#FounderStories: Renaud Visage, co-founder of Eventbrite

This time, we are honoured to welcome Renaud Visage, co-founder and CTO of Eventbrite, who agreed to take part in our “Founder Stories”. Over an evening, Renaud Visage shared with us his incredible experience and answered questions from the start-ups in the acceleration programme.

Like many others, Eventbrite’s story started with an encounter: that of Renaud Visage, with Kevin and Julia Hartz, in San Francisco in 2006. What followed is totally extraordinary. At the time, many on-line ticketing platforms existed for major gatherings such as sporting events and concerts. However, there was no service to create, organise and manage more intimate events. That is how Eventbrite came about.

Leveraging this opportunity, the three co-founders developed their product, mainly used for tech events in San Francisco’s Bay Area. The service was simple and free of charge. Its rise was meteoric. “One of the keys to our success is the virality of our product. Each event organiser brings users to the platform. These users then create their events. Almost one third of event organisers on Eventbrite are former participants”.

Eventbrite joins the Unicorn Club

In 2008, the time came for the first venture round: $1.5M. The rounds then continued at a dizzying pace – $6,5M in 2009, $20M in 2010, $50M in 2011, $60M in 2013 – until in 2014, the start-up completed a round at $60M, which valued the company at over one billion dollars, thus ensuring its entry into the prestigious “Unicorn Club”. The total amount of the successive venture rounds represents the impressive figure of $200M. When asked by an entrepreneur why they didn’t raise a higher amount earlier on, Renaud Visage advised: “be careful not to be too greedy at the start. If you raise a lot of money, it makes it very difficult to justify your value at a later date”.

While the trio held out for two years, they started to hire in 2008. Eventbrite now has 550 employees and offices in eight countries. “You are bound to lose some of the spirit of camaraderie when you jump from 3 to 550 employees, but we maintain an excellent atmosphere in the teams. It’s very important to us. A company’s culture comes first and foremost from its employees. Select them carefully,” he advised NUMA’s start-ups.

Eventbrite also knows how to pick its support. Its Board of Directors includes Sean Moriarty, former CEO of TicketMaster, and Lorrie Norrington, former Chairperson of eBay Marketplaces. “Their experience is a significant asset”.

International strategy

Renaud Visage insisted on the platform going global as of 2011. He was the main driving force behind this. With his persuasion skills, he started to install Eventbrite on the European market in 2009. “First, focus on your product. Perfect it. Then go global as soon as possible.” The multilingual website was created in 2011. A key moment, according to its co-founder. The start-up then had offices in eight countries (USA, Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Australia, Ireland, the United Kingdom and Holland). Through this platform, events were organised in 187 countries!

Ten years on from the start of this venture, Eventbrite has sold more than 200 million tickets on-line, the equivalent of $5 billion in ticketing sales. “I don’t suppose you need the money anymore… Why do you carry on?” asked an entrepreneur. “Why did we create Eventbrite? I like to think that we help people to get together. We facilitate meetings. I created this company out of passion. I still have that passion ten years on”.

Our warmest thanks to Renaud Visage for coming to advise the start-ups on NUMA’s acceleration programme. We wish them all similar successes!


To recap:

  • For ultra-fast development, think of a product that is intrinsically viral.

  • Do not raise too much money at the outset. It would be subsequently difficult to justify the company’s value.

  • Pay special attention when hiring your first employees. They are the pillars of your corporate culture.

  • Think about global expansion from the outset.


A few key dates and figures:

  • Date of creation: 2006

  • Co-founders: Kevin Hartz, Julia Hartz and Renaud Visage

  • Employees: 550

  • Total amount of venture rounds: $190M

  • Tickets sold: 200 million

  • Website: http://eventbrite.com

NUMA Mexico is here!

Venture Institute teams-up with NUMA to launch NUMA México and boost Mexico City's start-up ecosystem.

  • NUMA’s international community expands to Mexico City through a joint-venture with Mexican top startup accelerator, Venture Institute, founded by Federico Antoni, and Fernando Lelo de Larrea, to launch NUMA México.
  • NUMA México will play a leading role as a catalyst between startups, communities and corporates in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
  • NUMA México launches a crowdfunding campaign to raise MXN$700K to open the first free coworking space for entrepreneurs in the country. A meeting space to bring together the startup,VC, and corporate community.
  • NUMA México will be a key hub of NUMA’s global innovation network, aiming to spread the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship in all Latin America.

Mexico City, April 6, 2016 – Venture Institute, founded by Federico Antoni and Fernando Lelo de Larrea, joined forces with french ecosystem accelerator NUMA to launch NUMA México, and speed-up the consolidation of Mexico City’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Starting today, Venture Institute becomes NUMA México and strengthens its startup accelerator, corporate, educational and community programs.

This joint-venture brings together Venture Institute’s 5 years expertise in the Mexican ecosystem with NUMA’s 15 years of experience in France and international markets. “We are excited about announcing our joint-venture to present NUMA México. Mexico City will be the gateway to the 400 million Spanish speaking consumer market for startups in Mexico and Latin America”, says Federico Antoni, founding partner at Venture Institute.

Mexico shows all the signs of an entrepreneurial ecosystem on the brink of exponential growth. The team at Venture Institute has an impressive track record and is incredibly passionate about spreading the entrepreneurial mindset. Together we hope we can help the city to pass the tipping point. The connection to Europe and other growing ecosystems will give fresh market opportunities to Mexican entrepreneurs“, adds Frédéric Oru, International Director at NUMA.

Mexico City is NUMA’s fifth international endeavor,following openings in Moscow (Russia),Bangalore (India), Casablanca (Morocco), and Barcelona (Spain). Building on the success of NUMA Paris, NUMA will expand its global network to 15 cities during the next three years, aiming to accelerate 700 companies, install 250 open innovation programs for corporates, and thrust entrepreneurial communities.

 

BUILDING A STRONG COMMUNITY

Building a strong entrepreneurial community is a core activity at NUMA México, in order to create a sustainable ecosystem. NUMA believes in the pay- it forward culture, where successful entrepreneurs share their knowledge, discoveries and experiences, and serve as inspiration for other founders that are just starting, and people with an entrepreneurial drive. NUMA México collaborates with all of the actors involved in the entrepreneurial ecosystem; startups, education institutions, both large enterprises in the tech industry and companies with an innovation mindset, government, incubators, accelerators, Venture Capital funds, andAngel investors.Creating a large network of mentors and people who share the conviction that collaboration is the fastest way to innovation. Globally, NUMA hosts 1,400 events per year, bringing together 80,000 attendees.

 

CO-CREATE A WORK SPACE – CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN

NUMA believes in openness and diversity. To that purpose, NUMA México Startup Mansion – a 1,000m2 space located in Campeche 233, Hipódromo Condesa, Mexico City- will be open to all startup founders, corporates, SME’s, communities and public institutions to consolidate a sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem. “We are raising MXN$700Kto truly fulfill our mission of co-building an open and collaborative entrepreneurial community. NUMA México will offer free coworking space for startup founders, and will open its doors to serve as a meeting point for all the actors involved in the ecosystem”, said Coni Riveros, General Manager at NUMA México.

 

ACCELERATOR PROGRAM

Applications for NUMA México’s first batch will open inApril, and next July 20 startups will join its portfolio in a 5 month long accelerator program in exchange of a small percentage of company equity. NUMA México will give entrepreneurs the opportunity to benefit from 1,000m2 at the heart ofthe Mexican financial, innovation and startup capital. NUMA México accelerator program will attract 40 startups to Mexico City on a yearly basis, from Mexico, Latin America, and international founders, whose value proposition appeals to the spanish speaking market. “With 130 companies in our portfolio, NUMA México, formerly Venture Institute, is the most active startup accelerator in the country,” said Fernando Lelo de Larrea, founding partner at Venture Institute.

 

INNOVATING WITHIN LARGE COMPANIES

Shifting enterprise mindset to build an innovation culture via training, intrapreneurship and open innovation will also be one of NUMA México’s main goals. In 2015, NUMA doubled its corporate innovation team and developed no less than 60 projects involving large worldwide companies.“If Companies wantto grow or simply to exist in the future, they need to reinvent the way they innovate: their processes,their methods,the role of their employees and partners and their management system. The good news is that entrepreneurs are everywhere and companies understand more and more that the key to Digital Transformation is Entrepreneurship and not Technology.” Claudio Vandi, Director of innovation programs.

 

Discover NUMA Mexico

#FounderStories: Nicolas Brusson, co-founder of BlaBlaCar

Recently, we caught up with Nicolas Brusson, co-founder of BlaBlaCar, as part of our Founder Stories meeting forum for NUMA Paris start-ups. It was quite simply an honour to welcome one of the greatest icons of French entrepreneurship to our premises.

Does BlaBlaCar still need an introduction? If you have been living in a cave and have suddenly turned up in a city, “BlaBlaCar connects people who need to travel with drivers who have empty seats”. And, incidentally, BlaBlaCar is the global ride-sharing leader (if this term means nothing to you, go back to your cave). 

The company is present in around 20 countries, boasts no less than 25 million users and has raised several hundred million Euros for a market capitalization that sends chills down the spine.

Other than that, how are things going Nicolas?

From 0 to unicorn

Nicolas’ arrival at NUMA has an amazing magnet effect. A Slack and a few announcements on the various floors are enough to gather quite a crowd. Who would miss the visit of the man behind the most amazing French success story of the last twenty years?

Nicolas happily sits on the sofa on the third floor, in front of an audience keen to learn his tips for success.

Stubble, trainers, jeans and cotton t-shirt: this sober look conceals a very unique adventure.

It all started with a love story. Nicolas lived far away from his girlfriend and was looking for a way to visit her at little cost. At the same time, Frédéric Mazella wanted to visit his family over the holiday season and came up against a lack of transportation. At first, they thought of a service that would enable employees in the same company to share a journey and the expenses incurred.

From then on, the magic was quick to happen: passengers and drivers rushed onto the platform, originally known under the name covoiturage.fr and which constantly evolved into the current version.

Of course, it would be totally naive to think that this story ran so smoothly that it never encountered difficulties. The company’s figures read like a crazy rollercoaster ride prior to its current success.

Nicolas tells us that, faced with difficulties, himself and his co-founder managed to find the energy to start again, and to move even closer to users to offer an experience that significantly meets their needs.

Nico’s tips

  • If you think you have a good idea, step up a gear, raise funds and go global. It is highly probable that others have had the same idea, and only those who can operate on a very wide scale will win the race.
  • Find the right co-founder. Yes yes, of course you know that already. Here’s one more story that should urge you along in your quest.
  • Don’t get bogged down in the legal details. Yes, it is important but it should not hinder international expansion. “JUST GO FOR IT”.
  • Surround yourself with mentors, good mentors, the best. A good piece of advice could make all the difference.
  • Push back the limits, always think further, bigger, faster. 

Thank you Nicolas for taking us on this very invigorating ride!


BlaBlaCar: key dates and figures

  • Launch date: September 2006
  • Last venture round: $200 million
  • Audience: 25 million users – 10 million travellers per quarter
  • Employees: 500
  • Facebook fans: 4 million
  • Website: https://www.blablacar.fr

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#FounderStories: Jessy Bernal, co-founder of Doctolib

At the start of the month, we were delighted to welcome Jessy Bernal, co-founder and CTO of Doctolib for NUMA’s monthly Founder Dinner. We would like to thank him again for speaking to us about the incredible adventure that this little French gem has been on.

Doctolib, a little-known story

Meeting up on LinkedIn, joining forces and then going from 3 to 200 employees in the space of two years? This is the very real and a little crazy story of Doctolib, as recounted by its co-founder Jessy Bernal at the last Founder Dinner. This meeting format designed for the start-ups supported by NUMA invites a remarkable entrepreneur once a month, to hear an inspiring story and to give a kick-start to anyone striving for business success.

Jessy’s story fits the bill perfectly.

A graduate of EPITA, Jessy started his career at OCTO Technology. He tells us, very humbly, that he is none other than one of the founders of Massive Music Quiz. You’ve probably heard of this blind test game which brought together several million users in France.

Buoyed by this initial success, he then joined the teams at Skillstar, a project financed by the BetClic Everest Group, to develop the first Skillgames website, on which players can face each other live on television, via the Internet. The venture was not a success.

After a few months working as a freelancer, in 2013, Jessy was contacted via LinkedIn (note to self, update profile) by Stanislas Niox-Chateau who had an idea and was looking for co-founders.

His approach was both clear and surprising: Stanislas proposed to Jessy, and to his school friend Ivan, to “revolutionize the medical sector”.

After a few discussions, Jessy, Ivan and Stanislas began to work together.

The dream team was created, the success story could begin.

Genuine programming prodigies Jessy and Ivan developed an initial version of the product (the famous MVP) in a very short space of time while Stanislas perfected the business model. The principle of Doctolib is simple: making it easier to make an appointment with a healthcare professional.

MVP
+ Business model
+ Dream team
= Fund raising.

In the space of two years, the winning trio raised almost €23 million and hired more than 200 employees.

 

If this happens to you, what should you do?

You, too, could have your (updated) Linkedin profile consulted by a pioneer who asks you to revolutionize an outdated technology.

Jessy shared some tips with the entrepreneurs present at the dinner:

 

  • Pay special attention to your recruitment: only hire the best, organise several interviews and ask applicants to complete tests. This is obvious but essential: success is very closely linked to the team you create.
  • Define your culture: Jessy admits that it’s difficult to hold culture meetings when you only have a handful of team members. The exercise may appear artificial and there are many other urgent things to deal with. However, giving your start-up this foundation is essential: with it, the structure will stand tall and make great progress. Clearly, it works: Doctolib has taken giant steps. Defining your values means making them official, sharing them and providing group moments with employees (i.e. going out for a drink).
  • Put processes in place. This is inevitable. For a start-up, processes are like props for small plants: totally superfluous at first but then absolutely essential for elegant, and above all efficient, growth.
  • Forge ties as soon as possible with VCs. Don’t wait until you have a totally pampered product to pitch it to potential investors. Your users’ feedback is important, that of your potential shareholders is just as much.
  • Be ready to step into the spotlight. You are now a rock star, that’s the way it’s going to be. So try to be nice to the crowds and find yourself some time to relax away from watchful eyes.

In short, it was really nice, simple and inspiring. Just the kind of chats which leave you full of energy. Thank you Jessy.


Doctolib: key dates and figures:

Launch date: October 2013
Raised funds: €23 million
References: 7000 healthcare providers, 220 clinics, 80 healthcare facilities
Audience: 3.5 million UV/month
Employees: 200
Website: https://www.doctolib.fr/