Optune B2B booking platform of its kind servicing those in the live music industry
Please introduce yourself and your startup OpTuNE to our readers!
My name is Tobias Horka, and I’m the CEO and one of Optune’s three co-founders. Optune is the only B2B booking platform of its kind servicing those in the live music industry.
How did you get the idea to OpTuNE?
Before I founded Optune, I owned two event and artist agencies which I ran successfully for 10 years. The companies focused on organizing events and festivals with focus on live entertainment, including the booking and management of artists. During this period, we processed more than 15,000 artist bookings for events in Switzerland and beyond. The handling in this industry was largely analogue, opaque, and used a dizzying array of communication channels like SMS, Email, Whatsapp, Facebook News, Slack and telephone. Considering that transactions from an international booking can often involve between 20 and 50 people, this out-dated handling led to a lot of chaos and mistakes. Working like this was time-consuming and nerve-wracking for me.
So, I decided to jump out of my comfort zone and to sell my event agency. In 2016, I co-founded Optune with the aim of digitizing the handling of the industry.
How difficult was the start and what challenges did you have to overcome?
Essentially, achieving your targets in all main areas such as product development, marketing and fundraising is akin to juggling. If you drop the ball in one area, it threatens the growth in another, and all the balls might fall. This is especially true when working with external investors. In order to attract new investments, you have to maintain this perpetual (forward) motion between the disciplines, at least until your company gets to a certain size: one that can sustain itself. Maintaining solid and coordinated KPIs with an innovative product across all disciplines has been one of the biggest challenges.
Who is your target audience?
Artists in the live music industry such as DJ’s, bands and solo artists. Likewise, artist agents and managers, and event organizers who are looking to book artists for their events.
What is the USP of your startup?
Together, Optune works to increase the artist’s visibility, the number of bookings they get, and the efficiency with which bookings are processed and promoted. It helps artists to get noticed by bookers with the OnStage booking platform which leads to more bookings. Optune automates the administrative work like drafting contracts and invoices which leads to saving enormous amounts of time (and money). And it helps to promote those bookings to existing and new fans with the promotion tool Onescreener. It’s the perfect combination of tools for any performing artist.
Can you describe a typical workday of you?
I get up, work out, read (usually articles and blogs about fundraising, marketing and innovation), and have breakfast with my girlfriend. I’m in the office by 8am at the latest. I check my emails and have meetings with my tech and marketing teams until 10:15am. After that, I try to accomplish the top three tasks on my to-do list. Before I leave the office, I write down the three most important tasks for the next day. To balance the ups and downs of running a startup company, I think it’s important to find out which daily rhythm works for you and stick with it.
Where do you see yourself and your startup OpTuNE in five years?
Everyday, paying and satisfied customers use Optune. Most of them are located in the German-speaking countries, and include Swiss Music Awards winners, European MTV Awards winners, and Red Bull World DJ champions, as well as their agencies and management teams. Optune’s success in these regions has thus far been predominantly organic. However, at the end of this summer (2019), we aim to close a seed round of 1.2 million Swiss francs, and put this funding towards building a marketing and sales team in Germany. Our goal is to scale up Optune internationally, and break even by 2021.
In terms of the product itself, we’ll make the solutions applicable to other stakeholders involved in the booking process such as location/venue managers. Additionally, Optune will be made intelligent within the next five years, linking organizers and artists and other stakeholders using improved algorithms. At that time, thanks to Optune, there won’t be any excuses for poorly handled bookings.
What 3 tips would you give other Start-up founders on the way?
First, talk with other startup teams who are further along than you. Be open to learning from them, and remember that generally everyone is faced with similar challenges. Second, stay focused and goal-oriented. Third, your team is your most important asset. Treat them well!
More information you will find here
Thank you Tobias Horka for the Interview
Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.