Eventioz was the protagonist of some of the most important pieces of news in Latin America’s tech industry this year. With the help of Kaszek Ventures, it landed in Brazil in June. And in September, it was acquired by Eventbrite, officially joining the big leagues.
A coherent international expansion plan and the support of key partners and investors has proven essential in rendering Eventioz a global-reaching entity that is expanding fast throughout the region. The product has been utilized to organize over 20,000 events in the four markets in which it has a presence (Argentina, Chile, Brazil and Mexico), and it has registered over two and a half million participants. “We never wanted to be a ticketing company,” emphasized Pablo Aquistapace, Eventioz CEO, in a recent chat with PulsoSocial.
Clarisa Herrera: You’ve landed in Brazil and been picked up by Eventbrite. What is your perspective today?
Pablo Aquistapace: Well, three months have already gone by. Eventioz is part of a bigger company, which allows us to not only have much more support for our clients but also more resources to continue developing in the region.
CH: What were, in your mind, the motives that drove Eventbrite to buy instead of compete?
PA: Eventbrite’s objective in acquiring us was having a regional presence with local know-how that would allow them to develop faster in Latin America. Eventioz is our product and our brand, and part of the strategy is to maintain what we’ve developed because it’s got excellent market acceptance, and the idea is to take care of that and continue to develop it.
CH: Along the way, is there some inflection point that places you where you are today?
PA: It was a path of four years building a company. Eventioz grew out of my own need to have a platform for events I organized for Endeavor in Mendoza (Argentina), and we saw an enormous opportunity. Along the way, we departed from an idea and rethought the product to make it attractive for many more people. The first push to scale outside of Argentina came with the hand of Kaszek Ventures two years ago. Funding allowed us to have a much more aggressive regional business plan. Today, we’re in Brazil, which already represents more than 25% of our operations. We’re in Chile and Mexico, and soon, Colombia and Peru.
CH: In what does such backing make a difference?
PA: The arrival of the investment was a qualitative leap as well, because we got experience, contacts, know-how, in the day-to-day and in business strategy. All of those small milestones have taken us to where we are today – a company bought us instead of developing locally and competing with us. We had a coherent international expansion plan and a high-quality product with solid customer support, decisions that were vital.
CH: Going back to the product, how has it evolved?
PA: The product hasn’t changed. We wanted to create a platform that works for any type of event, focusing on the participant and not on the ticket. We never wanted to be a ticketing company; it’s a consolidated niche in the region. The idea was to consider those who don’t want to sell a ticket, and the essence has never changed. It went about evolving thanks to user feedback. The development platform was essential, as was the incorporation of promotional tools for organizers, information on participant selection and moving more towards mobile, encouraging the use of e-tickets instead of printing, avoiding paper and simplifying the experience for everyone. The trend is that this will continue, simplifying processes.
CH: What was your experience with Brazil’s business climate? Was it tough?
PA: The first approach was personal, trying to understand the market. Understanding the rules of business is a different experience, they’re very distinct from ours. Putting together a team wasn’t easy and took a long time, with a lot of changes until we felt it was the team we wanted to have (today we have seven people on the commercial end). Adapting the product was tough, too. You think that the product you have is good, but the reality is, for every market, you have to adapt for it to be accepted. We made a lot of mistakes, but we’ve found the niche for improvement, and the results have been explosive.
CH: What is your focus for 2014?
PA: Growing solutions of this type in different markets. Colombia and Peru will have our attention in 2014, and we will continue identifying those small functionalities that make the product more attractive in each market.