Turning his passion for golf into a career, Patrick Rahme co-founded All Square, an award-winning social network dedicated to golfers and the golfing lifestyle.
Together with fellow HEC Lausanne graduate, Arthur de Rivoire, the 27-year-old Luxembourg native took the plunge and created his own business that has taken the young entrepreneurs as far as Silicon Valley.
In a nutshell, describe All Square.
ALL SQUARE uses the latest social media and app technologies to harness the passion for golf on a community level, focusing on the massively fragmented golf market that currently has myriads of golf-specific, sporting products. In our opinion these miss the connection golfers share in their love of the entire game whether it is travel destinations, equipment, competitions, or more importantly, their personal relationships that often span a whole lifetime.
All Square’s innovative platform offers registered users many opportunities to share and engage with other like-minded golfers around the world, including the ability to find the best courses around you, through referrals from friends; discover, organise and create events with friends; and search an interactive digital course guide of more than 20,000 courses (and growing).
Why did you decide to start your own business?
Out of passion for golf and entrepreneurship!
I started to work at Credit Suisse in Geneva and felt that the banking industry had a long way to go before recovering from the 2007 economic downturn. Furthermore, I saw a big opportunity in the golf industry and time-to-market was ideal for a social platform that would unify the golf market. Finally, I was lucky to find a great co-founder who shared my passion and vision for golf.
There was no need to wait any longer…
What has been the biggest challenge along the way, and what advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs?
There are many challenges along the way of an entrepreneur. All are very exciting and will test your true skills.
We are currently facing our biggest challenge, which is the transition from an outsourced IT team to an in-house team. Surrounding yourself with a great team is not an easy task and is key to building a successful business. It’s important to find a candidate who fits the culture of your company and who you can trust. We recently hired three new employees and we look forward to growing our team further in 2015.
The only advice I would give aspiring entrepreneurs is to do what they love, work hard at it and the rest will come. They won’t just be happier when they follow their passion, they’ll be better at it.
If you had one wish, what would you ask political decision-makers to help support the Luxembourg start-up scene?
I really feel that the Luxembourgish start-up scene has a lot to offer and that the government does a great job in supporting innovative start-ups and all kind of entrepreneurs.
LUXINNOVATION and TECHNOPORT have been essential to the achievement of our start-up’s key milestones. I also get to benefit from the Business Mentoring programme launched by the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce in 2010. All this support increases chances of success.
Nevertheless, there seem to be very few entrepreneurs in Luxembourg and I think that entrepreneurship is a key competence to be developed from an early age through education. Introducing young people to entrepreneurship develops their initiative and helps them be more creative and self-confident in whatever they undertake.
For this reason the Luxembourgish government should devote special attention to entrepreneurship training from primary school through to university, with a view to encouraging Luxembourg’s young people to become the entrepreneurs of the future.
What’s next for All Square?
2015 will be a very exciting year for All Square as we are going to grow our team and start marketing our online platform more aggressively in Scotland, Switzerland, France and California. Strategic partnerships with associations and leading brands will allow us to strengthen our position in these specific markets.
All Square members will also be able to book their tee times online in more than 3,500 golf courses in the US, Mexico, Canada, Europe, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean. Finally, we will be announcing a series of All Square golf tournaments to engage with our most active users and build strong relationships with them.