Subasta de Ocio has taken the Spanish love for good bargains and the lottery, and made it into a rapid growing business, serving not only the people, but businesses in the country as well.
The company was founded in Barcelona in 2012 by two Dutch guys, Marc Zinck Stagno and Mark Knapen, and the current board also include Julian Gardner and Roel Spee.
Subasta de Ocio have around 500.000 users in Spain.
The company auctions off everything from vacations, travels, leisure activities and more, and you only pay if you win the auction.
“We really hit a nerve in Spain, especially after the 2008 economic downturn, people have been looking for a way to enjoy life a bit cheaper than before,” says CEO and co-founder Marc Zinck.
The founders was initially inspired by people succeeding with similar companies in the Netherlands.
Going home to defend Spain
As you might have read late in April, Subasta de Ocio, was crowned the fastest growing startup in Spain, by The Next Web.
The two Dutch founders now return to the homeland, to defend Spain’s honor in the contest to find Europe’s fastest growing startup during The Next Web conference May 26 & 27 in Amsterdam.
COO, CFO and co-founder Mark Knapen use to live in Amsterdam:
“It’s a bit funny going back to my old hometown to represent Spain, but we’re really looking forward to it.”
But entering startup competitions is not the everyday routine for Subasta de Ocio, CEO Zinck explains:
“We entered the competition almost by coincidence, we usually don’t participate that much in events, but we’re so happy to have won!”
On stage during the TNW conference the startup gets to present their ideas for fast and healthy growth, and present Subasta de Ocio to Europe’s tech world.
And the chance to shine in front of a massive 20.000 people tech-audience, could not have come at a better time.
They celebrated a milestone of reaching their break even point in march 2016, and are now looking to expand out in Europe.
“We’re looking at Europe, and initially our neighboring countries Portugal and Italy,” says CEO Zinck.
But expanding is not free, and they hope to meet investors and potential partners at the conference.
Starting up in Spain
Even though Subasta de Ocio is doing great these days, starting up their business in Spain was not as easy as they thought, CEO Zinck explains with smile:
“I loved starting up here, but it was awful. You really need to learn how to play with the system, making it work for you, and not against you.”
In spite of a bit more bureaucracy than what they’re used to in the Netherlands, they love Barcelona.
“We could not have chosen a better place to start our business, and even though we grow and expand, we want our HQ to be located here,” says COO & CFO Knapen.
They hope going forward that more startups and bigger companies discovers Barcelona for more than the beach and the nightlife:
“The eco-system of startups in Barcelona is great, and it’s growing so fast,” says Zinck
As for competitors, there is none who’s doing the same as Subasta de Ocio in the country. The founders says there has been a couple of startups that have tried, but later on shaped into oure booking sites.
A secret recipe for growth?
The startup has grown a lot the last four years, and the initial six-man team, has grown into a strong herd of 40 + people.
The founders says there success is much based on their passion for numbers and their analysis of the market:
“We really feel and breathe our numbers. And our key to the fast growth has been our focus on product market-fit. You can have a great idea or product, but if your users do not like it, you have a problem,” says CEO Zinck.
Subasta de Ocio’s CTO Julian Gardner explained it like this:
“The thing that’s the truth today, may not be the truth tomorrow. That’s why we constantly try to figure out, what’s the truth for our company today.”
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