So Dutchman Michael van Gerwen has won the World Series of Darts for the third year in a row. On Sunday (November 5), he beat Gary Anderson of Scotland 11-6 in Glasgow, at the packed Braehead Arena.
Rewind a little bit to Berlin last week, and that’s when I discovered that Darts has a World Series (should have occurred to me already). How did I catch on? Well, it was all thanks to a 23-year-old entrepreneur, Timm Bange. Timm is the co-Founder of a German startup, myDartpfeil. What products does the company manufacture? Darts of course. Personalised darts to be precise.
Apparently, darts is quite the rage in Germany (among other European countries), and Timm and his best friend Lukas Haas got the idea to start an online business offering personalised darts when they visited a World Darts Championship event some time ago. And it wasn’t just a top-of-the-head idea. They seem to have figured out the fan following, popularity, and done some kind of math of what the market could potentially expand to if the sport makes it to the Olympics. Olympics? Oh yes, there is a gathering movement to get Darts to the Olympics. So how big is Darts exactly? So here is some information that might help in understanding why Timm and Lukas are building a business around personalised Darts: There are 90 national Darts federations around the globe; Darts has its own governing body – the World Darts Federation; It has a Premier Darts League and World Championship and World Series events; the 2017 World Championship saw a total prize money of 1.65 million Pounds and garnered a TV viewership of well over 3 million.
But getting back to myDartpfeil, the company is in very initial stages, business comes mainly from their website and Facebook marketing. The company is selling its darts to customers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and they aim to launch in Netherlands and a few other European countries in the next 12-18 months. The two co-Founders code the design themselves based on requirements; They have a partner in the UK who manufactures the darts, and a partner in Germany who manufactures the boxes. They have sold 300 units already and are doing all that it takes (like freelance assignments or part-time jobs and engagement at international events) to manage personal expenses and fund their business. Like Timm works at trade shows and events from time to time, in a part-time capacity. That’s how I met him by the way – he was one of the team members handling exhibitors’ requirements at the EATS 2017 exhibition and conference I was attending (as a member of the Peak Pacific Group team) in Berlin.
Timm is one of several German youngsters I met in Berlin, and they all seem to be juggling (quite adeptly) university education, work, and their own creative ideas. Timm has a qualification in International Management (Business and IT) and is currently enrolled for a Bachelor of Arts. myDartpfeil is his second startup. Couple of years ago he tried his hand with another idea, launched a company, but it didn’t take off too well. But he is undeterred.
“This is the time when I can try different ideas and find out what I want.” Timm’s days vary from 2 hours to 15 hours long, and he takes each day as it comes, and he makes the time to unwind, exercise, hang out with friends and family, sail with his dad … and play the guitar.
We caught up for an interview after the conference was done. Excerpts: