Find a good team, advises Rukkus founder Manick Bhan

Comparing overpriced concert tickets can be an overwhelming process, especially when you’re looking at multiple sites for the best deal. However, New York-based startup Rukkus is making music and event experiences better for fans, not charging them higher prices. Their site and mobile app pulls inventory from over 100 ticket providers, including Ticketmaster, StubHub, and Ticketfly, and helps you discover events happening near you.

Rukkus founder Manick Bhan was inspired to found a company after growing increasingly frustrated with online live entertainment ticketing and discovery options and left his former job as a Goldman Sachs banker. The avid concert attendee frequently missed events, so he decided to combine his entrepreneurial chops and love of music into a product he believes will change the way fans purchase tickets in this highly competitive market.

We sat down with Bhan for this Member Spotlight series — a series that showcases the individuals behind startups and small businesses. Here’s what he shared:

My first “acquisition” happened when I was in middle school. The acquiring party happened to be my parents. I built websites for classmates and then local businesses — mostly basic sites I designed and coded in Dreamweaver. I had no trouble getting pizza shops, dry cleaners, and florists to sign up, so I hiked my prices accordingly. My parents eventually stepped in to shut things down. With my earnings, I was able to buy more bubble gum than any middle schooler I knew.

A band is probably the most challenging startup there is. In college, my entrepreneurial experience consisted of playing in a band and hustling to get gigs in and around Durham, North Carolina. Convinced we’d make it big time, I poured my energies into various promotional hacks, recording albums, and buying a ton of gear; but sadly, we went the way of most college bands, fading into oblivion. Secretly, I plan to use Rukkus to resurrect my old college band.

Rukkus is a live entertainment concierge that you carry in your pocket. It will keep you posted about what live events are happening near you, learn your likes and dislikes, offer recommendations, and then take care of all of the messy price comparison stuff so that you can snag tickets quickly and easily. We’re making this process of buying on mobile as streamlined as possible.

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I worked my butt off as a banker. I also enjoyed being a part of multi-million dollar trades because I loved learning and solving puzzles everyday. But it was frustrating that I couldn’t claim ownership if a successful trade was built off of one of my ideas.

The tipping point to start my own company was when Goldman Sachs asked me to start coding. I personally enjoy being able to take an idea, and then develop it into something concrete, without having to pass that idea off to someone else to develop for me. It gave me a sense for what I could do independently, so I finally followed the urge to leave and start something on my own.

If you’re going to be a founder of a tech-related company, you’ve got to have a very intimate knowledge of how coding works. At the end of the day, code is the foundation your company is built on. While it’s entirely possible to found a tech company with no technical skill whatsoever, I’d say it’s the more difficult path to take. It’s actually easier to learn some amount of coding so that you have a solid idea about what needs to be done during the initial product building stage and each product iteration.

Find a good team. Either assemble one or join one, depending on whether you have clarity about your business idea. The quality of the people that you work with, really in any context, will determine your success. It’s also much more satisfying to share your wins with an awesome team.

Here’s what I’m currently listening to: I like Armin van Buuren when I’m coding, Angus and Julia Stone when I’m trying to unwind, Red Hot Chili Peppers for the musicality and The Eagles. What can I say, I’m old fashioned.

Photographs by Lauren Kallen

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