Oct 24, 2018 Pauliina Alanen
Julia’s career started off in Hollywood and she was working as a development executive for television networks when she met Kevin. “For two years I contemplated Kevin’s work in a booming tech company and realized that I was missing two key elements in my Hollywood career that were super apparent in Silicon Valley: meritocracy and velocity”, says Julia. She explains that while she never aspired to be an entrepreneur, she ultimately chose this path because she thrives on velocity.
Julia co-founded Eventbrite with Kevin and CTO Renaud Visage and launched operations in 2006. The founders were originally inspired by the notion of democratizing an industry using online payments and wanted to use that entry point to create a link between great technology and live experiences. “The gap that we saw was that while there was a solution for events at the largest arenas and also for small family gatherings, there was nothing available for what turns out to be a large middle market of event creators“, Julia explains. In 2017, Eventbrite’s platform enabled more than 700,000 creators to plan, promote, and produce successful live experiences all over the world.
Eventbrite’s business model is simple: The company charges creators on a per-ticket basis when an attendee purchases a paid ticket for an event. According to Julia, the key to Eventbrite’s user acquisition is three-fold: First, creators become aware of Eventbrite through word of mouth or their experiences as attendees at events produced by other Eventbrite creators. Second, the company has built a substantial library of articles and tips for planning, promoting and producing successful events, which elevates the brand and drives prominence in search engine results. Lastly, they’ve kept the platform open for free events, which has attracted more people to start to use it. More than 95% of creators who used Eventbrite in 2017 signed themselves up.
One of the most recognized female leaders in technology, Julia has been honored as one of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs (2013), Elle’s Women in Tech (2015) and most recently was featured on Marie Claire’s 6th annual New Guard Power List made up of 50 women building a new world order. For women entrepreneurs at the start of their career, Julia says the best strategy is to surround yourself with people that will make you stronger and better. “I’ve built a tribe of teammates, advisors, and investors, who constantly inspire me, push me and support me,” Julia explains. “It’s easy to think that you need to be ‘Superwoman’ and that you’re expected to try and juggle everything on your own, but it’s braver to learn to both ask for and accept help.”
Under Julia’s leadership, an award-winning company culture and workplace performance have remained an integral part of Eventbrite. “The company to me is the culture – who you are and how you show up in the world for your team and your customers”, Julia explains. Without giving away too much, in her talk “From 50 No’s to IPO” with Harry Stebbings at Slush Julia will share her insights regarding company culture after acquisitions. Eventbrite has made nine acquisitions, and according to Julia has a strong track record for retaining talent from the new companies, including many of the founders. The acquisitions have contributed to creator and revenue growth and expanded the platform’s reach and capabilities. “No two acquisitions are exactly the same, but we’ve been successful in finding like-minded teams who share a common ethos around serving creators”, Julia goes on.
Eventbrite has grown into a global company of more than more than 1,000 employees, that the company calls Britelings. They currently have 14 offices in 11 countries, including the UK, Germany, Australia, and Brazil among others. While the acquisitions have contributed to international growth, it can also be attributed to the company’s dedication to identifying and hiring top talent. This is something Kevin Hartz will focus on at Slush during a fireside chat that focuses on “founder mentality.” He will be spilling his secrets on what he looks for in talent whether it’s investing in a company or in hiring and building out teams. In addition to being Co-Founder and currently Chairman of Eventbrite, Kevin co-founded a fintech company Xoom acquired by PayPal and been Venture Partner at Founders Fund.
What’s up next for Julia and Eventbrite? At the moment she describes being laser-focused on working with the team to empower creators around the globe to turn their passions into successful businesses. “Live experiences are transformative, especially in an age where we may all be living virtually. From the very start, we have wanted to build something that leveraged technology for deeper connection,” says Julia. She mentions the company is simultaneously benefitting from and impacting two trends: the increasing need for real-life interaction and the growing preference for spending on experiences over things. “We will continue to focus on enabling entrepreneurs to build businesses around their passions and in turn, fuel the large and growing global market for live experiences”, Julia says regarding the future of Eventbrite.
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