News & Views

Greetings from Alumni: Rasmus Hallbäck, Founder of Anchor Sport Business Advisors

18 January 2021

This time around in our Greetings from Alumni series, we interviewed our alumnus Rasmus Hallbäck, who is the founder of Anchor Sport Business Advisors, a boutique sport business advisory company focused on delivering sport business solutions to athletes, sport clubs, organisations, and federations. During his time at Hannes between 2015 and 2019, Rasmus worked as a sales coordinator.

Hi Rasmus, how has the year 2021 started?

Hello Hannes and thanks for having me! 2021 has started much in the same sense as 2020 ended. The pandemic has taken quite a toll on the sports industry, and most organisations involved in the sports industry are still feeling the effects. The overall level of uncertainty across the sports spectrum unfortunately also influences the business side of things, so on many fronts it kind of boils down to staying in touch with current and potential clients to see how and when things might be going back to “normal”.

As 2020 was crazy in many ways and business was slower than I had hoped for, I decided to go back to studying. I am currently studying towards a master’s degree in sport management at the Johan Cruyff Institute, which along Anchor will definitely keep me busy during 2021! Otherwise, I have been lucky enough to have stayed healthy, which at the end of the day is the most important thing, really.

You are the founder of Anchor. Can you tell us what kind of services Anchor offers?

In short, Anchor is a small advisory company focused on helping sports organisations improve off the court, i.e. in the back and front office of the organisation. As each sports organisation is unique, the projects that Anchor undertakes vary quite a bit. But you could say that Anchor’s services range from ad-hoc help desk type of services to more demanding projects such as organisational health analysis, branding, and marketing/strategy-related work.

To give a couple of examples of the services that Anchor provides, a recent project of ours concerned the establishment and commercialisation of an eSports team, whereas another project involved creating a marketing plan (as well as implementing it) for the Finnish national team in handball in relation to their European Championship Qualifiers. In other words, it varies quite a bit.

How did you come up with your business idea?

Before joining Hannes, I spent four years in Stockholm studying sport management. I also played handball semi-professionally for quite some time, so I came into contact with a lot of different clubs and noticed that there was a big gap in long-term strategy in many of the clubs I played for. I guess my studies sort of reinforced my idea of starting a company to bridge the gap between long-term planning and the “compete now and think of the consequences later” type of mentality which still exists in the sports world today.

After I moved back to Finland, I got a job at Hannes and effectively decided to let the thought of starting a company wait a bit longer – there was still quite a lot to plan and think about.

Before establishing Anchor, you worked as a sales coordinator at Hannes. Has your previous career at a law firm helped you in your current business?

Most definitely! The attention to detail and working both individually and as part of a team has really helped me as an entrepreneur. Also, as my previous job also entailed quite a bit of deadlines from time to time, I would say that performing under pressure was definitely something I have taken with me. Lastly, I would say that being service-minded (which I found to be really palpable at Hannes) really left a lasting impression on me. I really enjoyed my time at Hannes, and I can honestly say that I learned a lot during my time there.

Also, a big thanks to Hannes’s Graphic Designer Markus Norling, who taught me the basics regarding graphical design! I cannot believe he never got tired of me asking silly questions about his work.

What is your favourite memory from your time at Hannes?

First of all, I loved working at Hannes. People were super friendly and made me feel welcome from the get-go. I am not sure I have one single favourite memory from Hannes, but as a sports enthusiast, I probably have to go with the different sporting events, right? Because I worked cross-border, I got to participate in the annual football tournaments in both Helsinki and Stockholm, which were a lot of fun ─ and also really helped me get to know my co-workers. Also, I cannot forget the annual Christmas Party either, those were always blast!