From stress to success: AU startup wins entrepreneurship competition

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IT student Christoffer Hauthorn has just won the Guldæg 2018 entrepreneurship prize along with the rest of the company Emplate he co-founded alongside his studies at AU. But balancing life as an entrepreneur and a student hasn’t always been easy.

2018.06.18 | Marie Groth Andersen

Christoffer Hauthorn, Emplate partner and co-founder and IT Master’s degree student at AU. Emplate just won the Guldæg 2018 entrepreneurship prize. Photo: Maria Randima

AU Entrepreneurs

AU Entrepreneurs is a new dual-career program which makes possible for students to follow two career paths at the same time a university degree and a startup business. 

AU Entrepreneurs offers consultancy services, administrative assistance, personal support and information about entrepreneurship support at AU.

The phones have been ringing even more than usual at Emplate since the company won the entrepreneurship prize Guldæg 2018 (golden egg, ed.). 

“There’s been some media calling to cover the story, and we’ve also gotten some calls from people who are interested in investing in us,” explains Christoffer Hauthorn, Emplate partner and co-founder and IT Master’s degree student at AU.  

Emplate and two other startups were nominated as ‘golden egg of the year’. But Hauthorn and the rest of the Emplate team didn’t dare get their hopes too high.

“We’ve participated in this kind of competition before and ended up in second place. But when I saw that Simon’s pitch (Simon Staack, co-founder of Emplate, ed.) was one of the better ones he’s done and heard the feedback, I thought we might have a chance of winning,” says Hauthorn. 

A real El Dorado 

The judges emphasised Emplate’s persistence and their love for their product, a marketing and communication platform for clients such as shopping centres. The platform makes it possible to directly market relevant offers to customers based on their behavior and movements in a shopping centre. The judges also cited Emplate’s deep knowledge of their market and the company’s commitment to its values.

In addition to honor, Emplate won a trip to Tel Aviv, a city with an active entrepreneurial scene. Innovation Center Denmark in Tel Aviv will organise a week-long program for Emplate which will include meetings with investors, other startups and so-called angels – private investors who get actively involved in a company in addition to providing them with capital. 

“Winning this means a lot. It’s a big opportunity for us. Even just getting an audience with big shots like Lars Seier and Morten Strunge (prominent Danish entrepreneurs, ed.) means a lot. And the week in Tel Aviv will be a real El Dorado.”

Hard to balance academics and entrepreneurship

Emplate belongs to the AU Incubator, and several of its co-founders are working on their degrees on top of their involvement in the company, like Hauthorn himself. But it hasn’t always been easy to balance the demands of university study and a growing company, Hauthorn has to admit. 

Omnibus interviewed him for the first time about eighteen months ago. At that time, he told us about how he often ended up with a 50+ hour working week, divided between his studies and working at Emplate. The result was stress, and he had to reduce both his working hours and his ambitions in relation to his grades.  

READ MORE: "My body gave me a warning" 

He was one of the first students to participate in the AU Entrepreneurs program, which is intended to make it easier for students to run a business alongside their studies. 

“I’ve worked with an adviser who has helped me apply for dispensations, among other things. He’s helped me figure out what documentation I needed to use in the applications, and what I needed to stress, and he also helped me write some of the applications. There’s really a high service level when they can see that there’s substance in the company you’re running alongside your studies,” explains Hauthorn.  

My situation has gotten better

Last year, he finished his Bachelor’s degree, and he’s now about a year from finishing his Master’s.

“I’ve been granted a dispensation so I can finish my Master’s in three years instead of two. And it’s really a perfect match. There’s not as much pressure as before in relation to assignments and exams. I have better working conditions, and I can start my day at the office and then go to lectures later. So my situation has gotten better, and I’m much more optimistic about finishing my degree.” 

So this is a program you’d recommend to others in a similar situation?

“Yes, are you nuts?!”

Translated by Lenore Messick

AU Entrepreneurs

AU Entrepreneurs is a new dual-career program which makes possible for students to follow two career paths at the same time a university degree and a startup business. 

AU Entrepreneurs offers consultancy services, administrative assistance, personal support and information about entrepreneurship support at AU. 

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