Jorge Díaz Largo is the CEO and Co-Founder at Hellotickets, a tours and activities platform with a global presence. He was a former VP at Ticketbis which was acquired by EBay in May 2016.
In a exclusive journey with AsiaTechDaily, Jorge Díaz Largo says:
The biggest challenges of fund-raising are ‘times’ and bureaucracy. Normally the startup moves faster than the money enters, and it is often hard to reach an agreement for all parties. If I had to start over, what I would do would be to advance the times, start long before contacting and telling our story.
Read on to know more about Jorge Díaz Largo and his journey.
Please tell me about your background, and what are you working on currently?
Jorge Díaz Largo: I worked for several years as VP of Product and Marketing of Ticketbis, a ticket buying and selling company that ended up being acquired by Stubhub in 2016. I am now CEO of Hellotickets, a travel web platform that offers experiences around the world.
What motivated you to get started with your company?
Jorge Díaz Largo: I wanted to have my own project with which I could develop my ideas. I saw a niche in the international sale of live events in the United States and did not hesitate for a second. No one was doing it in that moment, so I decided to take a step ahead.
How have you attracted users and grown your company from the start?
Jorge Díaz Largo: If I learned something from my years at Ticketbis, it was the importance of good SEM campaigns and starting SEO growth from the beginning, because the results in this area are slower. So at the beginning, all our users came through ads. Now they find us in many more ways. Also, we were very worried about UX and continuous improvement testing everything.
What’s your business model, and how have you grown your revenue? What strategy worked best?
Jorge Díaz Largo: We sell B2C in more than 15 countries, and our strongest markets are Southern Europe and Latin America. The way we structure the business model is the profit per service commission on each sale. We have grown in revenue by increasing traffic and reducing the cost for each sale thanks to organic positioning and the opening of other channels such as affiliation. That is what worked best for us.
How much money (funding) have you raised in total so far? When was the recent funding round?
Jorge Díaz Largo: We have raised approximately a total of 3 million euros. The last round has been the biggest: almost 2 million.
How do you decide when to go out for fund-raising? What were the internal decision processes in determining when to begin fund-raising, and what were the logistics for this?
Jorge Díaz Largo: We decided it because we realized that if we wanted to scale the business, we needed more liquidity. It was urgent to hire more people and invest more in tech development and marketing. The process began by meeting a couple of key people or business angels. Through them and thanks to our participation in the Techstars accelerator in Los Angeles, we reach other investment funds in the United States.
How many investors have you met so far, and which among them have invested in your past funding rounds? And how long does it take on average to finalize each funding round?
Jorge Díaz Largo: I have met more than 100 investors, but in total, they will have invested about 20. The duration of the process depends a lot on the type of investor, a VC is not the same as a personal investor, so it can be from 3 months to 8 months.
How did you meet these investors, and which channels worked best for you?
Jorge Díaz Largo: Basically, networking, attend events on technology, be present in some media of the sector and especially, through contacts.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced and obstacles in the process of fund-raising? If you had to start over, what would you do differently? (Your insight or advice on this would be very helpful for startups)
Jorge Díaz Largo: The biggest challenges of fund-raising are ‘times’ and bureaucracy. Normally the startup moves faster than the money enters, and it is often hard to reach an agreement for all parties. If I had to start over, what I would do would be to advance the times, start long before contacting and telling our story.
What are your milestones for the next round? And what are your goals for the future?
Jorge Díaz Largo: Knowing how to explain our current value proposition and what our direction is. That the roadmap, growth, and scalability be clear to current investors and potentials that may come.
What are the most common mistakes founders make when they start a company? (or What should all first-time startup founders know before they start their business?)
Jorge Díaz Largo: Many times companies are started only with good ideas. A more strategic vision and a reason for starting is necessary. That mission and vision must be the line to follow for any decision made by the company.
What do most startups get wrong about marketing?
Jorge Díaz Largo: Do not study your sales channels well, invest without testing, or pivoting enough.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? And What advice do you have for someone who is interested in doing similar things like yours or in a similar direction?
Jorge Díaz Largo: Always ask yourself why. And I would say exactly the same to anyone who is thinking of undertaking or once on their way to your project. Wonder why and rely on the data.
What are the one or two things that you would do differently if you could go back to 10 years ago?
Jorge Díaz Largo: I think I would do exactly the same. I’ve learned a lot, and I’ve gained experience. I’ve created my way to do the things thanks to the good and the bad that happened along the way.
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