This is another in an ongoing series where LASB talks with entrepreneurs and investors in the Latin America startup community. Today we’re talking with Joshua Francia Torres, of Boletia. Boletia is not unlike Eventbrite but Boletia focuses on symposia and other similar events. Boletia rolled out a new version of its service on December 13th.
EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Boletia co-founder
Joshua Francia: Everyone in the team has had experience with event organization during college, basically symposiums and workshops. Almost in every case, we noticed how painful was both for organizers and attendees something that should be very simple: get a ticket and have an easy time getting into the event.
In Latin America, this tends to be hard for events in the simposiums niche, having a range of 200 – 2000 attendees and usually receiving payments by deposit. This makes the ticket buying process tedious for the attendee and the payment verification a small chaos for the organizer. Having almost no technical expertises, people in this market had no option but either to keep processing payments manually or to build its own, buggy registration systems.
LASB: Why did you decide that an “Eventbrite for symposiums” was something that Mexico needed?
JF: Because it’s a market big enough to deserve a properly solution (1 billion US$ in ticket sales a year, only in Mexico), and also because it enables us to get a grasp of the needs in other verticals, such as workshops and indie concerts.
LASB: What has been your biggest challenge in attracting customers?
JF: Since there’s no entity keeping track of the events happening in the symposiums niche, we had to start with direct selling efforts. Once you get the decision maker, it usually becomes easy to sell the solution. Luckily for us, we have found that hotels and tourism offices are in touch with event organizers just in the right time for them to hear about us, so we’re looking to make an scalable, measurable partnership with this type of entities to push our value proposition through them.
JF: In Mexico, we can include Lerinka and Hot tickets. In a less extent Eventioz and Eventbrite, that tend to be the way to go for the tech-savvy organizer.
Our value proposition is based in the multiple payment channels we offer to attendees, a beautiful, multi-device sales page than can be created in a matter of minutes, modules to cover special needs of certain events (such as workshop registration inside an event, a must-have for symposiums), a very quick fund transfer process to organizers (it is done each week) and a very reasonable fee.
LASB: What has the financing from Mexican.vc allowed you to do that you wouldn’t otherwise have been able to do?
JF: To have a time to focus in one product. We have an outsourcing software boutique (with all the change and variety it comes with), and we’ve realized there’s nothing better than to have the chance to be the best at something. Mexican.vc has been the push we needed to aspire at changing the way payments and registrations are made for events. We’re looking forward to be the ones that make a difference in this market.