Travel has been a popular category for entrepreneurs to build capital-efficient businesses in. Read the story of Glamping Hub.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the very beginning of your journey. Where are you from? Where were you born, raised, and in what kind of background?
Ruben Martinez: I was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I went out to University of New Mexico for a year before I transferred to a university here in Denver, Colorado.
I studied business and did my Masters in International Business at Regis University. I’ve always been interested in international business. Before I completed my Masters, I met my business partner when I was taking some Spanish classes in Seville, Spain. I’ve always had a travel bug as well.
Sramana Mitra: Where are you based out of today?
Ruben Martinez: We have two offices. One is in the southern part of Spain in Seville where we have about 70 people at work. We have a smaller US-based office in Denver. A majority of our business is done within the United States, but we do have visits, reach, and traction all over the world.
Our second and third biggest markets are Canada and Australia. Majority of what we do is here in the United States. We have a large presence in Europe.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s take it one step at a time. Set this in a timeline for me. When were you coming out of college? What were you doing when you came out of college?
Ruben Martinez: When I came out of college, I worked for a company that was doing data production for credit card distribution companies. I worked there for about a year. I thought I wanted to work for a big corporation and a big company, but it just wasn’t really what I wanted to do.
There were quite a few people who would spend weeks traveling and come back from the airport and directly to the office. The inside joke in the office was the reason why you have to go home was to make sure that you’re still married. I remember thinking that if I stay here a few more months, I might blink and 20 years will go by.
It wasn’t the journey I wanted to take. I left that job. I never had an opportunity to study abroad. I basically enrolled in some Spanish classes in Seville.
Sramana Mitra: What year was this?
Ruben Martinez: 2007.
Sramana Mitra: What happens next?
Ruben Martinez: I was studying Spanish in Seville and only planned to be there for a short period of time and ended up being there for a little over a year. I met my business partner David while playing soccer. He worked for a tourism company. We became friends. It turns out that that tourism company was looking for another person to work there. I jumped in.
After that, I decided that I wanted to come back and do my Masters. I moved back to Denver to pursue an MBA in International Business. I did that for a bit. I coached soccer at the university. I was finishing up my Masters. I worked in education for a little bit. The idea of Glamping Hub started after that.
Sramana Mitra: What year was that?
Ruben Martinez: 2010.