Translated from this exclusive interview.
To those who have always dreamt of being a soccer reporter, with the 2018 World Cup finally here, now is your chance to fulfill your dream with Tickaroo. From the idea's conception to today's new platform, Tickaroo's founding team has taken on and conquered many challenges. The company's Co-Founder and CEO Naomi Owusu shares her insights with us in an exclusive interview.
1. Briefly introduce yourself and your business
With Tickaroo, we’ve created a platform that offers a variety of tools for different forms of live coverage of news and sports. We ensure that real-time news reaches end users in the fastest way possible, regardless if via their smartphones with push notifications or with your own live blog. We’re connected with both the sports and news industries- our users and customers include reporters and their publishing houses, as well as sports associations, clubs, and event organizers. We’ve additionally established ourselves in the area of IT development and consulting. This is how our team came to design and develop the kicker app. With this app alone, we ensure that millions of sports notifications are daily sent out in real-time.
2. Where did the idea for Tickaroo come from?
Tickaroo was founded seven years ago. At the time, I was working with a publishing house on an app for a German third league soccer team. During this process, I realized that there weren’t any quality tools for live sports coverage aside from those made by professional teams. This is how we started out as the live “ticker” app for amateur sports. But not much later, we began having larger aspirations. We wanted to provide not only hobby reporters, but also professional journalists with an opportunity to create a professional live coverage blog quickly and easily. The huge demand supported our decision to expand our original business idea. Now our focus is on media and publishing houses as well as event organizers who want the opportunity to create and share live blogs and real-time data directly with their audiences, away from social networks and platforms.
3. What were the biggest challenges that you had to overcome during your founding?
As with any newly founded company there will of course be a few everyday challenges. These also existed with Tickaroo. But even from the beginning, we were able to profit from the fact that our founding team was made up of individuals who were skilled in a wide variety of areas. Our CTO, Andreas, was even seven years ago already an accomplished programmer. Our CPO, Matthew, had conceptualised and designed numerous applications in the digital sports industry and had successfully sold his first mobile development agency. Peter, our CFO, had been on the board of numerous companies before his time with Tickaroo. And as CEO, it’s always been my goal, from 2011 to now, to find a solution, which we all find plausible, for every challenge we face.
4. Of which of your company milestones are you particularly proud?
Firstly, we were/are very proud of our cooperations with kicker Magazine. As a young company, we developed all of their mobile apps and thereby helped influence a sensational traffic boost. Additionally, two years ago Tickaroo celebrated its relaunch. Originally only a redesign was planned, but then more developments in usability, stability, and performance were added to our tools as well. This is how what was supposed to be a mere redesign turned into a pretty big milestone for us. A more current highlight is our cooperation with SPIEGEL ONLINE. For the Olympic Games in Pyeongchang a few months ago, the news provider integrated our live blog technology into their products. The success speaks for itself: within the 17 day long Games the provider gathered over 34 million page impressions, where 3.3 million unique users were on the live blog on average for 5.5 minutes. It’s always a pleasure to provide journalists with our tools especially when with them they are able to reach such a high readership.
5. What’s special about you? And what will separate you from your competitors and make you successful in the future?
The needs and wants of readers are noticeably changing in our digital world. We observe these shifts and react with apt adjustments to our tools. Readers today want short news. The decision if whether or not a longer follow up article will be read or not is in the hands of the user. Tickaroo provides the technical tools for publishers to be able to react to this changing reader behavior, and thus allows them to continue to thrive in the times of Facebook and Twitter. Not to mention, with the kicker app, Tickaroo sends millions of push notifications daily, and our live blogs from our partners also enjoy a high reader demand in the German market alone. It’s our goal to keep and increase this position over our competitors in the coming years. However, we are not only interested in making sports coverage faster and more personal. Our prime goal is that editors from the news industry will also be able to concentrate on the news coverage itself and not on the technological challenges of complex tools, like implementation or usability struggles. By securing new users, for example in the event and conference industries, Tickaroo can also secure its role as international technical pioneer. The tools’ universal usage and simple integration process and handling, as well as our robust and scalable user services and products will be what sets us apart from our competition. Exactly for these reasons are why we were able to secure partners like kicker, Red Bull, and even Largardère Sport. Our platform is fast, flexible, and fail safe!
6. Do you have any standing cooperations with athletes? Which athlete would you love to have as a supporter?
We support various sports clubs. This is how Tickaroo came to sponsor TC Rot Blau’s Eckert Tennis Team, and the baseball team, Buchbinder Legionäre Regensburg. If we were able to select a specific famous athlete for a cooperation, we would love to work with Julia Goerges. We wish her all the best with the rest of her tennis season!
Do you have any particular activities planned for the 2018 World Cup?
Together with Tippmate, we’ve created a sweepstakes for the World Cup. Users can participate and even win great prizes!
And finally: Who is your secret favorite for the 2018 World Cup?
I’m always a little torn during every World Cup. I’m actually a huge Ghana fan, but of course I will be cheering for the German National Team this year. Although we at Tickaroo are generally optimists, I unfortunately think that Löws team will be eliminated either in the quarter or semi finals. However in my opinion, we should keep an eye on the young and wild team from France.