‘It feels like I am making a difference’

In our ongoing weekly feature series on Denmark’s entrepreneurs, we speak with Tine Thygesen, the co-founder of Everplaces, a mobile technology company specialized in location-based applications.

'It feels like I am making a difference'
Tine Thygesen. Photo: Submitted
Tine Thygsen is the co-founder and former CEO of Everplaces, a user-generated travel app that lists the locations’ best places to sleep, eat and play. Started in 2011, it is currently used in 135 countries.
How did you come up with this business idea?
We came up with the idea for Everplaces because we, ourselves, were in need of a product that enabled us to get tips for restaurants and travel and organize them in a way so that we could find them again. At the same time, we were fascinated by growth of mobile phones, so it was the obvious choice to build up a concept around how travel information would change in the mobile age. 
What were the initial challenges? How did you overcome them?
In the beginning, we didn’t have a technical co-founder. So I started reaching out to the contacts I had and one was a perfect fit. Christoffer Kaalund was an entrepreneur I had met at a startup weekend. He was a techie with a superb entrepreneurial mindset and wanted to do something even more ambitious. So after a long period of working part time, some trial and error and discussions on how to split the shares, he finally joined us. Shortly thereafter, we hired an additional programmer with the money we had brought into the company ourselves.
How has the journey been so far? 
It takes longer than most people imagine to create a company, first a year with finding team members and building the first alpha version, then launching it, then rebuilding and coming out with a proper version. Then it gets really hard because when you have to go to market. 
We had to try and reach people who loved travelling, cool restaurants and 'those special places' all over the world. As we had a small budget, this called for creativity and very hard work. We finally made it and the product is used in 135 countries today. I am stoked about this and grateful to our early users. But the journey never ends, there is always more to do.
How did becoming an entrepreneur changed you personally? 
Being exposed to risk over a long period – in my case, eight years now – makes you realize that it isn’t really that dangerous and the downside is not really as terrible as you first thought. I mean you won't die, no one will get physically hurt, you won't have to live on the street if you fail, not in Denmark at least, where we have a welfare system. If you keep this in mind, risk can make you more relaxed, enable you to try more and push yourself further. So personally it has enabled me to live life more fully.
Any other personal reflections and/ or message to budding entrepreneurs? 
Everyone has something they are great at and almost everyone is better when they are motivated and working on 'their thing'. So while being an entrepreneur is very hard work, it is worth it for me because a lot of it doesn’t feel like work. It feels like I am making a difference, building things, enjoying flexibility and training myself to be better. You don’t have to start from scratch to experience this, you can join a startup as an employee and try another way of working.
Sparsh SharmaSparsh Sharma holds a Master's in business administration and a Bachelor's in electrical engineering. After having worked in top Indian media companies, he came to Denmark in the fall of 2012 to study at Aarhus University and later worked at Lego. A Danish green card holder, he is currently looking for marketing or consulting opportunities globally, while working as a freelance journalist for The Local Denmark and blogging about his experiences in Denmark. You can follow him on Twitter at @sparsh_s.

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Danes show entrepreneurs how to ‘startup everywhere’

Looking to launch a startup in Copenhagen or Aarhus? It can seem tricky to navigate the startup scene, especially if you are new to the city or country.

Danes show entrepreneurs how to 'startup everywhere'
(L-R) Thomas Nymark Horsted, Sissel Hansen and Sofi Sitha Natarajah of Startup Everywhere.
This was the issue that Sissel Hansen, a 24-year-old Dane, faced when she moved to Berlin in 2014. So she decided to create a guide to the city’s startup scene. 
“When I moved to Berlin I relied on my Lonely Planet guide for where to sleep, eat, drink coffee and which activities not to miss, and I could see that a similar style of guide for startups would be invaluable to people moving to a new city and wanting to start a business,” she told The Local. 
She said it shouldn’t be “so damn hard to find relevant and in-depth information about your local city and the process of starting a business in it”.
Although she said many people questioned the wisdom in putting out a physical book in today’s digital world, Hansen’s guide to Berlin proved successful enough that she moved on to a second guide focusing on Aarhus’s start-up scene. 
Copenhagen was next and now Hansen and her team at Startup Everywhere have put out guides for nine European cities and sold around 14,000 copies. 
They have also just released an online and mobile app, Startup Guide Maps, as a navigational companion to the print guide featuring spaces, incubators, accelerators and cafes with wifi in cities including Copenhagen and Aarhus.
Thomas Nymark Horsted, who joined the company as COO six months after the release of the first book, said the global startup scene is changing rapidly. 
“Twenty years ago there were only a handful of cities where most of the world’s innovation happened in, such as Silicon Valley, Boston, New York and Tel Aviv. Now it’s a global phenomenon but in spite of this, the challenges that entrepreneurs face are local rather then global. That’s why the platforms that Startup Everywhere create makes perfect sense and it is great that people find value in this,” says Thomas Nymark Horsted, COO of the company. 
Startup Everywhere plans to release guides for 25 new cities in 2017 and over 50 more in 2018.