PORTRAIT: KASPER STAUNSKÆR FRANDSEN FROM MINEJERFORENING
April 20, 2021
BY Nina Lyhne
BA student of Economics and Business Administration (HA) on the 6th semester
CEO and co-founder of MinEjerforening – an administrative system for homeowners’ associations to help with member management, budget and collecting of membership fees.
Founded MinEjerforening in the spring of 2020
Chairperson of his own homeowners’ association and member of the central board of The Danish Scout Association
HOW DID THE IDEA OF BECOMING AN ENTREPRENEUR ARISE?
I got the idea for the startup, when I became the chairperson of a homeowners’ association myself. At first, I thought this would be an easy job, but everything was a mess and many of the work processes were troublesome – and I realized that a system that could ease some of these processes was missing. Therefore, I contacted my co-founder, who was the chairperson in another homeowners’ association. He was experiencing the same challenges – and together we decided to do something about the problem. This was the beginning of MinEjerforening.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED WITH YOUR ENTREPRENEURIAL JOURNEY?
My co-founder and I went to Brussels to learn about an open source system that sounded great for our purpose, and from there we started building our solution. Unfortunately, the open source system was dropped just as we had built everything up. Therefore, we had to start all over again. This time we used our own software solution – we wanted to be independent and did not want to risk losing our foundation once again.
Once we had built the system, we started registering our own homeowners’ associations in it and tested the functions ourselves. This gave us the option of going into detail with the different functions and fine-tuning the underlying structure to the needs we experienced as chairpersons. Our work is really driven by the needs of the volunteers in small homeowners’ associations like ourselves. As volunteers, you do not need a hundred different functions – you just need the few ones that will make your work as smooth and simple as possible. Therefore, our solution also makes it easier for homeowners’ associations to recruit new members of the board, since it makes the job easier to overcome.
WHAT DOES A TYPICAL WORKWEEK LOOK LIKE IN RELATION TO COMBINING YOUR STARTUP WITH YOUR STUDY?
I have a fairly packed week, where I have to juggle my study, a regular student job, my startup and my volunteer work in both my own homeowners’ association and in the central board of the Danish Scout Association. Therefore, I have to prioritize my time.
I never manage to live up to the number of working hours expected for my university courses, but I quickly learned where it makes sense for me to put my focus in order to release some time for all the other things. For instance, I prioritize lectures over reading.
I also take advantage of the flexibility you have when you are studying and enjoy that I am able to adjust my working hours to being a B-person. I like to start my working day a bit later and put in some hours late at night instead.
HOW DO YOU USE YOUR ACADEMIC SKILLS AS AN ENTREPRENEUR?
I use my academic knowledge about economics and management. For instance, my knowledge about accountancy for companies has been an advantage in the work with MinEjerforening.
But I have also discovered that there can be a difference between theory and practice – theoretical models does not always apply to the reality. A homeowner’s association does not necessarily have the same needs as a company when it comes to making budgets and collecting fees, so you cannot just apply your knowledge about financial management for businesses to that of a homeowners’ association.
Therefore, it is mostly the underlying mindset and the general academic understanding of things that I make use of as an entrepreneur.
WHERE IS THE STARTUP TODAY, AND WHAT ARE YOUR DREAMS FOR THE FUTURE?
Today, we have a well-functioning software that our customers are very happy with. However, the process of getting new customers has been challenged a bit by COVID-19, because our primary customers are volunteer homeowners’ associations, and much volunteer work is at a standstill during lockdown.
We are also looking into some new features. For instance, a feature in collaboration with real estate agents, which will help smooth the process of filling out documentation when an apartment is sold, and an automated tool for making budgets.
Our dream for the future is to be the best software solution for small homeowners’ associations based on voluntary work. Our main focus is to make the job easier for the volunteers who put in a lot of work on managing budgets, membership fees etc. But we are also starting to get requests from larger associations interested in using our solution for membership management and communicating with members, so we also have an ambition of becoming an attractive solution for larger associations in the future. Another interesting market that we might look into in the future, is other types of volunteer associations. Actually, we already get at lot of requests from other types of associations, but for now, we like to keep it simple and stay focused.
YOUR BEST ADVICE FOR STUDENTS WHO ARE THINKING ABOUT BECOMING ENTREPRENEURS?
My best advice is to join an entrepreneurial community like The Kitchen, where you have the opportunity to spar with like-minded student entrepreneurs. Personally, I have found so much support in this community. Especially in situations where you feel like you are stuck or where the challenges overwhelm you, it is great to be able to share your frustrations with other student entrepreneurs who know the feeling. Also, it is really nice that you can get advice from other student startups and learn from each other’s experiences.
Another advice is to choose something that you are passionate about, so the work doesn’t feel like a duty. The work has to be fun – something you would choose to do instead of watching another episode on Netflix.