Real achievement is to stick to it when things get tough

Passion. A gypsy woman’s words on a New York street. Feeling. This kind of arguments one would not expect from a seasoned McKinsey consultant as part of a business story. However, this is how Mette Lykke, founder of the Endomondo sports track application, explained why she started the company together with three other former consultant colleagues.

Lykke made the final decision to join her friends working on Endomondo in 2007 when a gypsy woman told her “Whatever your wildest dreams maybe, they only scratch the surface of what is possible.” Lykke was living in New York city and comtemplating what to do next in her career.

What Endomondo team wanted was to make fitness fun. They were among the first ones to discover how smartphones and digitalization can be a vehicle in this.  The sports tracking app now has over 25 million users world-wide.

However, running the company has not been smooth sailing all the way. This behind the scenes story was the most valuable element in Mette Lykke’s Q&A session with Alf Rehn at Nordic Business Forum 2015.

“The main achievement is not to start a company but to stick with it when things get tough and rough,” Lykke said herself.

That is when the passion and intuition and even naïve optimism play an important role. Even when the application had been launched months ago and it had just dozens users, Lykke and her team believed in it. And even when they had only 4 months cash left they stayed motivated and did not leave. Why? “Because we just felt it was a great idea.”

What helps when things get difficult and cash is running out is seeing a real mission for the company. Individual motivation of course helps:  Lykke wanted to do something herself and be independent. At best, the mission is wider. The Endomondo team wanted to change the industry of health and fitness and more importantly they wanted to solve an existing problem.  80 percent of people think they would like to be more active – but they are not. Endomondo is for them a tool to get motivation and socials aspects to inherently lonely sports like running or cycling. And now, with millions of users, Endomondo team can be happy and proud of improving their lives.


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