As CEO and co-founder of Wasder, Thomas Gronnevik leads the brands global growth and vision. Thomas’ main goal is to bring together a team of the most talented individuals who have an undeniable passion for gaming and the future of Wasder.
Born and raised in Norway, Thomas’ career began in sales at the young age of 15, when he sold cell phone subscriptions after school. As a savvy young entrepreneur, Gronnevik started his first company at the tender age of 18, where he helped gaming companies outsource their customer support services.
In the pursuit of following his passion for gaming, Thomas became an integral part of the community team at FunCom, as a liaison for over 1 million players. After FunCom, Thomas embarked on a venture with Electronic Arts, leading their content creation and social communication. After hours, he developed a personal training business for top professional athletes. Thomas returned to his sales career, eventually acting as sales director and corporate sales coach for various tech companies.
Throughout the years, Thomas has used his expertise to personally build gaming communities with hundreds of active members and competed in several games including Star Wars The Old Republic (SWTOR), Elder Scrolls Online (ESO), Guild Wars 2, and Dota.
A man of many talents, Gronnevik has been an athlete most of his competing as a swimmer when he was younger, to getting a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and being an active cross fitter.
1. As CEO and Co-Founder of Wasder, what was the inspiration behind the founding of Wasder? What were you hoping to accomplish through it?
Being a gamer myself, and having worked in the industry for years, my partner and I were frustrated at the lack of a space to talk about gaming without the stigma that comes with that label. We started discussing how both the industry as a whole, and gamers all over the world would benefit from having a place dedicated to their passion, where everyone could connect.
Following that, we realized that we could bring functionality that makes people’s day to day life simpler and add value to it. Similar to what your smartphone does when it gives you easy access to your favorite functions & apps, Wasder would become a unique and essential asset for people who share the love of games.
Going forward, we hope to accomplish exactly that, bringing gamers & the industry together in a joint space that creates real value for every single person, whether that’s a social need or a specific function to get something done. Wasder will always work towards giving people what they need in order to feel a part of a community where they are seen and heard.
2. COVID-19 has had a huge impact on many businesses. What would you say has been the biggest impact it’s had on the company? What effect has it had on Wasder?
COVID-19 has created a circumstance around the world that is absolutely catastrophic. The combination of people who are afraid for their jobs, health, and ability to provide for their family, mixed with a lockdown where we have to physically separate ourselves from each other creates an environment that most of us are not prepared for. We need a connection to other people, to talk about our passions, joys, ups, and downs. Our goal was always to provide this for the 2 billion people around the world that share a connection with games.
With COVID-19 happening, we decided to take Wasder into open beta a little earlier, so that we would open our doors to people who needed this connection now more than ever, and it has been a tremendous success for us.
3. Studies have shown that industry revenues in the gaming world have seen a significant increase of up to 35% compared to last year. Why do you believe that is? Do you believe this is due to people being forced to quarantine?
The gaming industry is growing yearly on a massive scale, and a great example of that is Dota 2 – The International competition, where the prize pool is 25% of the revenues of a certain in-game purchase (the Battle Pass). The prize pool of Dota 2 has grown from 16 Million $ in 2015, to 30 Million $ in 2019.
I do believe that people will gravitate more towards gaming that is social in its nature, during quarantine, and also towards streaming and social platforms. I believe that this is a great opportunity for us to showcase all the social benefits and possibilities of gaming. Where people can play together to overcome certain challenges or compete in a friendly game for fun now that we need it the most.
Over at Wasder, we’ve even created a full match-making system where people can find other gamers to play with and create mini-communities. We call it the LFG – Looking for Group, and there are already hundreds of groups that have open invitations to people in various games using that function.
4. Many organizations have implemented programs and resources to help people and businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19. What are some of the initiatives that Wasder is doing to help those affected by the COVID-19? What approach is it takes to help those in need during these challenging times?
As a relatively new company, we try to do the most with limited resources. One of the things Wasder strongly believes in is a project called “Folding@Home”. We are currently working on an effort in spreading awareness around this project and will be doing our very best to inspire many of our users to download and run the software.
Folding@Home allows gamers to allocate a portion of their computer resources to help assist doctors around the world in researching cures for various diseases. Right now, COVID-19 being the main focus. Spreading awareness around important topics that either affects gamers or around areas where gamers can help society is rooted deeply within Wasder’s beliefs. Gamers are mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters and we know the amazing capacity of embracing people and helping others.
5. On a final note, what advice can you give to other entrepreneurs that can benefit them during these challenging times?
My advice to other entrepreneurs would be to search for areas where you can bring value, to your surroundings, employees, partners, and consumers.
COVID-19 creates pressure on society on so many levels, but if companies look at ways to bring value to their surroundings, I believe strongly that we will get through this with our heads held high. Maybe see it as a learning process that makes the very pillars of our society and values better for it in the long term.