As a world-class incubator environment, Sound Hub Denmark attracts companies and individuals working with sound from all over the world, sending out sound waves to attract new members. The location of Sound Hub Denmark in the iconic Bang & Olufsen factory buildings, dating back to 1946 and currently undergoing a total renovation to provide modern office facilities, workshops, and acoustic measuring facilities to prepare for new residents. It all started when Bang & Olufsen decided to move their activities under one roof, leaving a massive building totally empty. Bang & Olufsen thought it would be a great idea to create a space for sound innovation, partly because of the well-suited facilities with a lot of measuring rooms and partly because the area of Struer – also know as the City of Sound –  is a thriving culture for startups and small/medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in sound-related fields. Together with a group of local investors, the municipality decided to create Sound Hub Denmark.  As one of the first-ever international sound technology and innovation environments, Sound Hub Denmark plans to host and attract investors, entrepreneurs, researchers, and established sound and acoustic companies. Partners in Sound Hub Denmark include leading global players within the international audio industry, such as Bang & Olufsen, Harman Lifestyle, Aalborg University, and Danish Sound Network. Sound Hub Denmark offers an innovative sound coworking and maker space with world-class measuring and test facilities, as well as mentors from partners open for knowledge sharing. A cluster of SMBs with complementary competencies are within walking distance of the space. Sound Hub Denmark is planning to create an inspiring foundation for innovation and growth, along with collaborative opportunities for companies and individuals that want to become world-class within their field. Sound Hub Denmark will also attract teams and departments from existing companies working with sound innovation and development, which can benefit from being a part of this hub for sound innovation, sound competencies, and emerging talents

SoundTech Accelerator Program

In November 2018, Sound Hub Denmark began the first SoundTech Accelerator Program in cooperation with Accelerace. Accelerace leverages the existing expertise of the Danish sound and acoustics landscape by matchmaking the most promising international startups with reputable players, such as Bang & Olufsen and Harman. In collaboration with Sound Hub Denmark, they have created a tailored accelerator program providing sound startups free access to state-of-the-art testing facilities and a dynamic makerspace for developing their products. On top of all of this, the SoundTech Accelerator Program offers a six-month, equity-free scaling platform with business training from experienced consultants, guidance from mentors within the industry, and further access to specialized networks.

“We are already in contact with start-ups, SMB’s, and corporate teams who have shown their interest in our upcoming sound environment,” said Rie Kold Pripsø, Chief Compliance Officer of Sound Hub Denmark. “And the fact that we have partnerships with Bang & Olufsen, Harman Lifestyle, Aalborg University, and Accelerace in offering mentoring and expertise on site has also increased the interest from other potential partners, who would like to be close to the sound start-ups of tomorrow.”

The target groups

Seven international start-ups have been chosen to attend the first SoundTech Accelerator Program, with mentors following their footsteps for six months. The companies attending the program are from seven different countries and have been selected from 30 applicants willing to join the program. Since November, several of the SoundTech Accelerator Program participants have been back for workshops with local specialists in acoustics, mechanical and electrical design, printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturing, and intensive workshops – with topics like seeking investments, creating product roadmaps, guidance in certification, and much more on the agenda. Feedback from the participants showed that the unique test facilities and access to the craft cluster of nearby companies and experts are what really impressed the startups. Having such a variety of experts within walking distance is unique and makes the startups want to prolong their stay even after the program has ended.

Space specifics

The interior will include large, open space office environments – the standard fittings for a typical coworking space – where start-ups and smaller companies will have rich opportunities to informally share challenges and experiences of success. In addition, the hub will offer private offices, a networking square, and meeting rooms. The renovation will also include makerspaces for companies to build, measure, and test prototypes in professional workshops, labs, and demo facilities.  The Bang & Olufsen “Cube” for sound measurements will remain and will be supplemented by other types of listening rooms.

First movers

One of the first movers to join Sound Hub Denmark is EKTOS Testing & Reliability Services A/S, which has leased the former Bang & Olufsen test lab and rented office space in the basement. EKTOS will be able to assist residents with a variety of different types of tests, such as electromagnetic compatibility, environmental, and reliability tests.

Why not stay awhile?

Some of the startups already utilizing Sound Hub Denmark are considering settling in Struer for a longer period to get the most out of the specialists here and what the area offers. The location of Sound Hub Denmark in Struer – with nature, fjords, and the high quality of life it can offer  is an attraction in itself. Struer, the City of Sound, is making it especially easy for newcomers, helping with accommodation, schools, and other practical matters. Struer has a cosmopolitan atmosphere as well, due to international companies such as Bang & Olufsen and Harman Lifestyle setting up shop in the municipality. With more than 70 different nationalities currently calling Struer home, the area regularly welcomes newcomers from all over the world. The SoundTech Accelerator Program is planned to run several times a year if there are enough qualified applicants. So far, more than 700 international sound startups have been identified as potential program participants, and the space’s screening for these continues.