Spacehuntr book and manage unique Work, Play & Stay spaces for corporate events
Please introduce yourself and your startup Spacehuntr to our readers!
Hi I’m Dietrich, retired investment manager and co-founder of Spacehuntr. Spacehuntr is a fully integrated 360° platform that enables businesses to book and manage unique Work, Play & Stay spaces for corporate events in one easy to use platform that acts as a digital event planner.
Our clients are some of the largest international corporations such as Airbnb, UBER, Netflix, Gucci, etc. and absolutely love that they can book and manage everything for their international event in just one place, instead of having to silobook the venue, hotel, transport, etc. We are operating internationally, currently out of 13 popular European MICE cities and are headquartered in Belgium.
How did you get the idea of Spacehuntr?
During my corporate life I had the unfortunate pleasure to spend an insane amount of hours in dreadful and tiring meeting rooms – basically further draining the life out of us. This didn’t necessarily spark the idea to launch Spacehuntr, but it did create a profound aversion to traditional corporate meetings, which later would serve as the backbone of Spacehuntr.
In fact, Spacehuntr was initially meant to be a platform for the coolest coworking spaces. We had it all figured out – or at least we thought so. We spent over 6 months automating the product, it was beautiful and included more features than a full option Mercedes Benz. Only issue was, we forgot to test on a beachhead market and hence developed a product without having a market.
Luckily, we realised that rather soon, but the actual turning point though came with our first sale. It turned out the client was lost, and was looking for a unique venue in Brussels but couldn’t figure out where to go. Being from the USA, he also couldn’t possibly do a site visit. We ended up taking care of it all, made some money on the way and, more importantly, realised we could specialise in helping foreign clients find the most unique spaces for their international events.
Why did you decide to start with Spacehuntr?
Whilst I always worked in events such as festivals, nightclubs or major industry fairs during my student years, my professional background prior to Spacehuntr lies in institutional real estate investments. After spending approximately 7 years in investments, the thrill was gone, and those long hours in dreadful meeting rooms were really starting to wear on me. I started to look for new challenges.
It was my friend and co-founder, Michael Luckx, who started the fire for a new venture. Having lived in Berlin for a few years, he got inspired and wanted to set out on a venture as well. So being friends for years, he approached me to start a venture together. In the beginning I was a bit reluctant to start a business with a friend – always kept them separate – but after some insisting from his part, we eventually decided to go for it. Some years later now, I can definitely say that I could not wish for a better partner, he is everything I am not and vica versa, both in terms of skillset and background as well as personality. Being complimentary founders is probably one of the most important factors for long term success.
What is the vision behind Spacehuntr?
Spacehuntr wants to eliminate all friction and limits to organising amazing events abroad. In fact, we want to make sure people on the other side of the world can organise some amazing events in special locations, with the best partners (eg. catering, transport, etc) all done in a few clicks. It takes on average 8 weeks to organise an event abroad, with lots of headaches due to different local languages and market contracts (especially in Europe). We are on a mission to remove all friction and make it a question of minutes instead of weeks. Not bad
How difficult was the start and which challenges you had to overcome?
Our start was fairly straight forward – we didn’t have any major capital expenses. It was just a question of executing and executing the right things. In this light, we did have some issues. As mentioned, in the beginning we made the classic mistake of automating a product that we thought the market wanted. Instead of testing our product first and afterwards automating what the market actually wants. This mistake cost us our first 6 months and we only generated money after that point. So indeed we can confirm, earning the first euro is the hardest.
Another starter’s issue that I believe we managed well was to focus on a small, controllable market first (in our case Brussels), which we used as our beachhead market to test and finetune the product further. As with anything, the beginning is usually the hardest, as you have little to no track record, negatively impacting credibility. Hence it’s important to choose your market wisely and test, test, test before scaling.
Who is your target audience?
We can add most value to international companies seeking to host an event abroad. Hence our ideal client profile (ICP) are large international organisations organising events abroad on a frequent basis. Think about product launches, hackathons, conferences and internal (lately often multi-day) workidays. In other words, our target audience are truly large global corporations such as Airbnb, Amazon, Tesla, Netflix, etc.
What is the USP of your startup?
Our integrated system. Let me explain, as do most companies, we have competitors. But all of them focus on one particular niche – for example, one focuses on venue booking, another on reserving restaurants and another one to book hotels. Forcing them to silobook everything for their international event separately. With Spacehuntr they can now book all of this in one place and save a ton of time on the way. And the best part, all communication is centralised in one system, further simplifying the process whilst reducing the risk of human error.
Can you describe your typical workday?
Sure, my first 15 to 20 min I spend checking my emails for any urgent matters and reviewing the sales data of the previous day. We use the Hubspot reporting tool for this, which works fantastically. I want more info on something, I can just click through to see all deal data. In case I have any other questions remaining, I’ll forward to them to our sales director. After reviewing sales, I have a look at the previous data marketing and SEO results (traffic, backlinks, content published, etc). Then I usually have a brief meeting with our operations director to see how we are on operations and status of specific projects.
After all my follow ups are done, I check emails and try to catch up on what usually seems to be an endless list of tasks. I then try to further assign what I can, which usually brings us to lunch.
We will then go for a quick lunch. And as we are only with 11 in the HQ office, we tend to go all together. The afternoon, I try to dedicate myself to specific projects and tasks. In the second part of the day I usually have a sit down with the product development team and my cofounder to discuss progress from a product point of view. This is usually rather quick, so I can head back to project specific tasks after. At the end of the day it’s not uncommon to go for a beer at the bar in the office with the team.
Where do you see yourself and your startup Spacehuntr in five years?
Wow, 5 years. We have actually stopped planning that far. In fact, our projects usually have a max. timeline of 6 months. The reason for this is that, due to the fast moving nature of the business world today, we find it impossible to set targets for anything longer than 6 months. However, if we manage to maintain this growth and know our ambitions, I don’t think we will be far from having a global presence in the main economic hubs.
What 3 tips would you give to founders?
Choose progress over perfection. It’s more important to start and improve than to wait for the perfect product to be ready.
Nothing is as valuable as real market feedback. So if you can test, test! Too often we have a preconceived idea of what a product should look like and what features users want. Whilst in reality, users might want or need a completely different product or feature. This mismatch is especially present in the early stages, until the product-market fit has been achieved.
Start before you are ready and then follow rule 2!
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