Denmark might not be a leader in many key economic indicators on the global stage. Nor is it the flashiest country in terms of technology, startups, or finances. However, it is commonly referred to as the happiest country in the world. Among the many reasons cited are the strong welfare system, a superb education system, work-life balance, and the concept of hygge. Pronounced “hue-guh” it means living in the present, creating a sense of intimacy, and savoring the moment – something one cannot buy – and something most of us in ‘Murica could never dream of doing without meditation – or hard drugs.
Little daily pleasures don’t stand in the way of the Danes’ AI ambitions though. In early 2018, the Danish government released a Strategy for Denmark’s Digital Growth that focuses on AI, big data, and the Internet of Things. Its goals include making Danish businesses use technology better, setting the right conditions for the digital transformation of businesses, and ensuring the population has the necessary skills to compete. (In other words, they need to have a strategy in place to compete in the global AI race.) The government has also set aside $11 million for 2018, $19 million for the following years until 2025, and $11 million in perpetuity until the goals are met. Slow and steady wins the race, and Danish leaders seem to be convinced it’s worth going for the long haul. In order to see what’s happening in the world of cozy Danish AI startups, we did a quick search in Crunchbase: