PORTRAIT: LASSE RABØL JØRGENSEN FROM TRACKTECH
April 7, 2021
BY Nina Lyhne
CEO and founder of TrackTech – a digital tracking solution for your training
PhD student in chemistry and material science
Started TrackTech in the spring of 2020
HOW DID THE IDEA OF BECOMING AN ENTREPRENEUR ARISE?
I have always had greater ambitions than I could realize on my own. Therefore, it has always been my plan to start my own business, because here you have the opportunity to put together the right set of competencies to achieve any ambition. However, I have not always known exactly what problem my company was going to solve. In order to find a business idea, I tried to turn my mindset into being more problem oriented. Here, it is meaningful to use your own interests as a starting point, and for me, these are programming, modern technology and strength training.
The specific business idea arose after many years of strength training, where keeping track of my own physical progress has given me great motivation, but at the same time, has been extremely complicated and troublesome. To develop a technology that automates all aspects of this troublesome process is therefore a fantastic combination of the things that I find most exciting. In addition, both of my parents are self-employed, so this way of working has not been completely foreign to me.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED WITH YOUR ENTREPRENEURIAL JOURNEY?
In the beginning, I spent a lot of time developing a prototype that could track simple movements at home in my study flat. I did this only to convince myself that the solution was actually possible. Then I went to AU’s entrepreneurial community, The Kitchen, where I was assigned a fantastic supervisor, Vegar. In general, The Kitchen has opened a lot of doors for me in the form of networks, tools, guidance and events. It is mainly through these events that I have built up a network, and this is also where I have found my two co-founders.
WHAT DOES A TYPICAL WORKWEEK LOOK LIKE FOR YOU IN RELATION TO COMBINING YOUR COMPANY WITH YOUR RESEARCH?
Normally, I work on my research within ordinary working hours. The time I spend on my company is therefore either before normal working hours, in the evening or on weekends. Typically, company-related meetings are within normal working hours, and in that case, I move around the work so it all fits in the end. It can sometimes be a challenge to keep track of the different tasks when both the research and the company simultaneously take up extra time. Here, it is simply a question of making a lot of to do-lists to keep you on track.
HOW DO YOU USE YOUR ACADEMIC COMPETENCIES AS AN ENTREPRENEUR?
Even though TrackTech is not directly related to my research subjects, chemistry and materials science, I have benefited greatly from the many competencies acquired on virtually all PhD programs. Here, I am talking specifically about the ability to effectively familiarize yourself with relatively complex concepts, as well as the ability to plan and clarify long-term projects. A large part of my research consists of coding, analysing data and writing scientific articles, and these competencies have also proven to be very relevant in connection to TrackTech.
WHERE IS THE COMPANY TODAY, AND WHAT ARE YOUR DREAMS FOR THE FUTURE?
The company is currently at a very early stage. We are preparing to apply for soft funding to mature our prototype, and in connection to this, we are looking for a fitness center to run a pilot project with us. We are three people in the founder circle, but none of us are currently working full time in TrackTech. I complete my PhD during 2021, and at this point, I hope that TrackTech has reached a stage where it makes sense for me to go full time with the company.
It is my dream to create a digital personal trainer that increases the training motivation and thereby the physical health for as many people as possible. Our plan is to start out in fitness centers, where there is already a large portion of inactive members, who have lost the motivation to reach the goal they once had. We see Denmark’s approximately 1,000 commercial fitness centers as a stepping stone to Germany and the UK, which have almost 20,000 centers in total.
YOUR BEST ADVICE FOR RESEARCHERS WHO ARE CONSIDERING BECOMING ENTREPRENEURS?
To begin with, you need decide whether your project is really something you are passionate about – because you will spend a lot of lonely and frustrating hours on it. When this check mark is set, I would advise you to knock on the door of The Kitchen or a similar entrepreneurial community in your city. As a researcher, you typically have the grip on all the technical aspects, but you probably lack some business knowledge. These entrepreneurial communities can help you turn your idea into a real company.