"Instead of making small improvements we should invent technologies that have never existed before"
Renaud Visage is the Co-founder and CTO of the self-service ticketing platform Eventbrite. In 2014, Renaud was included in Wired UK's Top 100 digital influencers in Europe. He is mentoring and investing in startups in several European countries.
Mr. Visage, you are one of the "Top 100 digital influencers in Europe". For you personally, what is the most important digital topic you’d like to influence with regards to people and society?
I’m personally very concerned that the virtual spaces that technology create will become so compelling that people will lose touch with their humanity and stop connecting in the real world in meaningful ways.
We started Eventbrite because we believe that live experiences are the key in helping people grow as human beings, expand their professional and social circles and ultimately live richer lives.
You actively invest in startups. What area of digitization is most interesting from an investor's point of view?
Given my technical background as the CTO of Eventbrite, I am most passionate about companies that are solving some uniquely challenging technical problem whether that is with a view to deliver improved efficiency and performance for businesses or to launch a new and exciting consumer application.
What companies have you invested in most recently?
I’ve done a few angel investments over the last three years, mostly focused on companies with global ambitions based in Europe or started by European founders. I'm originally from France and investing in Europe is my way of giving back to the community, backing the best companies coming out of the continent, and helping them scale internationally.
My latest investments have been in Tribe (tribe.pm), a video communication app that has since successfully raised funding from Sequoia Capital in the US, Alkemics (alkemics.com), a French company which connects brands and retailers through smarter product data and that just raised €20M to further its growth, and StreetTeam (getstreetteam.com), a peer-to-peer marketing platform targeting millennials and based in the UK.
At the moment, what is your greatest challenge as internet entrepreneur - and how do you tackle it?
The greatest challenges for entrepreneurs, and not just internet entrepreneurs, have always been building and retaining the best talent, and deciding where to innovate next.
I’m immensely proud of the team that we have assembled and the passion that they all have for the company and for our industry. Day in and day out, they’re laser-focused on bettering our product lines, engaging with our customers to understand their needs and to solve their pain points, and delivering on our vision with total commitment. Defining and refining company cultures to get full alignment behind a vision is always the key to long term sustainability for start-ups and I think we’ve delivered exceptionally in that area.
As for where to innovate next, there are countless avenues we could pursue, and it is not always obvious which ones will benefit our event organisers and event goers the most. We made a decision very early on which has been critical in our success. We decided to concentrate on our core strengths – improving the experience for organisers and attendees before, during and after an event – and to become a platform so that our customers could connect our data with specialised services like Surveymonkey for attendee questionnaires, Mailchimp for email campaigns or Salesforce for a professional CRM. Thanks to our open API, we have successfully built Spectrum, an App Store with over 170 partners who seamlessly integrate with Eventbrite, allowing our users to use their favourite services alongside Eventbrite.
What will be the topic and the main points of your talk at CeBITGlobal Conferences?
The Internet of Things will accelerate the digitisation of live events, blurring the line between the offline and online world.
What do you expect from your visit to CeBIT?
I'm looking forward to connecting with innovative tech companies from around the world, catching up on the latest industry trends in Germany and beyond, and to get inspired by my fellow speakers at the CeBITGlobal Conferences.