TEK entrepreneurs win world championship – again
Mikkel Bytoft Rasmussen and Mads Lorentzen, who graduated in 2022 in Software Engineering and Robotics, respectively, from the Faculty of Engineering, aim to make it easier for deaf and hearing individuals to communicate with each other. In November, they won the university world championship in entrepreneurship for the second time.
It started with a desire to help more deaf individuals secure jobs. Since then, the entrepreneurs behind the company HumAId have developed new technology that makes communication between deaf and hearing individuals easier. This idea has earned them several awards.
Now, they have won again. CEO Mads Lorentzen was in China last week to participate in the University Startup World Cup, the university world championship for entrepreneurs. He returned with the championship in the "social tech" category. This marks the second time HumAId has claimed this title.
"It's amazing to have won the social category twice now. Being recognized at different stages of our company shows how we are capable of growing. Moreover, the recognition undoubtedly helps our ongoing work," says Mads Lorentzen.
Like his partner Mikkel Bytoft Rasmussen, Mads studied engineering at SDU. They started the company in the university's entrepreneurial environment, Startup Station. HumAId obtained a business registration number in 2022, so progress has been rapid.
Morten Ugelvig Andersen, CEO of Venture Cup—the organization behind the University Startup World Cup—comments on the newly crowned winners:
"HumAId is capable of addressing a complex challenge for a vulnerable group using advanced technology. There are too few sign language interpreters, and their hours are expensive for consumers. Therefore, this new digital interpreting technology is a breakthrough that can ultimately change the daily lives of millions of hearing-impaired individuals."
He emphasizes that knowledge-intensive startups from Danish universities have an incredibly high level, indicating promising companies on the horizon.
"With the right support, they can accelerate internationally in a short time and create both a positive change in the world and a Danish growth adventure. I believe HumAid can achieve this," says Morten Ugelvig Andersen.
However, awards and numerous recognitions do not guarantee easy success, as Mads Lorentzen acknowledges.
"Everyone has a plan until they get hit in the face," as a famous boxer once said. This undoubtedly describes HumAId's journey. For every prestigious award we've won, we've been knocked down behind the scenes five times for various reasons. Entrepreneurship is a journey, and it's important to let your company shape itself on that journey with relevant inputs from others," he says.
Entrepreneurship is not all a piece of cake
The determined entrepreneur reveals that the next significant step for the company is to bring the first technological solutions to the market.
"We've been extremely ambitious, reimagining technology. But such solutions are also expensive, so we're currently working day and night to find the funds needed to launch HumAId so we can make a real difference for people."
Four pieces of advice from a world champion in entrepreneurship:
- The good idea is more than "just" making money. The journey toward the good idea can be long, as it is also a journey to figure out what one finds exciting to work on and what truly ignites a flame within. It's extremely important to listen to that because a startup journey is tough, and therefore, it requires an idea one is passionate about.
- Start by figuring out how you can help a single person with your idea. Find the person facing the biggest challenge today, a challenge that feels as if they are in a burning building. Find that person and help them. This allows you to test your idea and earn money early, making it much easier to grow. We wish we had done that when we started.
- Innovation happens where differences meet, so assemble a diverse team with many different skills and opinions about the world. It's the best way to create something truly innovative and, at the same time, the best foundation for starting a business.
- The most important thing is to try. The best way to learn a lot is through an entrepreneurial journey, and it's essential to just get started and try. It took me four or five attempts before I came up with HumAId.