Mikael Kojo lives in Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland. He is the founder of Goins – a mobile solution which turns exercise into game currency allowing game-lovers to play for free.
“Once I had the idea” – Mikael claims – “I looked for a team. I wanted mobile developers as well as web developers. After 4-6 months I was lucky to meet two people, Liisa Koivisto and Jaakko Oikkonen, who have worked in start-ups before and have a strong background in mobile solutions development. So, together we began to turn my the idea into a plan.”
Goins came into being at Kojo’s home, as Mikael explains: “My son likes playing mobile games on tablets and phones. However, he always gets to a paywall, which means that he would have to pay a fee in order to progress to the next game level. This made me think that, instead of passively play, one could exercise and be rewarded”.
When it comes to his creative work, Mikael does not have any specific role models: “It doesn’t matter if you’re a chef, a car mechanic or a painter. I look up at and try to learn from those people who can combine innovative ways of doing things with tradition”.
Mikeal thinks that life in the Arctic Circle not only affects the creative process but also stimulates people’s creativity: “We think of creative ways to exercise and entertain children outdoor”. This is particularly true in Winter, when light and sunshine are scarce.
Speaking of business challenges, Mikael mentions the ability to find the right investors, who must have a passion for both working with children and mobile games, while having enough time to commit to the job.
In Autumn 2015 the Goins team travelled to Slush – the biggest event for start-ups in the Nordic countries. At Slush, the team found inspiration and can now producing prototypes: “I think the next step will be the creation of a working product and, hopefully, we will see Goins installed in a huge amount of phones and tablets. We would like to see both children and their parents using Goins together, to exercise more while playing their favorite mobile games. We are on the right path – we can see this happening in the nearest future.”