Sramana Mitra: How did you find your investors?
Manick Bhan: Most of the investors that we were connected to came through our networks. Along the way, we went to various events. I don’t recommend going to all of the tech events, but sometimes, some of them are good. You know which ones are good because those are the ones that your entrepreneur friends are recommending. If you’re in New York, the New York Tech Meetup is one of the best meetups in the city about announcing cool technology. There are always investors there. There are always cool entrepreneurs there much more successful than you have been. We’re able to build together a network.
Sramana Mitra: How much was that financing?
Manick Bhan: Because the investors of that financing round are almost celebrities, so details around our early financing are confidential until we raise our next public financing round .
Sramana Mitra: So you’ve only raised one round of financing so far?
Manick Bhan: Yes.
Sramana Mitra: In 2015, what are the major strategic moves that you made and what impact did that have on your business?
Manick Bhan: Early on, we realized that pricing is very important. We began to run data science on the pricing data that we were getting and what it meant for our conversion rate. We were able to figure out our unit economics and, most importantly, our plan of improving our margins, which were very small back then.
The more money you make per transaction, the more ads you can buy. Some people think, “Give your customers cheap prices and that’s the best you can do.” That’s not the best you can do. We continue to improve the margins and became really focused on growth by mastering organic search, Facebook ads, and Twitter ads. We became, very much, experts in those things through much experimentation.
Sramana Mitra: The business model is a commission model?
Manick Bhan: Exactly.
Sramana Mitra: What percentage of tickets sales do you take?
Manick Bhan: 30%
Sramana Mitra: What else is interesting to cover?
Manick Bhan: The personal and the meaningful insights are the ones that happened at the very beginning of our etrepreneurial journey. Whether you’re an investment banker or someone who is just graduating from college, it’s very humbling because you’re generally all on the same playing field. I think there’s something really refreshing about that. Everyone who hasn’t done it before is on the same playing field. The rules back then aren’t the rules now, but the patterns are similar. Now it’s about building a strong culture of bringing in innovation and using innovative products?
Sramana Mitra: Thank you for your time.