Updates: Thomas contacted us with regards to a mention of their latest venture. Apparently, the product is not ready for public announcement yet and e27 will get back with another interview on it once the Danish duo are ready. Keep a look out for that!
For our Coffee with Cofounders column this week, we explore what makes cofounders hang around and work on multiple projects together. We are happy to feature Jakob Lykkegaard and Thomas Kjeldgaard of Pagemodo. After a successful exit on Pagemodo, Jakob and Thomas are moving on to their next venture together. Here’s our interview with both of them:
How did both you and your cofounder meet?
Jakob: We met trough a mutual friend in Thailand, Thomas was working with a new Facebook application and I was working with Facebook games, and it didn’t take too long before we both skipped earlier projects and started brainstorming for Pagemodo.
Thomas: I was in Bangkok and was listening to a podcast on an interview of another Danish entrepreneur in Thailand. I got in touch and went there to say hi. Jakob, whom I never met in Denmark before, was there as well, and that was how we got to know each other.
Why did both of you decided to take the plunge together?
Jakob: We both had a passion for Facebooks possibilities and could both see the vision ahead. I guess that talking in the same language in a different part of the world also connects people, as we were both fairly new in Thailand.
Thomas: The spirit was right and it felt right.
What makes a good founding team?
Jakob: It takes people that can see the same spot on the end of the road, you don’t always have to agree on exactly what street to take and you might take a few hits on the way, but as long at the vision is the same you will always end up there together and happy for the journey.
Thomas: It is really hard to tell whether someone fit as a cofounder before you work together. I would say Jakob and I were lucky in that we work together pretty easily. I would suggest trying to do a small project for fun or for a client first to see if its the right match.
What was the hardest thing on the journey working together so far, and did anyone feel like quitting at any one point of time?
Jakob: I think the hardest thing for us is that we are both business guys with no talent in programming. We know how it needs to work, can plan it and sell it, but since none of us were developers, it was difficult to figure out exactly who was responsible for what. As a result, we worked on many of the same things in the beginning.
Thomas: I dont think any of us thought of quitting but personally I did have a ‘Plan B’ if we missed. In addition to what Jakob mentioned, we had our rough time when our employee’s left (Welcome to Thailand!) and you sit back there alone with a 50 percent completed product. There was a point of time when we actually sat with Pagemodo which was 50 percent done, and the only two person left in the office was Jakob and I. However, none of us could code so we have to keep our focus right and just keep moving in such situations.
How is the startup ecosystem like in Bangkok in your opinion (in terms of talent, market potential and quality of idea)?
Jakob: While we are both very active in the community, we would still love to have it a lot bigger and organized than it is now. There is a lot of highly skilled entrepreneurs dropping by Bangkok to relax (and party) so you get the chance to meet a lot of people who holds high positions in other countries that might help you in your business. This provides one with a good network around the world, as everyone in the startup and technology space will pass through Bangkok at some point of life.
Talent wise, I would describe Bangkok as an unpolished diamond. You will find great developers here, but it takes a lot of trial and error, and networking to find the right ones. However most of them are eager to learn new development languages, so if you have one highly skilled guy, the rest will follow.
Thomas: I agree with Jakob but the startup scene is getting better and a lot want to start their own tech company. However there still is a lack of resources and most of the locals do not have a strong command in English, and this adds a barrier to the growth of the local startup community.
Any advices to entrepreneurs?
Jakob: “Keep focused and keep shipping”. In Bangkok there are a lot of things that is a lot more fun that sitting in an office. A lot will end up with lower goals than when they arrived in Bangkok, but if you can keep the passion, you can really make great things here.
Thomas: “Shoot for the moon. If you fail you’ll still land among the stars” - Les Brown. Accept the bumps that you will get along the way and keep iterating. A lot of big companies today started out as a complete different product than it ended up being.
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