Copenhagen dedicated solely to tech startups, Founders House, Tine’s popularity reached even higher levels. For some years it almost seemed like Copenhagen only had one female tech entrepreneur to speak of. Luckily her influence was always positive, and hundreds of startup founders can testify to feeling incredibly supported and inspired by their encounters with Tine over the years.

Founders House expanded to become Startup Village in 2013, and then in 2016 merged with the Norwegian co-working space operator MESH. The new name became The Creators Community, and Tine took on the role of Group CEO. During the past 4 years she has expanded the business from 5,700m2 to 25,000m2 of workspace under management, multiplied revenue several times, professionalised the organisation and ensured funding is in place for several years of future growth. Then, in early 2019 Tine decided to step back into a board role to be able to spend all her time on sustainability and the green transition. One of the ways she is currently doing that is as an angel investor with London based VC firm, Atomico.

Some of the questions we asked Tine Thygesen to address in this Heartful Academy session:

  • Why is it worth it starting companies from scratch as a startup founder? It is a lot of hard work, and the chances of success are small.

  • What can we learn from the tech startup revolution that we have seen in the past decade?

  • In terms of the coming decade, what do you see will happen? Specifically, where do you see the green transition going from here?

  • How was your experience being among the first tech startup female founders in the Danish ecosystem? And what do you think is next in the diversity agenda?

  • What do you think it will take to get founders as well as leaders to really make the necessary changes for the sake of the environment and the climate?

  • What role will you be playing in the green transition? Why have you chosen this specific role, given your set of talents and opportunities?

  • Can you tell us about your experiment not to buy any new clothes for a full year. Why did you take that on, and what did you learn?