“If it was about the money, you were not here”

Go Grow is about scaling your business. Make it international. Aim to be the “next” Facebook, Google, or Twitter with valuations of more than 500 billion dollars. Yet we were sitting 15 entrepreneurs in a Go Grow workshop and was told by Nikolaj Højer (entrepreneur, author, business angel, and external lecturer at CBS), that we would not sit there if it was about the money. If starting up a business is not about the money, then what?

The Ticketbutler venture started out like a lot of other startups: with beer. My brother and I were drinking beer on a hot summer night in Australia. We were both working professionally with online ticketing and were sitting there complaining. Complaining about ticketing systems at the time; how complex and expensive they were. After a couple of rounds of beer, our blood alcohol level was high enough to decide to do something about it. The idea of our first startup BilletFix was born: a stupidly simple and free ticketing platform for students.

Long story short; after a ton of work, heaps of energy drinks, and a couple of minor pivots we launched and got some good traction. Besides traction from students, we got traction from companies who were tired of handing over a lot of valuable branding and data to the huge ticketing companies like Billetto and Eventbrite. We couldn’t resist the temptation of a new venture which could expand our product portfolio to a B2B market segment. Ticketbutler was born: providing professional event organizers and companies with a ticketing platform catering to their professional needs.

It’s been a long journey until today and we’ve literally put thousands of hours into the startups. Thousands of unpaid hours. I could have made a fortune if I did regularly work instead. My brother and I are gambling with our relationship by being business partners. And then add that 90% of startups fail so the “I’m investing my time to be paid more later” argument doesn’t really hold up. So, what has kept me going?

There’s not one single answer to that question. It’s a great mix of different drivers, and I would bore you by listing all of them. Learning new stuff drives me. I’m an engineer from DTU and by running the startups I’m considering it as taking my second education. I’m the “CEO” (the guy who takes care of all the leftovers of what the others don’t do, because you’re so few on the team) so I decided to learn a lot of stuff by doing; marketing, accounting, HR managing, sales, design, and the list goes on. The responsibility drives me. There have been millions of DKK in organizer revenue through the startups, which really could screw things up if we were doing a lazy job. Helping people drives me. Receiving emails from customers who loved the product and have saved so much time and frustrations. Last but not least, our team drives me. I feel lucky for our small and talented team, what we have accomplished so far and what we are about to do.

Try one day to come by the CSE lab and feel the energy of my fellow colleagues. The best kind of colleagues. Entrepreneurs with passion. My mother visited us in the office one day, and she could tell what was hanging in the air after a short visit: optimism, engagement, passion.

There are so many reasons for me running the startups, and money is definitely not the main driver. But with the passion, I believe that money will follow.

“If it was about the money, you were not here”
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