ACE Startup Feature – Venuerific
The People Factor
Serial entrepreneur Ricardo Sentosa found success with Venuerific four years ago, after a string of failures taught him an important lesson about working with the right people.
At 15 years of age, Ricardo Sentosa started his first mini business trading watches. He would purchase them from the United States and sell them in Australia, where he was studying, for a small profit. The entrepreneurial spirit in him was evident but, at his parents’ behest, he completed a Business degree and embarked on a career in the financial sector.
Even as he climbed the corporate ladder, Ricardo was passionate about building something that would make an impact. His first online venture was a talent marketplace for creative professionals, which he worked on after office hours with a group of co-founders. But things went south quite quickly when a co-founder in charge of technology development wanted out.
Ricardo was unfazed and continued searching for his next startup opportunity — an online coupon platform that convinced him to sign up as a co-founder, investing both time and money. Unfortunately, the founder took off with the money.
“I learnt a lot about people through these experiences. It’s really important to work with people who share your vision and who have the passion and grit to succeed,” said Ricardo, who now shares his experience with fellow entrepreneurs through the ACE Peer Group. The programme is designed for business owners of similar profiles to connect in an open but confidential environment while providing and receiving peer support.
“I’ve also learnt that it’s just as important to understand who you’re working with. After I met my Venuerific co-founder at a networking event, I did some research on him before inviting him to join me,” he said.
His prudence paid off, as his co-founder was critical to laying the technological foundation for Venuerific, an online marketplace for event spaces. After six months, in September 2013, Venuerific came online, his co-founder retreated as a silent partner and Ricardo left his corporate job to focus on the startup.
“I think full-time commitment is necessary to really grow the business. To be frank, it wasn’t an easy decision to leave a stable, well-paying job in an international bank. I was at a crossroads: do I follow the money or follow my passion? Finally, I decided to take the path that would offer me more opportunities to learn and grow,” shared Ricardo, who was just one month shy of his 30th birthday when he made the big decision.
Today, at four years old, Venuerific offers curated event spaces across five territories (Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia), and has a team of 11 people and counting.
“Looking ahead, we’ll definitely be expanding into more countries and improving our platform with new features like a real-time scheduling and booking system. But to support all that, we first need good leaders in place,” said Ricardo.
“There are a couple of things I look for in people, including good education and personal achievements. I love working with people who have been entrepreneurs themselves before. It doesn’t matter if they failed; it matters more that they tried. Because I believe that the more you have failed, the more likely you are to succeed.”
Learn more about Venuerific at http://venuerific.com.
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