The Danish Growth Fund's investment in robotic arm maker Universal Robots showcases how venture capital can take a start-up with a strong research-based idea and build it into a successful and fast-growing commercial enterprise. When the fund first invested in the company in 2008, Universal Robots’ staff consisted of just the two founders and one employee and the business had no sales revenue.
Today, thanks to The Danish Growth Fund’s support, the company is a recognised market leader in the field of flexible, easy-to-use, robotic arms for big business and small machine shops alike. It was acquired by US trade buyer Teradyne in 2015 for €230m, at which point the company employed 150 people and boasted revenues of €56m.
Together with The Danish Growth Fund we have transformed our business and established ourselves internationally.
Enrico Krog Iversen CEO, Universal Robots
What did the business need?
- Capital for product development, sales and marketing
- General strategic business guidance
- Support to identify and tackle new markets
- Help to build a commercial management team
How did private equity backing create lasting value?
- Recruited a commercially-minded CEO
- Helped identify and implement clear business strategy
- Established a top-quality professional board of directors
- Established own subsidiaries in the US and China
What outcomes did private equity investment achieve?
- Built a revenue-generating company from what was primarily an R&D project
- Took 12-month sales to over €56m from zero at acquisition
- Achieved sales in all major markets
- Brought company to profitability
- Increased employee numbers to 150 from just three
- Created a recognised leader in flexible, easy-to-use robotic arms