HydroPen: An innovative friendship

In the summer of 2006, two young men started studying in Aalborg, Denmark. One was from the island of Læsø, and the other was from the fishing village Asaa. Jesper and Martin became close friends, and they were determined to build something together.

But their paths split quickly after graduation. Jesper became a marine engineer, while Martin was more interested in numbers and studied financial management. Jesper worked for a number of maritime shipping companies, and Martin got a job in Copenhagen. But the two made sure to keep in touch. 

“At one point, Jesper came up with a good idea for a device that could extinguish fires in containers on ships. I saw a video about it and thought it looked interesting. We both had dreams of becoming entrepreneurs. Jesper built a prototype in his garage, but he didn’t have much knowledge about the other aspects of running a business. We quit our jobs in the summer of 2017,” says Martin Winkel.

From product to market

A year and a half later, the two friends own and operate HydroPen ApS, with a legally registered office on Jesper’s home island, Læsø, and manufacturing, testing, quality management, and warehouse facilities in Aarhus.

The components that go into the making of the HydroPen are manufactured by subcontractors and then assembled and packaged by Jesper Rosenfeldt Hansen, and an employee. Martin takes care of everything else, including the close contact with VIKING.

“We were contacted by VIKING in the autumn of 2017, but at the time we weren’t ready for a distributor, and we didn’t know how we were going to market the HydroPen. Once we established the strategic direction, we got back in touch with them.”

In the first half of 2018, the company signed a global commercial agreement with VIKING, followed by the launch of equipment testing and customer demonstrations. Manufacturing began in the summer of 2019, and by late November 60 HydroPen systems had been manufactured, with 100 more in the order books for the coming months.

Double award winners

In 2017, Rosenby Engineering (now HydroPen). won the “Danish Tech Challenge” awarded by the DTU Science Park (Danish Technical University) with funding from the Danish Industry Foundation.

The first-place prize was presented by none other than Denmark’s Crown Prince Frederik.

In 2019, the company won the Safety at Sea award for best safety product in the firefighting category.

Partners in safety

“VIKING has provided amazing help creating a platform for going to market, and their sales reps and organizations have been there to assist us. It lends a lot of credibility when you have a strong and trusted brand backing you. With VIKING, we have a unique supplier-seller relationship built on open and honest dialogue,”

The two entrepreneurs feel that they made their breakthrough in the second half of 2019, and in 2020 they plan to establish a position in the global market and a physical presence by installing their product on customer's vessels. They know that the market might become saturated at some point. Before that happens, they plan to introduce more new products relating to service and firefighting training on board container ships.

Browse related articles