CanopyLAB was founded in August 2015 by Sahra-Josephine Hjorth, CEO and PhD Fellow at Aalborg University, and Christian Skræm Juul Jensen, CxO and designer.
The original concept was to create an online learning platform for youths to learn about and discuss some of the biggest challenges in the world in human rights, sustainability, and migration.
The idea for an online platform was based on Sahra-Josephine’s PhD, focusing on virtual learning environments and empowerment, and her own experiences with teaching online. She quickly became interested in how social media can be used to create engaging learning experiences and empower youth through a strong online community. Realizing that no such thing existed, she decided to create a social media-based online learning community herself.
Although having toyed with the idea for some time, the clear vision came to her quite sudden, while sitting in her apartment on the 24th floor looking out over Melbourne as part of a research stay in Australia.
An just like the vision, the platform came into being quite fast. Within a week, Christian had designed the first version of the CanopyLAB platform by hacking a Wordpress template and doing some magic.
They began to test and improve the platform and partner up with NGOs to host courses for learners from around the world such as “Migration: Contemporary Debates” with the Danish Immigration Museum and “ROMA: A Discussion of Diversity and the Treatment of Minorities” with Humanity in Action.
The number of learners was growing quickly and so was the impact. Learners were motivated to go out and make a difference in their communities, which led to some quite remarkable stories. Berat who took a course on entrepreneurship went on to develop a robotic bracelet that helps locate people who are buried alive during an earthquake in his local community in Turkey. Berat also teamed up with Tarik, another learner from Turkey, to transform an old building into a youth center for sustainability projects. Muck like Berat and Tarik, learners from all around the world were debating, challenging, collaborating with each other, all the while building lasting friendships.
Meanwhile, Sahra-Josephine and Christian's platform was starting to attract attention from investors and some of the leading corporations in Denmark who challenge them to replicate their success with young learners in the corporate training space. Following the interest and a large investment, CanopyLAB began to develop the first version of their adaptive learning software for corporate clients, which was released in the summer of 2017.
As the idea grew bigger, so did the team. We now have a team of 11, plus 10 investors and 5 advisors.
Today, CanopyLAB offers a corporate white-label solution, while also run our own open learning platform, The LAB, where we continue to offer courses for free. In fact, we have made it our mission to become the leading online learning space for human rights and sexual education.
While we have already accomplished a lot, our journey has just begun. We are excited to continue our mission to Unlocking the potential of every learner by enabling adaptive and personalized learning experiences online.
Sahra-Josephine Hjorth is co-founder and CEO at CanopyLAB. She is also a PhD Fellow at Aalborg University, where her research focuses on social media and learning. It was during the first year of writing her thesis and teaching at university that she got the idea to create an online learning platform, which has since developed into a company that specializes in adaptive learning software.
Before starting her PhD, Sahra-Josephine worked as a management consultant at Rambøll Management where she researched inmates’ detachment from everyday technology in England, investigated shale gas project in Northern Jutland, and analysed the morals of male clients who consume prostitution. Before that, she worked in public diplomacy at The Royal Danish Consulate in St. Petersburg.
While it wasn’t always in the cards that she would become an entrepreneur, Sahra-Josephine felt strongly that there was a societal challenge she had to address: to create an inclusive online learning environment that would empower people to learn and unlock their unique potential.
Although there is still a long way to go Sahra-Josephine is one large step closer to accomplishing her mission as she has grown her idea and call to action into a company of 11, working at developing eLearning software for large clients in the Nordics and enabling more and more people to learn effectively through adaptive learning.
Christian Skræm Juul Jensen is co-founder and CxO at CanopyLAB. He is an experienced UX and graphic designer and front-end developer. Christian specializes in developing intuitive and user friendly designs and solutions that optimize the user experiences.
Before starting CanopyLAB with fellow co-founder Sahra-Josephine Hjorth, Christian worked as a freelance designer at C/S/J/J for six years, creating designs for public and private companies, such as Pixelz Inc, Aalborg University, Danhostel and The Foreign Ministry.
When asked Sahra-Josephine if he could create an online platform, Christian hacked a Wordpress template to create the first version of the CanopyLAB platform. The platform that was used over the next year to test and improve the original idea.
Ever since, Christian has led the development of CanopyLAB’s adaptive learning software, which was released in the summer of 2017.
We hired an Educational Outreach Officer .
We hired a Sales and Partnership Consultant.
We hired Huyen Trang Tran, who is our new eLearning Designer.
We are selected to participate in the Citypreneurs competition in Seoul.
Sahra-Josephine attends SLaTE in Stockholm.
We move into our new office at Filmbyen in Hvidovre.
We partner up with Goodwings to support the UN global goals.
Our corporate white-label solution is released.
We enter into a collaboration with Telia Company, Google, Samsung, Accenture, and DigiExam to create shared value innovation.
We enter into our first public tender process with a large corporate client - and win.
CEO Sahra-Josephine attends SIME in Stockholm.
We move into our new office at Vartov.
We hire our first new employee, Kim Lindgaard Jørgensen.
Development of our corporate white-label solution begins.
Pre-seed round with business angels is raised.
Our corporate white-label solution is conceptualized.
CanopyLAB is registered as an A/S.
CanopyLAB.com 1.2 released.
We are selected to participate in Thinkubator.
Development of new functionalities for “Platform 2.0” kicks off.
“Testing & Feedback Phase I” starts. First user and customer survey is conducted.
We attend Accelerate, Banque du Liban in Lebanon, where Sahra-Josephine pitches to more than 4000 people.
CanopyLAB attend Go→Grow at Copenhagen School of Entrepreneurship.
Customers are recruited for closed beta test.
CanopyLAB IVS is incorporated.
We are selected as finalists in Venture Cup.