Henrik Werdelin

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Henrik Werdelin
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BornNovember 28
Copenhagen, Denmark
EducationPolitical and Social Science
Alma mater
  • Aalborg University
  • University of Westminster
  • Entrepreneur
  • Author
Known forCo-Founder of BARK (makers of BarkBox) and Founder of Prehype
Notable work
The Acorn Method: How Companies Get Growing Again
  • Top 100 Most Creative by Fast Company
  • Silicon Alley Insider’s '100 People in Tech’
  • 50 Must-Know People in NYC’s Tech Scene by The Next Web

Henrik Werdelin (born November 28) is a Danish entrepreneur who co-founded the direct-to-consumer dog company BARK (originally BarkBox). He is also a founder of Prehype, a global venture research and development firm. Werdelin, along with two co-founders, started BARK in 2012 after noticing the lack of innovation and fun in the pet aisle.[1] Today, BARK is devoted to making dogs happy with the best products, services and content.[2][3][4][5]

Werdelin is a frequent speaker at leading business schools, where he delights in poking fun at MBA programs.[6] He is often quoted in the press on subjects such as corporate innovation, product design, entrepreneurship, and his dog’s favorite parks.[7] He was named in the Top 100 Most Creative by Fast Company, Silicon Alley Insider’s '100 People in Tech’, and 50 Must-Know People in NYC’s Tech Scene by The Next Web.[8][9][10][11]

In 2020, Werdelin released his debut book The Acorn Method: How Companies Get Growing Again about the revolution in how companies function and think about their resources.

Early life and education'

Henrik Werdelin was born in Copenhagen, Denmark. He studied Political and Social Science at Aalborg University, Denmark and received a Master's in Journalism from the University of Westminster in London. He moved to New York City in 2010 where he started to create and invest in start-ups.


The Acorn Method - How Companies Get Growing Again (2020)
Henrik Werdelin’s debut book demonstrates how companies can grow using the model of the oak tree, which has become the most successful life force on the planet by evolving a way to regenerate. Shaped through his experience as a founding partner of Prehype, an international organization that helps entrepreneurs and companies build new ventures, The Acorn Method is both a philosophical stance and a practical series of steps by which companies can propose, test, build out, and eventually integrate (or spin off) new businesses.[12]


Werdelin started as a radio producer at BBC and later became Vice President of Product Development and Strategy for MTV Networks where he spearheaded the development of many of MTV's award-winning products. Werdelin’s experience ranges from serving as CCO at Joot to Entrepreneur in Residence at Index Ventures to working with, advising, or investing in start-ups like HotPotato (acquired by Facebook), GoTryItOn (acquired by Rent the Runway), ReadMill (acquired by Dropbox) and Sunrise (acquired by Microsoft).


In the late 1990s, Werdelin was an associate producer at MTV when he and a vice president decided to create what would become one of the network’s first ventures into digitally integrated TV. Werdelin and Erik Kearley dreamt up the concept of a show that integrated animations, emails, pictures, and video clips on the screen. Werdelin developed a prototype of the show and snuck into the control room one night, circumvented the normal broadcasting processes, and aired the show without permission from upper management.

The live show aired successfully and went on to become Top Selection. MTV executives were impressed by Werdelin’s knack for content and his gusto and promoted him to Head of New Digital Media Development.[13]


In September 2010, Werdelin moved to New York City and founded Prehype, along with his childhood friend Philip Peterson and U.K.-based Stacey Seltzer. Prehype is a venture development firm that focuses on building products and companies through collaboration with corporations and venture capitalists. The company has spawned several successful venture-backed start-ups and pioneered corporate venture incubation.[14][15]

Prehype aims to help large companies create growth through innovation, based on the energy and creativity of entrepreneurship, without losing the organizational domain expertise and control. The business model is to provide long-term, shared-interest incentives for both clients, Prehype and Prehype’s partners. In addition to venture management services, the firm provides angel investments and access to a network of talent including entrepreneurs, engineers, designers, and developers.[16]

Ventures that Prehype has helped launch include Managed by Q, an office management platform company,[17] and AND CO, a platform to help freelancers and contractors run their businesses.[18]


In 2012, Werdelin, along with co-founders Matthew Meeker and Carly Strife, founded BARK with the now-flagship brand BarkBox, a monthly themed subscription of innovative toys designed by BARK’s in-house team of designers, two all-natural bags of treats, and a chew.[19][20]

Today, BARK is the world’s most dog-centric company,[21][22][23] devoted to making dogs happy with the best products, services and content. BARK’s dog-obsessed team applies its unique, data-driven understanding of what makes each dog special to design toys,[24] wildly satisfying treats and wellness supplements, and dog-first experiences that foster the health and happiness of dogs everywhere. BARK loyally serves dogs nationwide with monthly subscription services BarkBox and Super Chewer, a curated e-commerce experience on BarkShop.com, and custom collections via its retail partner network, including Target, Amazon, Costco, CVS, and more.[25][26][27]

Werdelin has ideated and overseen the execution of various business ventures for BARK including BARK Bright Dental (a daily dental kit),[28] BarkPost (a blog about dogs), BARK Bike,[29] BarkShop Live (where dogs do the shopping),[30] BarkPark (a clubhouse for dogs),[31][32] BarkBuddy (app),[33] a "Pup Up" adoption store in SoHo,[34] and beyond.

Personal Life

Werdelin lives in New York City with his wife, sons, and Labrador retriever Molly. When Werdelin was a child living in Denmark, his mother spent nearly all of her disposable income on a computer and was quite demanding that Werdelin learn to use it. This computer helped catapult Werdelin at a young age to love technology, creativity, and imagination and built a foundation for Werdelin to stay innovative.


  1. Dickey, Megan Rose. "New York's Next Big Startups". Business Insider.
  2. "29. Henrik Werdelin: How making your four-legged BFF happy has earned BarkBox millions from Your First Million". www.stitcher.com.
  3. Morgan, Blake. "How Personalization Made BarkBox A Must-Have Subscription Service". Forbes.
  4. Gritters, Jenni. "The subscription box industry is still booming — here are 4 ways the founders of Birchbox and BarkBox keep their businesses relevant". Business Insider.
  5. Drell, Lauren. "4 Ways the Pet Industry Has Gone Digital". Mashable.
  6. "The Wall Street Journal". content.dowjones.com.
  7. Wedell-Wedellsborg, Thomas (17 March 2020). "What's Your Problem?: To Solve Your Toughest Problems, Change the Problems You Solve". Harvard Business Press.
  8. Ohannessian, Kevin (19 May 2010). "The 10 Most Creative People on Twitter". Fast Company.
  9. Berger, Courtney Boyd Myers and Erica (25 September 2013). "50 People in NYC's Tech Scene that you Need to Know". The Next Web.
  10. Shontell, Alyson (26 October 2012). "THE SILICON ALLEY 100: The Coolest People In New York Tech This Year". Business Insider Australia.
  11. Mouritsen, Jacob (18 July 2019). "Bjarke Ingels og Henrik Werdelin smider penge i dansk tech-selskab: Vil digitalisere ejendomsbranchen". borsen.dk.
  12. Daisyme, Peter (8 May 2020). "8 Books to Help Plan Your Next Steps as a Leader". GreenwichTime.
  13. Miller, Paddy; Wedell-Wedellsborg, Thomas. "The Case for Stealth Innovation". Harvard Business Review.
  14. Myers, Courtney Boyd (21 May 2011). "Prehype helps corporations innovate like startups - TNW Entrepreneur". The Next Web.
  15. "Start-Up as a Service: The Prehype Model ^ IES526". HBR Store.
  16. Myers, Courtney Boyd (31 May 2011). "Basno brings trophies and brand loyalty to the social web". The Next Web.
  17. Shontell, Alyson. "Q Raises $775,000 From Big-Time Angel Investors To Become A Godsend For Office Managers Everywhere". Business Insider.
  18. "AND CO raises $2 million led by Thrive to manage freelancers' most dreaded tasks". TechCrunch.
  19. Le, Vanna (5 December 2017). "This Company Is Going to IPO, Thanks to the $150 Million Buying Power of Dog-Obsessed Parents". Inc.com.
  20. Conner, Adam (19 May 2020). "Where My Dogs At: BARK Founder Henrik Werdelin". Authentic Influence.
  21. McBreen, Katie (May 14, 2018). "Crazy dog people: How passion drives BARK". NRF.
  22. "This May Be the World's Best Place to Take Your Dog to Work". Inc.com. 23 March 2016.
  23. Conklin, Emily (17 November 2017). "Tour the Offices of the Makers of BarkBox, Where Humans Work and Dogs Play". Entrepreneur.
  24. Rose, Laynie (23 August 2018). "5 clever ways a New York startup turned our doggie devotion into more than $200 million a year". Fast Company.
  25. Salpini, Cara (April 3, 2018). "The bite in BarkBox's retail gameplan". Retail Dive.
  26. Brown, Abram. "Can A Box Of Dog Treats Become A Billion-Dollar Business?". Forbes.
  27. Geron, Tomio (17 May 2016). "Bark & Co. Raises $60M, Sets Sights on Global Brand For Dogs". Wall Street Journal.
  28. "Exclusive: The Makers of BarkBox Are Moving Into an Often Overlooked Space in Pet Wellness". Fortune.
  29. Bender, Kelli (July 23, 2019). "Since Dogs Make Everything Better, There Is Now a Bike Designed to Take Your Dog Anywhere". PEOPLE.com.
  30. Dua, Tanya (6 June 2016). "Inside BarkShop Live, a pop-up shop for your pet pooch to peruse". Digiday.
  31. King, Rachel (August 16, 2018). "BarkBox Is Thinking Outside the Box With an Outdoor 'Clubhouse' for Dogs". Fortune.
  32. Nash, Alison (September 11, 2018). "New Park in East Nashville is Going to the Dogs". www.bizjournals.com.
  33. Stampler, Laura (May 30, 2014). "There's Now A Tinder for Dogs Because Of Course". Time.
  34. Dickey, Megan Rose. "Startup BarkBox Hosted A Puppy Adoption Event To Save The Lives Of Innocent Animals". Business Insider.

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