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Tommoko

Tommoko
tommoko Crowdfunding UG (haftungsbeschränkt)
Founded by Andrew Isaak and Johannes Fauser
Founded in 2011
Terminated in 2012
crowfunding platform
Located in Mannheim
Co-founder Andrew Isaak is a Research Associate at the Institute for SME Research and Entrepreneurship from the University of Mannheim

Startup Characteristics 

Tommoko is a crowdfunding platform for young researchers and academics in the german (DACH) and english-speaking countries (esp. US, UK, AU, NZ). The main mission of Tommoko is to demonstrate the viability of the concept of specialized crowdfunding for academic projects. Tommoko’s business model is based on transaction fees and donations. However, the crowdfunding platform is currently in the process of registering as a non-profit organization with the local tax authorities. The Startup has had a significant shift from its original business model, an online social collaboration network for scientists and has had to start over, to go in an entirely new direction. This was due to a legal dispute with Facebook over the registration of its former brand name, "Sciencebook" in the US and Germany. Tommoko has select business partners/sponsors for software (Microsoft) and office space (Zinsmacher) and plans to launch special programs for large businesses. However, the crowdfunding platform is still looking for major sponsors or investors to be able to get to the next phase of growth and pay for considerable development costs. Since its launch in 2011, the Tommoko concept has been successfully demonstrated by companies like sciencestarter.

Personal Characteristics

The crowdfunding platform was originally founded by Andrew Isaak (vision, project management), and Johannes Fauser (marketing) in 2011. Besides the two friends and former schoolmates from Deutsche Schule New York, interns Sergii Poluektov (backend), Paul Beigang (frontend), and Baiba Veidemane (design/pr) have been strongly involved in the project. Andrew holds an administrative IT position at the Mannheim Business School and has previously worked as a student assistant at the MCEI for 6 months. Further, he has acted as Coordinator of Heidelberg University's Experimental Economics Lab and as a technology consultant for Accenture. Andrew’s father, Prof. Isaak is also a member of the MCEI and professor and lecturer at the University of Mannheim. Andrew grew up in a fast-paced multi-lingual environment and started working with software at the age of 5. His interests lie in the fields of strategy and innovation and his creativity and open-mindedness make him a valuable member within international teams and settings. During his master studies in international business, Andrew took entrepreneurship classes and became a big fan of the startup scenes in Boston and Berlin. He previously founded Xpress Webdesign and Strategy, but Tommoko is his first incorporated Startup. Additionally, Andrew is pursuing smaller projects with other entrepreneurs, including the development of a mobile app for a specialized target group, for which he is currently looking for passionate student developers. 

Business Development

After the legal dispute with Facebook, Andrew realized that the problem they were facing at Heidelberg University at the time - a lack of funding for small research projects at a very early phase - must be a common problem for other institutions. After talks with Timo Kreßner, founder of Startnext gUG which focuses on creative and media people and not on scientists, he was convinced of the concept’s viability and Tommoko was born. The Startup has had to face a wide variety of challenges: Organizing the team and office, dealing with quickly emerging competitors, developing a brand identity, selecting technology platforms and gathering the first users and projects. Andrew thinks for him as an entrepreneur the biggest struggle is with himself – having the guts to move on in the face of competition and missing investors but also to freeze the project for several months to earn money through other projects. For the future, Andrew knows that in order to attract major investors and have large scale success, dedicated funding and full-time effort for a number of years would be required. He does not think that Tommoko will be his last startup, but rather one of many prototypes en route to something that provides real value to somebody.

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Sponsors

  • University of Mannheim
  • Institut für Mittelstandsforschung
  • Gründerverbund
  • ESF
  • Europäische Union
  • Baden-Württemberg - Ministerium für Finanzen und Wirtschaft
  • Absolventum