Ben shares the kind of golden nuggets in this conversation that you would expect when you understand his back story.
Firstly, he helped grow Rough Hill, the UK’s largest millennial events and marketing agency, from a bedroom startup to 2,000 events a year with more than 2million customers and employing more than a thousand people across the UK. Then sold it to Chime PLC after working with huge global brands and soaking up the experience that came with it.
He then launched and ran Rise with his wife Lisa, a winter snowsports festival in France, helping it double in size over the first 3 years to more than 5,000 attendees, before running other adventure travel experiences in the Sahara desert and Swedish archipelago as part of Beyond Adventures. Frustrated by the lack of tools to run and grow their experience business, they decided to build their own software.
And so Easol was born.
Ben and Lisa took Easol through YCombinator, the best known startup accelerator in the world, and rubbed shoulders with the best of the best in Silicon Valley, soaking up knowledge at every turn.
They are now coming out the other side, growing the business and using everything they’ve learned to develop a product they love and they know their customers need. Having now raised $4.5million they are looking to make an impact.
Our conversation covers everything from how to create a great brand to hiring fantastic people. And of course we delve into the YCombinator experience and the many, many learnings that have come from that.
If you like hearing stories about people doing business differently then you’ll love this one. I certainly did, and I’ve got pages and pages of takeaways that I’m going to implement with our work at SEO Travel.
Background and expertise
Joining Rough Hill events company and helping it grow
Launching Rise Festival
How Rise led to the idea for Easol
First steps in starting Easol
Applying for YCombinator and the process that followed
Thoughts and advice on getting investment
What is the mission they’re on?
The experience economy
Recommendations for building a strong brand
Key lessons learned
Growing a top team
How to go about bigger thinking
Working with a co founder
Advice to people starting a travel business
Future plans for Easol and their foundation
“Know what’s important at the time. Get comfortable with ignoring some problems in the business and focus on what the most important challenge is.”
Listen to us on