Governments increasingly use novel forms of public procurement to stimulate innovation in public service delivery. A notable example is pre-commercial procurement. Launched by the European Commission a decade ago, pre-commercial procurement encourages research and development of new solutions for the public sector. However, limited theoretical and empirical studies have made it difficult to assess and improve use of the model to foster public innovation. Based on two pre-commercial procurement projects in Denmark, the article aims to complete the first systematic and theory-based evaluation of national experiences. The evaluation shows that sufficient resources, participant and management commitment, and focused management of the collaborative process contributed to successful development and testing of a new solution in one of the projects. Meanwhile, technical obstacles in developing a prototype resulted in termination of the other project. In this case, the pre-commercial procurement model cannot accommodate significant changes to the agreed solution during the innovation process.