We recently had the chance to interview Mette Lykke, the Co-Founder of the successful Danish startup Endomondo.
Endomondo’s apps help you to keep track of your sports activities and follow or even challenge your friends live while you are working out. The Copenhagen based startup was founded at the end of 2007 by Jakob Jønck, Mette Lykke and Christian Birk. Today, Endomondo has over 8.5 million users with exponential growth. Last month, the promising Danish startup announced the launch of a new Facebook timeline app. Enjoy the interview:
EU-Startups.com: When have you or your co-founders had the idea for Endomondo and what made you sure it was the right one?
Mette Lykke: In the summer of 2007, Endomondo’s co-founders were simply fitness fanatics talking about ways to make workouts more fun with technology. It took a few months, but we agreed smartphones would be key devices in the future. Around 5 percent of mobile phones had GPS back then, but we were amazed by the possibility of using the mobile phone as a personal trainer enhanced by GPS technology. Confident that GPS would become mainstream, we also recognized that cell phone owners already wanted to use their devices for activities beyond just placing calls — such as taking pictures, checking emails, setting alarms, etc. …. We also realized an individual’s mobile device wouldn’t cater to “team” sports, so our service must support social interaction within individual sports while allowing for flexibility.
EU-Startups.com: What were the main stumbling blocks for Endomondo as a startup (especially during the first year) and what would you have done differently from today’s perspective?
Mette Lykke: Conceptually, we knew our model was viable and there was a great pool of skilled developers in the region from which to draw. The main stumbling block, as with any startup, was raising capital. In hindsight, the advice we’d give to launching a company would be to store up cash reserves to no end.
EU-Startups.com: Today, Endomondo has over 8.5 million users with exponential growth. What makes Endomondo unique or better as other sports activity tracking apps out there?
Mette Lykke: Now at 8.5 million users worldwide, what sets Endomondo apart is the primary focus on the social interaction that drives fitness, and attention to user feedback. Endomondo thrives on the belief that positive peer influence is what motivates the majority of people to become and stay active. Another differentiating factor is that Endomondo serves more than 20 distance-based physical activities – more than any other fitness tracking app — and serves almost every GPS-enabled device.
EU-Startups.com: You’ve raised a total of $3.1 million in venture capital (a Seed and Series A investment) from SEED Capital. Are you planning to close a Series B round soon?
Mette Lykke: Endomondo continues to service the desires of a growing international mobile audience. As such, it’s not out of the question that Endomondo will close another funding round at some point to support technological development that surpasses user expectations and entices others to adopt Endomondo.
EU-Startups.com: The Endomondo app is already available in over 7 languages. Are there any plans to add even more languages soon and which ones are these most likely to be?
Mette Lykke: Today, Endomondo’s Android app services nearly 20 different languages. Any additional language options will be considered case-by-case.
EU-Startups.com: Last month, you’ve announced the launch of a new Facebook timeline app. The integration with Facebook enables Endomondo’s members to share their trials, tribulations and triumphs with their friends, family and coworkers. What is your impression about its market acceptance so far and does it have an impact on Endomondo’s user growth?
Mette Lykke: The Facebook Timeline app has been very well received by our users. In addition to each workout, the app offers a nice summary of workouts and users love that. Since launching the Timeline app, our referrals from Facebook have increased by 75 percent compared to the period before the launch.
EU-Startups.com: Aside of the app based business, Endomondo is selling sports apparel and accessories onstore.endomondo.com. Could you provide us with a hint about which percentage of Endomondo’s revenue comes from the app versus the store?
Mette Lykke: Sorry, we cannot share that information.
EU-Startups.com: How many people are working for Endomondo at the moment and how do you support the corporate culture?
Mette Lykke: We have 45 people in total working within Endomondo and have a very engaged team of fitness enthusiasts. It’s important for us that our people are passionate about what we do and we do our best to hold on to the startup spirit even though we have been growing fast for the past year.
EU-Startups.com: How is your experience with Copenhagen as a location to start a company?
Mette Lykke: We found it was easier to attract technical talent in Copenhagen than it is in San Francisco. On the downside, there is not much venture capital in Copenhagen and you need to be well beyond proof of concept to get VC money. Our solution was different business angels in the early years.