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Never play alone again - new app on the way

Two students at the University of Copenhagen are developing an app so you will never be in need of friends to play sports with

Watching Brazil get obliterated in the semi-finals during their own World Cup last year was disappointing to some, exciting for others, but shocking to most. For Andreas Thiele, a Computer Science student at the University of Copenhagen (UCPH), it was the final straw. Why sit around watching football when he could get outside and play himself?

Fortunately for Andreas he was to have no luck finding enough people to play with.

”I said to myself, I could actually go and play some football… I would love to do that instead of lying around watching Brazil lose 7-1, but I only managed to get 1-2 persons. Nowhere near enough for a reasonable game of football, and I thought there must be a way to do this, a smarter way,” recalls Andreas to the University Post.

Choose sport, set time and place

Andreas had identified a need which had sparked an idea that would introduce him to Anders Sommer-Larsen. Anders is a student of mathematics-economics at UCPH.

Speet is the name of the mobile app that Andreas and Anders have been developing for the past year, soon to be released for iOS and Android. It is designed to solve Andreas’ conundrum so that, hopefully, for the next World Cup no one will be unable to play football when they want, simply because they can’t find enough participants. With Speet, you simply chooses a sporting activity, set the location and time, and create an event for all other users to participate in. It truly is simplicity itself.

Anders and Andreas met each other last year in an entrepreneurship course where they were asked to come up with a project they would spend the next three months working on, in 20 minutes. Andreas happened to have Speet up his sleeve and Anders was on board right away. It was during this course the two Speet developers would pitch their app idea to a number of investors, and be promptly pushed into full pursuit, as a legitimate business.

Andreas Thiele (left) and Anders Sommer-Larsen

”The great thing about the course was having investors come visit. Once we finished pitching, one of them just [clapped his hands] and said, ‘Go!’ Everyone thought it was a brilliant idea. We knew it was fun, and now some other people think it can be huge too,” says Andreas.

Anders follows the thought through excitedly: ”Well, it was some kind of approval at least, right? This investor was basically like ‘guys, you should just quit school for the next half-year and work on this’, but instead of that we took it a bit more slow so we could stay in school.”

Exams and entrepreneurship

Like many others, abandoning studies to become overnight entrepreneurs was not much of an option for Anders and Andreas, who were determined to do both. They left the entrepreneur’s course determined to turn Speet into something serious and so they continued working on it in their spare time. Anders oversees iOS development while Andreas focuses on Android; two developers for two mobile platforms means they can manage all development issues themselves in order to keep costs down. Time however, is unforgiving, and summer breaks, no matter how busy, are not sufficient for a business.

Anders finds the student/entrepreneur experience at the University of Copenhagen highly manageable, as long as you aren’t afraid to forego all luxury. He doesn’t have a student job, and favors spending as much of his free time as possible on Speet. Ultimately, the most important factor in their dedication is the passion that allows them to keep going back.

”Finding time is about prioritizing and for us, at least for me, I really love the development process. It was really awesome sitting here in the summer, working on the computer all day, having a few breaks and chatting about random stuff. I really like the idea and really like sitting in front of my computer developing it,” explains Anders.

Innovation Hub

The UCPH Innovation Hub has been a huge asset to Speet. They were accepted to join in March after applying at the request of the director, Peter Ottesen, whom Andreas and Anders met in the very same entrepreneurship course in which they met each other. The Innovation Hub serves as a safe space for budding UCPH student/entrepreneurs by offering event and networking opportunities.

There is also access to a lawyer, accountant and a designer; “things which people normally wouldn’t have free access to”, says Andreas.

However, what may prove most important for Speet, is the carefully constructed environment vital to the growth of young startups at Innovation Hub.

As Anders puts it: ”you become more motivated by being around other people sharing your experiences; not being at home makes a big difference.”

universitypost@adm.ku.dk

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