An exclusive Tech Tribune Q&A with Jon Romm, the founder and CEO of Venuetize, which was honored in our:
Tell us the origin story of Venuetize – what problem were you trying to solve and why?
We were trying to have a more simple and supportive approach to navigating large downtown district areas, sports and gaming venues, and hospitality. We felt all of the capabilities were there on their own, but there was a need for a single backend that manages all the technologies and allows them to operate harmoniously, along with an elegant user experience.
What was the biggest hurdle you encountered in your journey?
We were early enough that the industry and investors were still skeptical of mobile-first technology as the answer for the long term future. Wi-Fi, DAS, and cellular were not where they needed to be to make sure that platforms, and therefore, applications, could work and be ubiquitously adopted for use.
What does the future hold for Venuetize?
We believe the next area of focus for our platform will be gamification and extended loyalty for those under 21 years of age. For those 21 and older, it will be day-of betting, fantasy, and a more complete immersive viewing experience. We’ve already built the utility and commerce modules of the platform, and know that we are positioned for this positive shift. Additionally, we believe that broadcast rights have continued to grow in value for sports and entertainment. We believe the next real revenue growth area will be unicast rights and interest around players, with a specific focus on fantasy teams and highlights for those who are betting. We believe the mobile handset is the correct platform for that individualized distribution.
What are your thoughts on the local tech startup scene in Tampa?
We have been impressed by the significant growth in the high-tech companies and capabilities in Tampa. We know a good deal of that growth is spearheaded by many of the families and companies that we support as our clients. We are proud to be the provider of service for many of our local teams and businesses, and are hopeful we can continue to grow and make progress as those local companies continue to do so.
What’s your best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Learn to level out emotions. There will be good days and not so good days. Be strong about your commitment to what you set out to do, but understand that pivots are not failures – they are guidance shifts. Search out supportive investors and shareholders/board members so that you are comfortable enough to focus on running a business, not managing the politics of running a startup. Recognize there is a difference between raising money and maintaining governance control.