Targeting Experience Spenders, Everfest Co-CEO Talks Festival App

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to the individual prices. That’s going to require a few other additional integrations, but we see that is something that is going to happen in 2016 as well. We can become a one-stop shop. You see on our site a wine festival in Seattle or a film festival in Boston, and boom, you see an all-in price on the page.

X: Do you have any advisors with experience in that?

JM: Yes, one of our close advisors is a former GM of Expedia, Sunil Bhatt, who has helped us a lot in that area. We are selling both hotel and Airbnb right now, and in the future we will look to add flights, cars, and tickets, which eventually can be bought as part of a “all-in” package.

X: Are you still operating on the $1.5 million you received from ATX Seed Ventures in April?

JM: We’re close to closing out on a $2 million round, which we’ll be doing shortly. Sometime in the second half of 2016 will be when we’ll be looking at raising an institutional round.

X: How involved are you with uShip and what’s the most interesting thing happening there?

JM: I’m an advisor and a fairly active one. I’m not involved in the day-to-day and not officially on the board. I’m still actively watching and am still a large shareholder. They’ve had a great year. They’re starting to really go after the enterprise space there. They’ll be announcing some large partnerships soon, though I don’t think it’s public yet. It’s gone from a startup as a consumer play, and while consumers are still very important, the future growth of uShip is going to be in the SMB and enterprise space.

X: How hard was moving on?

JM: Some ways were easy and some were really difficult. It was easy in the sense that I wanted to try out a new industry, and get back to early stage. It was extremely interesting and I learned a lot as far as personally going from being super hands to being a manager of human capital when I left. I did well at that, but I think I’m better suited to earlier stage.

X: Even though it was founded in 2003, it seems like it took until “Shipping Wars” was broadcast in 2012 on A&E for uShip to really take off.

JM: Yes, one big inflection point was absolutely the TV show, which allowed us to get to a lot of consumers. We never would have been able to afford that type of exposure if it wasn’t for that. That was kind of one of those right place, right time type of things. We knew some TV guys, back in the day. They shared office space with us when their company and ours was just starting. We talked with them and they were making some other TV show. We joked about how insane some of the things that get shipped on the site are, and how the drivers are characters themselves and have larger than life personalities. Those two things are I guess music to any reality TV show producers ears. Crazy personalities and wacky images? Sounds like a TV show. Again, it’s better to be lucky than good.

X: It seems like you’re on track to get a faster start to Everfest, though.

JM: uShip was a pure utility, right? Except for the TV show, which was the only thing that got people interested who didn’t have the need to ship. Otherwise, we would gain people at the point of need. Yes, we can get you at the point of where you’re looking for a festival. But there are lots of other ways we can reach out to you and make you interested in Everfest. Regardless of where you are, as far as going to a festival. The audience is essentially all consumers of adult age. Typically people ship something large every couple years.

X: What are the numbers on how many consumers you can actually target with Everfest?

JM: One out of three people every year will go to an arts or cultural based festival in the U.S. That’s 100 million people a year. Just about every adult will go to at least one festival a year. Festivals span every possible form of culture. If you’re not interested in music, movies, film, or books or food, you kind of don’t have a pulse.

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David Holley is Xconomy's national correspondent based in Austin, TX. You can reach him at dholley@xconomy.com Follow @xconholley

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