The founders of Sarita CareTech started working on the project at the university, and later moved into a free office space – a small room in a building filled by creative companies called Studentervæksthuset Aarhus, offered to the young entrepreneurs by Aarhus University. The project was ambitious – we will make the best fall detection device for elderly on the market. How hard can it be?
Turns out, the users wanted more than just the best fall detection. They also wanted a call function, a GPS, and hey – how about an online platform for the maintenance of the technology? The project grew into a company, the team grew to seven people, and we moved into a larger building that used to be a gas station shop. The building was refurbished to fit private rooms for four people, and a working space for a dozen.
Taking the advice from our mentors from Danish Tech Challenge, we “bootstrapped” as hard we could. What does that mean? We pushed ourselves through the early stages of development, like the main character of The Surprising Adventures of Baron Munchausen, pulled himself out of mud: by sheer will and positive attitude!
For the R&D, we carefully ordered components, recycled every part, and built our own 3D printers. We took regular trips to the furniture reuse station to revamp our office for the growing number of colleagues. We were careful not just with spending money, but with receiving money too. In 2016, we received an investment offer from Jesper Buch, but declined it in favour of bootstrapping.
It all made sense. This summer, we are moving out of the gas station building. We graduated to receive the growth loan from Vaekstfonden, and partnered with a group of investors that have a perfect combination of experience and network to help scale Sarita CareTech on an international market. We received a praise from our accountants at DelLoitte for being a startup that went the furthest in the development with the least amount of funding.
To translate that into the real value, we were able to protect about a quarter of our equity from dilution! But more than that, we built a tight community of people that had fun working together, packed at an old gas station, which will be a time we will remember for the years to come!