What do you currently do?
First and foremost, I am a passionate football fan. My natural love for the game, paired with my desire and motivation to build a successful company, allowed me to create [ilink url=”http://thefootballapp.com”]THE Football App[/ilink] in 2008. Five years down the line we are Europe’s most popular football fan and news application with 9 million downloads and over 4.5 million active users per month.
In April this year, we raised €10m Series A funding to continue expanding globally whilst improving our community and social features, as well as releasing complementing products – so watch this space!
What is your inspiration in the business?
My inspiration behind building THE Football App is fuelled by a simple dedication to provide football fans across the world with up-to-the-minute information on all things football, whenever they want it, 24 / 7.
Our users know that they’ll receive live scores and commentary for over 1,500 games per year, in-depth match analysis and up-to-date player statistics whilst we curate headlines, news, and video content from more than 60 content sources from around the world.
The loyalty of every single user, who check more than 250 pages and spend an average of two hours per months on THE Football App, inspires my team and I every day. These numbers indicate the unique relationship dedicated football fans have with their favourite sport and their addiction to football news around the clock.
Who do you admire?
I follow my local football team -FC Köln – with a passion and I have always looked up to my childhood heroes, Bodo Illgner and Piere Litbarski. These players – along with many more from Cologne – played a huge role in helping West Germany win the 1990 World Cup in Italy. That was an amazing feeling that I will never forget – let’s hope one day Cologne can produce players of a similar pedigree!
Looking back are there things you would have done differently?
There are always things that you will look back on and think, ‘I could have done this differently, or done that another way’, but it’s all about learning from the past and driving forward.
But I must admit that I am happy with what I have done both personally and from a business point-of-view. Every wrong decision, mistake or barrier I have faced has allowed me to arrive at where I am today. In the end it is all about learning and not giving up on what you believe in, even during the most testing of times. The past few years have made me stronger, that is what time and experience does.
What defines your way of doing business?
I love football, I am crazy about the beautiful game. I try to distill this passion into everyone that I work with. If you do not love the product or service that you are working with day in, day out, then you will not get the best results.
I pair this passion for the product with my passion for business. Before I started THE Football App, I worked alongside an entrepreneur at a machinery production company, which opened my eyes to the world of business and instilled hard working ethos within me.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
Focus, focus and focus some more. Never lose the faith in what you’re doing. If it does not quite work out the way you had planned the first time round, take note of what went wrong, dust yourself off and keep going.
The Series A funding round was a big step for the team and the company and has given us the opportunity to invest in creating the biggest football community in the digital space. But we have worked hard in the last years in taking the product to where it is today.
We were really tight on cash and there were moments where I genuinely feared that the company may not exist the following week. But you have to keep faith that what you are working so hard to build will succeed.