Helping entrepreneurs to succeed – and to be happy

Danish entrepreneur Lasser Chor aims to empower startups and help companies think innovatively with his project “Happiest Man Alive”

By Yan Shi

Danish entrepreneur Lasser Chor has many reasons to smile. Photo: Meng Wu

Danish entrepreneur Lasser Chor has many reasons to smile. Photo: Meng Wu

If you search the unlikely expression “happiest man alive” on LinkedIn, you may find a person with numerous achievements and endorsements and lots of work experience. But what really draws one’s attention is the long list of companies created or co-created by this “happy man”.

“He” is Lasse Chor, a Danish entrepreneur from Aarhus and founder of Happiest Man Alive, a project aimed at empowering startups and helping companies think more innovatively. Since its foundation, in August 2012, the company has facilitated the creation of over 60 startups around the world and helped 5000 people with their business.

Lasse’s enthusiasm about entrepreneurship and innovation and the passion about meeting and helping “amazing people”, as he describes, led to the decision to create the company a few years ago. The inspiration to name his company came from a song of an Aarhus band from the 1990’s, who sang: “If no one else wants to be, then let me be the happiest man alive”.

The song in a large degree also sings out what the founder firmly believes: “I don’t want to do things I’m not happy with. My rule, as well as the company’s rule is to be 100% sure we’re doing something we feel passion about.” Lasse says some costumers find the unusual name bold, others think it sounds not serious. “But people also think it’s very refreshing.”

But before becoming an entrepreneur who helps entrepreneurs, he searched happiness in different areas. Aged 21, he turned his child’s dream into reality working for seven months at Lego, the Danish toy company. “When I was four years old and got a train Lego set as my Christmas gift, I made a wish to work there when I grew up”, he recalls. He did not stay in the company as he wanted to pursue entrepreneurship later on, but the experience definitely benefited the creative work he has been doing ever since.

After graduating in Information Studies at Aarhus University, Lasse worked at Danish Ministry Foreign Affairs, helping bring Danish startups to the Silicon Valley, the world’s biggest tech hub. He appreciated very much what the job brought to him, but after only one year, he left. “I was not happy when working in the Ministry. It’s just not me.”

So even facing a fancy job title and a bright future as other people see, he freed himself and came back to Aarhus, fully dedicating to his own business. In 2012, he has become the mayor of Startup City – an incubator based in Aarhus which focuses on attracting investment for entrepreneurs. As the founder and global facilitator of Startup Weekend Denmark, he facilitated and brought events for entrepreneurs from Denmark to Germany, and to the United States.

The work Lasse is doing now might not be totally different from what he was doing back when he was in Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. But telling by the excitement and vigor that lit up his face when he recalls some of his entrepreneurial stories, now he’s happy for sure.

Nevertheless, being happy about work and life doesn’t mean being happy at every second. Ups and downs are quite common when it comes to doing business. Among all the companies Lasse created or helped to create, a lot are doing well, but there were unpleasant experiences as well. There was a company he devoted plenty of his time and hard work to, but the result was not that positive. But he didn’t show any sign of regret or frown when talking about failing. “Being an entrepreneur, you need to be willing to risk stuff and push yourself forward. It’s like the lottery; you are never going to win if you don’t buy a ticket.” Experimental entrepreneurship is what Lasse believes in. “You don’t sit down and read a book [to learn what to do]. You just try things out. If you are passionate about what you do, you will figure it out.”

Yan Shi is a journalist from China, and contributor for Jutland Station.