Læs her historien om LevelUP – vinderen af Venture Cup 2014, i kategorien Mobile & Web. Trendsonline har interviewet Miklós Emődy, som står bag LevelUP – en it-platform til at holde styr på fodboldspilleres sportslige udvikling.
Det hele ligger i en app, som samler statistik om spillernes præstationer, og hjælper dem til at blive bedre. Miklós Emődy, der oprindeligt er fra Ungarn, har selv spillet fodbold fra barnsben, og derfor var det vigtigt for ham at finde ligesindede, da han kom til Danmark for at studere.
Målgruppen for ham og iværksætterkollegerne Ivan Dimitrov fra Bulgarien og Tomáš Bukoven fra Slovakiet er i første omgang amatører og halvprofessionelle hold. Men de henter inspiration fra eliteklubbernes brug af teknologi ud fra sloganet “Bringing Pro to every level”. Se Miklós præsentation fra selve dagen på Venture Cup her.
Hvordan startede det?
”I wish I could tell the classical story (“and then it hit me”), but the truth is, realizing that this idea has so much potential was the result of incremental revelations. My original project was something I called SportUP, a social site to match people in the same area, with the same interest in sports.”
Forklarer Miklós, der som international studerende ved Aalborg Universitet af egen erfaring ved, at det er hårdt arbejde at skabe et personligt netværk i et fremmed land. Især når det kommer til yndlingssportsgrenen.
“SportUP consisted of three phases: Find a place, TeamUP, LevelUP, where the last phase meant that players would have the possibility to rank each other after a game, keep the record of the games they played and number of goals (or points, whatever) they scored, then share the results with friends, compete, etc…”
Miklós havde derfor et reelt problem, han ønskede at løse! Og hans iterative process var allerede i gang.
“After a while I realized that LevelUP itself has much more potential than the whole idea and I shifted my focus from hobby players to sports clubs, football specifically. Now you see, the problem is the same: you don’t want your performance to just disappear as you finish the game, it would be nice to keep track of your performance and see if you improve over time. I realized that the value proposition of the idea is much higher for football clubs, because sport is their job, not a hobby.”
Miklós har en bachelor i International Business og interesserer sig for statistik og økonometri. Og pludselig havde han muligheden for at skabe et koncept, der forenede begge verdener.
”Football and statistics are quite different fields, but this is what makes it so special, because it allows me to view an area from a very different perspective. I actually think a lot of the great ideas emerge from the connection of very different areas.”
På den måde er LevelUps forretningskoncept en unik kombination – men hvordan har Miklós udviklet sit startup?
”On top of this, I’ve been involved in entrepreneurship and startups for the last two years. I began to attend events in Budapest plus I did a big amount of reading and research, so by the time I got to develop this idea I already knew how to start. Thanks to my studies and my interest in this field I’d say I know much more about startups than it’s required for the stage of our project. That’s very helpful when it comes to planning and avoiding the mistakes that almost every entrepreneur commit on the beginning.”
Startup Weekend blev deres redning
”The “excuse” I needed to start to really work on this project was a Startup Weekend in November. SW is a quite crazy event: on Friday you have 60 seconds to pitch your idea among 30-40 other guys and then you need to convince the others to join your project, or decide to join someone else’s team. Then, you work your butt off over the weekend and present in front of a jury on Sunday. You can imagine how difficult it was to attract people (and especially developers) with an idea that combines football and statistics and it targets only football clubs. I barely made to the second round and then literally the last moment three developers approached me and decided to join. That night I went home on my bike at 1AM and I remember, I was really astonished because I knew then that we’ll make it: LevelUP have just overcome the hardest first barrier. Next morning we had to meet at 9AM and I haven’t slept a minute… On Sunday we were selected as the second best project and ironically we won the People’s Choice Award too :)”
Hvordan var det at vinde Venture Cup?
”Looking back to this whole process in retrospective, it’s just amazing to see how much happened in just few months. I mean, I just arrived last September as a new international student and now we won a nation-wide startup competition among 1000 other university students and 350 teams. In a different country, in a different language… it’s crazy.”
For dem, der ikke kender Venture Cup, er det en NGO, der årligt afholder to iværksætter konkurrencer for studerende: en idé konkurrence og en startup konkurrence. Venture Cup Idea Competition er, hvor studerende og forskere på landets otte universiteter har mulighed for at styrke deres idé og udvikle den til en investeringsklar forretningsplan.
Planerne for LevelUP er nu at komme videre. Og for at kunne gøre det, mangler de endnu en app-udvikler. At samarbejde med AaB og DBU er også next step. Ud over det, er LevelUP udvalgt til at indgå i The National Startup Mentor Program.
”The benefits of winning the Idea Competition go way beyond the money prize. It gives us reputation and credibility which – I believe – will open many doors for us.”
Trendsonline ønsker alt mulig held og lykke – og bringer en sidste kommentar fra Miklós i håbet om at LevelUP teamet ekspanderer:
”We need creativity, (app developer) skills and contacts to move LevelUP forward, if you think you have some of these in you, send us an email, we’ll talk” firstname.lastname@example.org