B2: How I founded ArtRoom

Business blog 2: Learn how I built up ArtRoom from an idea to a working website.

One intimate concert in my classmates’ apartment, sitting on the floor, sipping wine with my best friends, inspired me to create ArtRoom (read more in B1). My father soon confirmed there was market potential in the Netherlands, so what next?

Lucky for me, one of my best friends at Harvard is a serial entrepreneur: Melissa is just 26 years old and is already working on her third startup (that employs >70 people!). That same week we spent an afternoon on her couch running business models in Excel over some tea to see if the idea was financially feasible – at least on paper. Her enthusiasm and support helped me to really start believing in ArtRoom. 

I also managed to talk to the manager of groupmuse, through which my classmate had organized the concert. Groupmuse is a Boston-based platform coordinating and publishing chamber music concerts in and around Boston. Their biggest growth limiting factor was finding hosts willing to open up their house to strangers. This convinced me ArtRoom would launch as a private booking platform where hosts control the entire experience: choosing the artist, the ambiance and the audience. 

My entrepreneurship classes at Harvard had taught me to test as many as your assumptions as possible before investing heavily into the business. I listened to this, almost… I sent out a survey to musicians in my own and my father’s network and scheduled a trial concert during my next visit to Amsterdam (I also spent the majority of my classes in that first week doodling potential names in my notebook, until my father came up with ArtRoom).

However, impatient as I am, before waiting for the results, I hired a team of web developers online to build the initial version of the website. My other close friend at Harvard, an ex-Apple engineer, had to write down the specifications of the website, as my technical knowledge was limited to “I need an online booking platform… that works…”. 

I was fortunate to have my impatience payoff: That same summer ArtRoom launched in the Netherlands and within a few weeks we had more than 50 artists registered, most of which had already signed up through the initial survey.

Read about how we generated our first bookings in the next blog.

Visit us at http://www.artroom.live

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