PORTRAIT: KASPER HJORTSBALLE FROM NOWASTE
April 28, 2021
BY Nina Lyhne
BA student of Computer Science on the 4th semester
Founder and software developer of KH Creations and the app NoWaste, which helps you reduce food waste
Founded the company in 2017
HOW DID THE IDEA OF BECOMING AN ENTREPRENEUR ARISE?
I have entered into entrepreneurship by virtue of my passion for app development, and because I have been lucky with my timing of creating NoWaste, my company’s main project, which has become bigger than I had expected. Originally, I created NoWaste in just a weekend, but as the user base started to grow, the need to establish a company arose. I had to learn more about the facets of running a business, and that is what got me into entrepreneurship.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED WITH YOUR ENTREPRENEURIAL JOURNEY?
I have mainly focused on product development. For me, being an entrepreneur has been inseparable from my passion for developing NoWaste. So my journey into developing the app and running a business based on it, started with a large number of working hours spend on developing the product and refining it according to the users’ feedback. From there, growth and interest in my company have arisen.
WHAT DOES A TYPICAL WORKWEEK LOOK LIKE IN RELATION TO COMBINING YOUR STARTUP WITH YOUR STUDY?
I have been forced to prioritize my time between study and startup. I felt like I was burning out if I did both at the same time. Therefore, I only have small tasks in connection with my startup during the semester, for instance customer emails, meetings with potential partners and sparring with Vegar, my supervisor from The Kitchen. But if I start to program or do other product-related work during a week of study, it immediately affects my study work and I fall behind. Consequently, my workweek during the semester is focused on my studies, and then I spend my time intensively on product development during the summer holidays and the small holiday in January between the two semesters.
HOW DO YOU USE YOUR ACADEMIC SKILLS AS AN ENTREPRENEUR?
My academic skills from AU are a great match with my company. What I spend most of my time on in my company is programming, and my studies help me optimize my programming and code structure. That’s great! In addition, the study also focuses on how we involve users in the development of software solutions, which also fits very well with my company’s need to solve the users’ problems.
WHERE IS THE STARTUP TODAY, AND WHAT ARE YOUR DREAMS FOR THE FUTURE?
Today, the app NoWaste has a good user base, I have a large amount of knowledge about how to structure a food inventory app, and exciting opportunities for collaboration turn up regularly. I hope for my startup that it can inspire and help to make structural changes in the way we deal with food waste and our food consumption. This requires collaboration with major players, such as supermarkets, in order to succeed, and my company is going in the right direction – so I am optimistic about this.
YOUR BEST ADVICE FOR STUDENTS WHO ARE THINKING ABOUT BECOMING ENTREPRENEURS?
Stay focused on the product and start out together with at least one other person, so you start the company as a team. I am a one-man team, and this causes some challenges and creates some limitations that I would have liked to be free from. I also think it would have been easier to start out as a team than to create a team after some time as one person. I have personally experienced that I associate myself with the product I have created on my own, and therefore, I find it difficult to share the ownership. Also, keep your focus on the product. In my experience, it always comes down to whether the product is viable: does it solve the problem, do people use the product, how can the product be optimized. When the product is viable, my experience is that many other things come naturally: collaboration opportunities, media coverage and networking.