We talked to Mikael Jansson, founder and CEO of 123ON in Uppsala.
Mikael tells us that he got the idea at the soccer stadium Camp Nou in Barcelona. He was there shooting a commercial for his swedish employer, when he realized that in the world of sports there is always a public, even when there is no game going on. Outside the arena there were hundreds of devoted FC Barcelona fans waiting to possibly get a glimpse of their favorite player.
”These people really love their team”, he thought. And when the taxi driver who took him to the airport explained that his season tickets had stayed in the family for two generations, the insight was as clear as daylight: ”People don ́t only love sports, they live sports. And this is just in Barcelona! The same thing goes on in Madrid, London, Paris, Milano, New York, Tokyo, Beijing…”
This prodigious thought lit the spark to what would become a brilliant business idea, that is now carried through all over the world.
I have always been a sports fan, but I never had realized the level of passion that is included in the sports world. Or, really, in the world of fans!
With his company 123On, Mikael Jansson has invented and presented a service that gives people a closer connection to their heroes in their every day life. A service that calls into play really emotional moments, stimulates the spirit and develops the devotion.
More than just ringtones
On paper you an describe his product as ”video ringtones for mobile phones”, but to Mikael and his team, and to the users of the app, it is much more than that.
”Our product does not only reach the ears and the eyes, it really goes into the heart of people”, Mikael explains. ”Every time the phone rings it sends a signal to yourself, and the people around you, about who you are – what sport you like, what team you follow, what music you love, what artist you adore and so on. It awakes your passion and effects your feelings. And it tells something about your personality. Living in a time of technology this really is a new way of expressing yourself.”’
Once he got the idea in his head – and in his heart, as he expresses it – Mikael quickly realized that the technique would not be the big problem to overcome. The hard work would be to acquire the content he needed to fulfill his vision of a ”mindblowing experience”. But obviously the idea also awoke the passion of the rights holders around the world.
Working from a small office in Uppsala, Mikael and his company have managed to sign agreements with some of the biggest and most powerful ”players” in the worlds of sports and entertainment. They have a content deal with NHL who will provide the service to hockey fans all over the world. They have contracted a number of the most popular teams in the italian football league. They have agreements with the major world-organizations of Badminton, Surfing, Table Tennis, and tons of other sports events. At present 123On can offer more than 5 000 emotionally charged clips to a global target group, and the library is growing fast.
We produce emotions.
And emotions are what create relations.
Mikael Jansson explains the very quick response from the rights-holders like this: ”We don’t see ourselves as an app-company. Our mission is to produce emotions. And emotions are what create relations. Our product is a huge magnet in a gigantic world-wide network of feelings. A magnet that enables brands, because that is what todays world of sports and entertainment consists of, to have a closer relation with their fans – and vice versa. Every single team, club, company, artist, band or organization to whom I have presented the idea has realized the value of this relation.