Tech is going to revolutionize clubbing
Interview for DJ Mag Spain
More than half a billion people in the world went clubbing in 2017 and, if you are not amongst them, you have surely stepped in a club or festival once your life.
So if you still see the nightlife as a minor industry, you may want to rethink…
After quitting his corporate job in 2014, Mattia Franco, now age 28, decided it was time to roll the dice and change the way people live the best nights of their lives.
“It was back in 2013, I spoke to some club managers in San Francisco and we had it all clear. We needed to bring-in new technologies and change the events scene for good!” he recalls.
Fast-forward to today and Xceed has grown into one of the largest clubbing communities in the world, with more than 10 million clubbers joining since inception. Based in Barcelona & Milan, the startup has been awarded the "top 100 Apps in the world" by Apple and has been able to attract a stunning list of brand ambassadors amongst artists and influencers within the industry.
Tech vs. Techno: how did you bring these two worlds together?
People tend to think that there is nothing more different than attending an electronic party in Ibiza and having a drink with some hi-tech entrepreneurs in San Francisco. On the contrary, you can find the same passion for ethics, quality and team force, strongly embedded in these two worlds. Take raves, for example, one of the best learnings that techno can give entrepreneurs is on how to build a solid and cohesive community. And this is pure gold for today’s marketers.
Many startups have (unsuccessfully) tried hacking the pain of discovering and booking nightlife events, how did Xceed achieve its impressive traction?
I believe other companies approached the events’ industry from the wrong angle, the ticketing one. Since we started sketching our idea on paper, we had a clearly different focus: the people. They are the ones making the night special. That’s why, when we built a marketplace to connect clubbers and event organizers, we made sure the user experience was at the core of everything. Going out should be spontaneous, and Xceed empower clubbers to interact, follow their favorite artists, and book events in a single tap… so they can concentrate on having fun!
What trends do you foresee in the industry?
We have all been booking online hotels, flights, and restaurants since years, right? Nightlife is definitely lagging behind, but we are finally building hype around “rock&roll experiences” and “vices”. The viceconomy is just about to boom! Customer experience will get a prominent, central position in the industry, and personalized/technological advanced services that enhance these experiences will rise and grow.
How will technology change the way we do clubbing?
At Xceed, we partnered up with more than 600 clubs and some of the best spirit brands worldwide. We are working with them on building the best club management software ever existed in terms of bottle management, dynamic pricing, customer relationship management and analytics. But this is just the tip of the iceberg! We are soon going to be able to predict customer behaviors and purchasing habits through machine learning techniques that apply on both the booking side of the user journey and the in-event actions. This will allow clubs to personalize and democratize the nightlife experience based on their customers needs in terms of quality, content and pricing.
How does a typical day at Xceed look like?
We have a dogma at our offices: “is what I’m doing today gonna help us grow?” As a young team of 30 people, with 10 different nationalities, agility and focus are essential. We work hard, but we hit harder. This goes through the constant demand for perfection and the obsessions for our customers. It can be stressful but challenges have become our own oxygen and this is what makes our days fly. There’s nothing better than going to work with a strong dose of adrenaline and the desire to succeed.
Xceed has raised a total of 2 million Euro from international VCs, what is the most important factor that has lead you this far?
The Team. Nothing else. Luck, good timing and the right contacts are overrated. You may have a great idea, but without the right team you’ll hardly make something out of it.
What are your top 3 recommendations you would give to other entrepreneurs?
First: stop complaining. I find that, especially at early stage ventures, entrepreneurs spend too much time moaning about their bad luck and negative externalities. This is time they are not spending on making the difference.
Second: start asking. People are too afraid of asking questions. If you want to be successful, start from stopping people in the street, at the bar, on a plane, and ask them questions. Ask for ideas, for feedback, for introductions. You may risk losing time, but once you get the right connection, it will be the highest return on investment you will have ever achieved in life.
Lastly: work out. I have been through tens of all-nighters at the office, and when you are constantly under pressure you often feel like “it’s ok to skip gym today”. Don’t. Physical activity boosts your self-esteem (which you will need at the next pitch in front of a crowd) and helps you think clearly. This is your Holy Grail in making it through your daily challenges, so make sure you always find the time for some sport.
What’s on your New Year Resolutions’ list for 2018?
Empower people from all over the world to live the best nights of their lives. Anything else will just not be enough.