What do you currently do?
I am the CEO-Founder of Culture Trip. We are one of the fastest growing media-tech startups, providing exciting and intriguing cultural inspiration and recommendations from local experts all around the world. We produce content by location, with thousands of articles, videos, photos and illustrations published every month across our site, social media and app. We’ve recently hit 6.2 million unique users on our site, so mainly I’ve been managing the rapid growth of the business, and preparing for our app relaunch later this year.
What was the inspiration behind your business?
I have always been passionate about finding novels set in the places i travelled to. For example, if I went to Tokyo, I would make a lot of effort beforehand to find the best novels and films set in Japan, etc. My academic career in psychiatry included a lot of travel, so I built up quite a library over the years! Add to that a strong entrepreneurial drive and a general ambition to make local culture globally and universally accessible, and you have the initial key ingredients to start up a company.
What defines your way of business?
My background and training in psychiatry, plays a key role in everything I do: from recruitment to management and negotiations. Culture Trip is a uniquely, global multidisciplinary company where tech meets media and creative industries and there’s really powerful cross-pollination. Somebody called us militantly multidisciplinary, which I quite liked. Other than that, I would say day-in-day out relentless application and focus. Also a concerted effort to pick up and read what is happening in the media/tech space. Senior management at Culture Trip out-reads the competition in my opinion. Finally, of course, data, data, and some more… data.
Who do you admire?
Jeff Bezos for the relentless long-term way in which he built an unrivalled global, innovative company that completely changed the way we shop and live. Warren Buffet for building it all up and eventually… giving most of it away; not to mention his little known support for civil rights way back. Wong Kar-Wai for showing love and life in 108 minutes of film, in a way nobody has before or since.
Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?
I am quite happy with the way we did things so far: a relentless focus on studying, measuring and adding value week after week, month after month. Of course, there are some hires I would have avoided but in general, I feel that we did things in the right way and made the right decisions and choices.
What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out?
Focus on the long term. Save money and don’t set yourself up in needlessly expensive incubator spaces. It’s more often than not, not good value for money. Pick yourself up after a bad day (just work it off); enjoy and celebrate achieving milestones; and allow at least 5 years (maybe 10) to be taken up almost entirely by your start-up. And read!