Founded in 2015 in London by myself and my friend Max, Tagvenue has been one of the world’s fastest-growing online marketplaces for venue hire. As of March 2020, we counted 8,000+ space listings in the United Kingdom, Australia, Singapore, Ireland and Canada on our platform.
We founded the company with the aim to help people find and book a perfect venue for any occasion imaginable. We were pleased with our rapid growth, in just a couple of years we managed to expand from London to16 cities in 5 countries and enjoyed over 200,000 unique monthly visitors on our website.
Thanks to the smart venue search algorithm that we developed, people can find, enquire and book the best venues for their private and business needs: from wedding parties, birthdays and private dinings, to corporate events, conferences, workshops, and many more occasions.
How did you come up with the idea for the company?
One evening, two friends from Lancaster University, Max Kondratjuks and I, met up after out corporate day jobs. Max shared with me that he was having difficulty organising a business event for his work . He was frustrated that there was no way to ensure he was getting the right space for the right money, without paying a personal visit to all of the venues. Later that evening, when I found out Max was having the same problem finding a place for his upcoming wedding, the light bulb above the table lit up.
We had no prior experience in running or managing a business, but after thorough market research and a few weeks of weighing risks, we decided to take the plunge. In March 2015, Tagvenue was born. Max and I started meticulous work on developing a search engine and online booking platform for event spaces.
Like any new business, we had our ups and downs, but pretty soon it became apparent that the idea was working. The proof of that was that with no advertising, customers (venue owners and managers) had started to find the platform on their own and applying to list their venues on the platform. That’s when Max and I realised they were on to something big.
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How did you come up with the idea for Tagvenue Virtual?
As the pandemic spread around the globe this year, the events, entertainment and venue hiring industries have faced an unprecedented challenge with the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19).
We took a number of measures to support our business, stakeholders and community to help mitigate the impact of coronavirus, including introducing a cancellation policy as an obligatory field in all venue profiles on our platform. We have devised four different cancellation policy options to be selected on our platform: from Flexible to Moderate, Strict and Customised – all providing a refund option dependent on the number of days remaining till the event.
The advantage for us as a business was that we were formed as an agile and digital business, we have always provided our employees the freedom to work remotely and did encourage working from home.
With the effects of social isolation, lockdowns and bad news everywhere spreading across countries, we started to see how these affect negatively our own team in terms morale and productivity. So first and foremost, we saw an internal need for a virtual event solution. And then we quickly understood that we are not the only company with such a challenge.
After an extensive market research we realised the virtual team building solutions available on the market lack the “fun factor”, with most virtual team-building events being boring, limited in customisation, repetitive and unexciting.
We decided to focus on a specific event theme at first – Virtual Christmas parties – and we built a product that’s fun, engaging, memorable, scalable and at the same time affordable. That’s how Tagvenue Virtual got created.
What advice would you give to other aspiring entrepreneurs?
From my experience, the most important decisions are who you start the company with and who you hire. It’s crazy how many businesses fail mainly because of personal issues in the founding team. In our case, we have been lucky with Max (Max Kondratjuks, co-founder) that we set up Tagvenue together. We have been working together for 6 years now and over those years, we realised numerous times that we are both better off by working together, rather than alone.
And I can add that a good employee can either make or break a business – so invest in recruitment, don’t settle for average. It’s better to wait for the ideal candidate than to fill the role with an underperformer.
What can we hope to see from Tagvenue in the future?
We will continue bringing our excellent venue hire marketplace to more cities around the world. We do not plan to abandon this business, and once the pandemic subsidies, the vaccines are spread around the globe, we hope the world returns to normal, people will continue meeting and celebrating offline.
At the same time, we also expect to see demand for virtual event solutions still evolving and growing and we plan to develop Tagvenue Virtual further to suit people’s needs for online communications.
We are also investing in R&D and plan to launch a new product targeting our business clients, check out our news on this later on in 2021.