ITU-entrepreneur wins award for Open Data solution

Brand-new startup FILLR won the Danish Business Authority's first Open Data Challenge. The two founders will invest the prize money of DKK 100,000 in developing their company. But first one them has to hand in his thesis at ITU.

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Few things are as tiresome as filling out online forms. So Henrik Haugbølle and Kasper Christjansen came up with an idea: why not take advantage of the open data made available by the Danish government to improve user experience on websites?

This was the founding thought behind FILLR, a platform that autofill addresses, phone numbers, gender and other information on online forms using data from public Danish registries. In addition, it safeguards suppliers against fraud by validating the information in the official records.

The two young entrepreneurs have just won the Danish Business Authority's Open Data Challenge to exploit the potential of open government data. The honour came with a cash prize of 100,000 Danish kroner.

"The award is a great financial boost that can help us to get started. But the biggest value for us is the network, contacts and opportunities that have come out of the competition. It definitely inspires us to keep working hard," says Henrik Haugbølle.

Prepared for entrepreneurship

Although he is only just about turn in his master’s thesis, Henrik is already a seasoned member of the Copenhagen startup scene. After five years at ITU, he feels prepared for life as an entrepreneur.

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...having taken a few ‘soft’ subjects like rhetoric and project work has also helped. You get an understanding of the business world and its terminology, so it has been quite painless for me to navigate in that world

Henrik Haugbølle, co-founder of FILLR
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"During my studies, I have been an active part of ITU Innovators, a student organisation that helped me to discover the network and opportunities of the Copenhagen startup community. Besides that, ITU is more business-oriented than most other computer science programmes. We visit companies and meet people from the industry. That has opened my eyes to the opportunities that await after finishing school."

"And I hate to admit it," he says with a smile, "but having taken a few ‘soft’ subjects like rhetoric and project work has also helped. You get an understanding of the business world and its terminology, so it has been quite painless for me to navigate in that world. I used some of those tools when we created a business plan for FILLR."

International ambitions

After Henrik hands in his thesis in early January, the first will be to complete the FILLR prototype. Several clients are already interested in the product.

"Early next year we are going to implement our solution for several major Danish companies, all of which have forms with a lot of information customers have to fill out.  We can help customers through the forms more quickly. At the same time, we will be able to give the companies a little extra information about their customers based on the data entered, "explains Henrik.

He and co-founder Kasper have high ambitions for their company.

"Our next goal is to start expanding, so companies working internationally can integrate our solution instead of having to integrate even more data sources. But Denmark has been a great place to start because we have so much data. "