VenuesUp: Adam Ioannidis
Smartphone app for organising nights out in London
Tell us what your business does:
VenuesUp is a smartphone app that enables both locals and visitors to organise chic nights out in London, at some of the city’s most exclusive and distinguished venues, offering the convenience of a concierge service at your fingertips.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
Last year I did an MSc in management. At the same time, I was seeking a business opportunity in London. Taking into account London’s hectic lifestyle, I realised how important it is to save time and use services that can simplify one’s life. The idea was prompted by the need to provide users with a premium London guide where they can plan an entire night out – dinner and drinks – from one app on their way back home from work: London in your hand.
How did you know there was a market for it?
I did market research and identified a gap, then tried to think about how I could implement it in practice. There are mobile apps on the restaurant side, but they include every single venue on the market – too much information for the user to handle and not enough differentiation on the venues. There is currently no booking app for nightclubs. VenuesUp is the first to link restaurants with nightclubs and bars to offer complete evening experiences.
What were you doing before starting up?
My background is in economics. I come from an entrepreneurial background – a family business. We are dealers of VWAudi, electrical appliances, home kitchens and furniture. I managed the after sales services department. Then, in 2010, I came to London for my Msc course, and the educational culture led me think differently.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
Yes, I’ve been involved in the family business since I was very young and have always wanted to start my own business. I felt ready to do it and I went for it.
How did you raise the money?
The money was raised from my personal savings, after working in our family business.
How much do you charge?
The service is free to users; the revenue comes from the venues.
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What was your first big breakthrough?
Without having any experience of London’s nightlife, planning a night out took me a long time, so one night a thought crossed my mind: “Why don’t you reserve your table or guestlist via your smartphone, where you can view the venue and invite your friends directly to join you?”.
I noticed that mobile apps were saving people time, and the ability to offer “More time for life” inspired the VenuesUp project.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
From my experience so far, an idea is far away from practice and reality. Find an opportunity, test it, carry out extensive market research, spend a lot of time on preparation, set up a team, take legal advice, prepare a worst case scenario and a story around your project. If it doesn’t jeopardise your financial future, then go for it.
Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
I want to make VenuesUp a global brand, linking the world’s metropolis’ – ie Paris, Berlin, New York, Hong Kong – under the VenuesUp brand, and offering a complete concierge service on your mobile phone.