Jakob Junker Jeppesen
The importance of team expectations reconciliation
Jakob Junker Jeppesen, 19, wants to be independent so that he can work with what he is most passionate about and because he can make a difference. When Jakob was quite young, he was diagnosed with Epilepsy. “It got me thinking, how do I get out of this?” says Jacob. He has always had an entrepreneurial interest, and as a problem-solving idea, Jakob and a group of friends from school came up with creating an app that helps epileptics. It takes off when they participate in 'North Jutland Innovators'. A 3-4 day program where you work intensively with your business idea, make a business plan and various presentations, on which you get feedback. Today, there are great ambitions for the future, and after business school, Jakob will go into work full-time. "If you give it a shot and work hard, I believe it will probably succeed," he says. But like all other entrepreneurial stories, it is not a bed of roses or an 'overnight success'. There have been challenges both in relation to laws and regulations and in relation to getting the team to function optimally.
We have to manage laws, regulations and other things that we had not anticipated
Like many other entrepreneurs, Jakob follows the TV show Lion's Den. It sounds simple in the Lion's Den, but it often isn't. There are an incredible number of small, but also large, things that need to be taken care of in order to move forward in the process, and often you don't often talk about how difficult it has been.
As they work deeper into realizing the app, various challenges arise in the form of regulations, laws and approvals in the health sector when working with medical equipment. A lot is happening today on that front, so you have to keep up. These are both the laws in force today, but also those that are in the pipeline for the coming years. Jakob says: "for example, I know that something will come in 2021, which we also have to deal with, and which will take a long time to get used to. So politically, you also have to be very involved".
A good lesson Jakob has learned along the way is that nothing is an 'overnight success'. A good piece of advice for other entrepreneurs is to be aware of this and be patient. It is a lot that you have to manage, and you have to get hold of the right people, so that there is also a basis for good cooperation.
An investment in sparring and good collaboration
Jakob is very interested in the podcast series 'entrepreneur stories', where he one day found the one called 'Startup Central'. "I thought it sounded very exciting, I would like to hear it. And then I also heard about it, on entrepreneur stories' Instagram, where Startup Central did a 'takeover'". He then followed Startup Central, through which he was contacted with an offer of sparring. At that time, Jakob actually had a task for which he needed sparring, and he spoke to Anders Fogh, CEO and founder of Startup Central. "I guess I'm from North Jutland, so I ask how much it costs. And I think it's the best investment I've made realized for what I'm doing right now. It is to sign up for that subscription.”
He became a member of Startup Centrals and thus gained access to the Startup Lounge: "Which, by the way, turns out to be brilliant for me, as you can get answers to all sorts of questions," says Jakob about the Startup Lounge. "In the beginning I followed what people wrote and commented on, and lately I've started to be very active there myself, and it's amazing how much sparring you can get," says Jakob and continues: "For example, I have got help through the Startup Lounge. I'm actually waiting for someone tonight to do a redesign of what the app might look like. And then I have had difficulty finding a software developer who has taken it seriously and wants to develop the idea”.
Jakob sought advice from Anders, whether there is anyone at Startup Central who can help with the software part, and he got in touch with Codespace, one of Startup Central's partners. Jakob says of the collaboration: "and it has just worked really well. Responds quickly, good service, good prices, good sparring. So it shows that all the collaboration partners you have make super good sense".
Hvad er dit råd til andre iværksættere?
Something Jakob would have liked to have known before jumping into entrepreneurship was that you have to set expectations in the team. He would have liked to have done that when they started rather than deal with it now, when there are conflicts under the surface. The advice to others is therefore to get expectations aligned at the start. Who is with, who is not, when you also have to invest money and time in it.
He also says that as a person he does not seek conflicts, or want anyone to be upset, but in this process, he has found that it is sometimes necessary to be tough and direct in order for things to move. Everyone must be on board – both in good times and bad. The discussions take up too much when you don't agree. "It's fine to discuss, but it must be justified and relevant, why you think the way you do". Jakob adds that he believes it is important to bring up the discussion. By doing so, you can also get some attitudes turned around and give some things a push. "If you give it a go and work hard, I believe it will probably succeed".
Something else he's learned on his journey as an entrepreneur is that it's okay not to follow everyone else. After business school you go out and travel, and then you start university because that's what everyone else is doing and not really because you want to. You then end up in a job that you may not be passionate about.
If you spend your time doing a job you don't like and where you feel like a robot, it has a big impact on your mood and energy and how you treat other people. Jakob's advice to others is therefore: Don't go with the flow. So many people do that when it comes to clothes, exercise, what you eat, read or watch series. "Life is too short, and you have to make the most of it when you're here". Jakob lives by the fact that at least 75% of the time he spends at work, he must feel that it is the coolest thing he does. And sometimes, what you do should feel like Christmas Eve - where it's a gift you've earned.
In addition, the advice to others with entrepreneurial dreams is that there should not be anything or anyone holding you back. Do what you are passionate about. BUT remember those who are closest to you and seek advice from them. Even if you get money between your hands, it is important to remember where you started, and it is important to be a decent person: ”[…] likeability is what partners fall for. Then you also get hold of the right people".
Jakob ends by saying: "There may be something true in the fact that it is cold at the top, but you have to be a good person. You must not let success get to your head and everyone must be equal, even if the company grows and there are more employees".
Follow Jakob's entrepreneurial journey
We at Startup Central look forward to following Jakob and his team's entrepreneurial journey. Among other things, you can see on the Foundation for Entrepreneurship's Facebook page how they pitched the idea online during Corona. His story shows how important it is to have the basics of laws and regulations in place as well as sparring to move forward in a process. In addition, he provides good input on the importance of aligning expectations in the team.