ITU startups: Tonsser

Tonsser is an ambitious football related community - a lifelike version of the classic Football Manager game so to speak - and the plan is to take over the world.

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Tonsser was launched by three persistent entrepreneurs with a dream: To create a social football platform that unites the 300 million people around the world that play 'the beautiful game'. The plan is that everyone will register data from every football match played around the globe – from the biggest, most prestigious leagues to the lowest ranking (but equally important) ones.

This will result in a lifelike, global version of the classic Football Manager game with all its frills and thrills and pass statistics, top scoring lists, and save percentages on all players, teams, and leagues. It also means that no result or statistic will ever be lost. Never again will someone mourn the fact that it was never registered that they were a very surprising top scorer from a sweeper position in the early stages of their career.

What prompted you to start your own business?

"It has probably always been in the cards for us and the joy of creating that seems the biggest catalyst. It is joy of creating on many levels. It can be developing a product, building a strong and passionate team, or building a community around the product. At the same time we are a couple of passionate football nerds both on and off the pitch and Tonsser seems a clear case. We want to take away the idolisation of Messi and Christiano Ronaldo and give the millions of people that play football the experience of being a pro, which can probably make playing football even more fun."

What is the biggest challenge you have faced as entrepreneurs?
"As an entrepreneur you face many challenges and the sum of challenges can often seem unmanageable. On the other hand, this is also what speaks to us – working in an environment with extreme unpredictability and autonomy. As an entrepreneur you’ll most likely have more bummers – which at Tonsser we call “sad Sundays” – than most of your friends, but in return you get to have moments of absolute perfection. Where everything fits on a higher level. But from an isolated point of view our biggest challenge with starting an IT company has been our own inability to develop, at least in the earliest stage of Tonsser. Good developers don’t hang on trees."

How has your time at ITU prepared you for the task?

"On our first day as ITU students we were told to think in solutions, not problems. The goal is not to pinpoint all problems in the world, but instead actively seek solutions to these problems by utilising IT. At the same time we’re left with an understanding of ITU as a place that not only recognises theoretical learning but also 
practical learning. Something that is extremely important within entrepreneurship where practical skills are at least as important as theoretical."

What is ITU's greatest strength in relation to entrepreneurship - the students, the teachers or the environment?
"ITU’s force is definitely the framework. If you actively choose to use the framework then you’ll have access to knowledge, fellow students, and teachers of really high quality. The ITU is very free in the sense that you can use assignments and projects as a springboard for your startup. From our perspective learning is eventually about motivation. To be motivated you have to work with something you’re passionate about. We’ve enjoyed this at ITU and several of our teachers and supervisors have motivated us to use Tonsser as the focal point for reports, projects and teaching."

What is ITU good at?
"You most definitely have the coolest group room in Denmark."

How can ITU become better at supporting entrepreneurs?

"We’ve had a great deal of theoretically based classes about structure and control of digital development projects. Classes that could advantageously have been more practically based as well. We sometimes missed the combination of projects and competences where students from E-business would work with students from Software Development and Digital Design and Communication."

What is your best advice for those who are considering starting their own business?
"Start Now! Especially while you’re a student. As a student you have almost the perfect opportunity to get started as long as you have a laptop and an Internet connection. Use your time in school as a stepping stone towards working with what you’re passionate about. When you have two kids, a house, and a car it’s an entirely different situation. Besides that, the experience you get trying out as an entrepreneur is far more rewarding than a student job, both in terms of competences and on a personal level. You are given great responsibility, you will stand on your own two feet, and you’ll build a solid network."

Where do you see Tonsser in five, 10 or 20 years?
"In five years Tonsser will have spread to large parts of the world and will have radically revolutionised the football industry so that even more people will feel motivated to play 'the beautiful game'."

Who is the world’s best football player, -coach and –team? And who at Tonsser is the best football player?
"We each favor different teams, players, and coaches which makes the question impossible to answer. It’s fairly easy, though, to reveal who the best player is as Jeppe Curth, who is part of the Tonsser team, is a professional footballer."