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Students turned their entrepreneurial dream into a successful business – now they are champions of Denmark

A good idea during their studies became a business adventure for Tobias Fjelsted Alrøe and Jesper Lysgaard Rasmussen. They dreamed of creating and developing apps, for example within health, entertainment and industry, and with the support of the Student Incubator and SPININ, their dream came true with their company: Appdictive.

Photo: Appdictive

As many as 60 apps and a Danish championship shows that the two entrepreneurs behind Appdictive, Tobias Fjelsted Alrøe and Jesper Lysgaard Rasmussen, held the winning cards when they decided to prolong their studies five years ago to take time out to pursue their dream of developing apps for a living.

- This has been a dream for both of us for many years, and the more widespread and accessible the development of apps became, the more we wanted to test whether we could make a living out of developing our own apps, says Jesper Lysgaard Rasmussen.

They ventured into their dream halfway through their MSc in IT Product Development at Aarhus University, and with help and support from the Student Incubator and the university's SPININ programme, their dream quickly became a reality. Today, the company's apps have been downloaded more than a million times, and an extra employee, Rune Haugaard, has been hired. Business is clearly booming.

Photo: Peter Hoffmann

The degree programme gave the final push in the right direction

The dream of developing, designing and implementing their own apps, and of being self-employed was already strong when Tobias Fjelsted Alrøe and Jesper Lysgaard Rasmussen were teenagers. When they met while studying on the IT Product Development programme, they learned how to develop apps, and halfway through their MSc, they decided to turn their hobby into their business.

- During our studies, we learned to code apps for Android and publish them. We were in the same study group, and we talked a lot about development and about our dream of becoming self-employed. We came up with some ideas together, took some courses on entrepreneurship and suddenly things took off from there, explains Jesper Lysgaard Rasmussen.

The two students prolonged their period of study to have more time to develop their plans. Both the former Faculty of Science and Technology and the Department of Computer Science support students interested in pursuing the dream of starting their own business, and with help and advice from the Student Incubator and SPININ, Tobias Fjelsted Alrøe and Jesper Lysgaard Rasmussen were able to start Appdictive.

- It never occurred to me that I would become an entrepreneur during my studies. I had a dream and desire to become an entrepreneur, and I’m grateful for everything that the Student Incubator and SPININ taught to us, because this gave us a push in the right direction, explains Jesper Lysgaard Rasmussen.

Denmark's champions want more

The dream turned into actual business when the two entrepreneurs in Appdictive landed a huge, but demanding assignment. They were to be a subcontractor for a video streaming app, and this required 250 hours of development work. The app was a success and it was published in 13 languages. So far, it has been downloaded more than two million times, and the order gave them both self-confidence and confirmed their talent.

Subsequently, the two entrepreneurs won the Danish championships in app development with one of the company’s first apps. In collaboration with the ARoS Art Museum in Aarhus, in 2014 they developed a prototype app for visitors to the museum. The goal was for the app to inform visitors about what they could see as they were walking around the museum.

Since then, they have developed 15 of their own apps, and have worked with many other companies. Among other things, they have collaborated with MySelfie, known from the Danish Broadcasting Corporation’s version of Dragons’ Den, the IT company behind MobilePay, Trifork, and Frameo, which makes digital and social picture frames.

- From the outset, the goal has been to be able make a living from our own apps. Today, we work on our own products and provide consultancy services. We’re very pleased about this, but we’re heading towards spending all of our time on our own products, which is our ultimate goal, says Jesper Lysgaard Rasmussen.

Photo: Peter Hoffmann