Anyone who's ever planned a wedding or a destination event knows the struggle associated with finding the right venue. There are a lot of sites that offer venue suggestions, but they're often not well-aggregated or -curated. You have to sort through a lot of mediocre options to find the few gems.
Former event planner Cortnie Purdy-Fausner knew this struggle all too well. She was having trouble finding what she was looking for online, so in true entrepreneurial spirit, she took it upon herself to create a solution.
Cortnie and her husband Donny created The Venue Report, a carefully curated site of unique venues for hosting private events. The venues they've curated span the globe and include everything from tree houses to teepees to industrial warehouses. Their Venue Directory fully launched in December 2014.
The Venue Report offers a two-sided solution – one that benefits the venue searcher, or “Celebrator”, and one that benefits the venues. Celebrators can search based on location, celebration type, and a number of other filters. To ensure quality, each venue is vetted by the team before an invitation to join as a venue is issued. The site is invitation only, but those venues who get accepted as Member Venues have complete control over their own profiles. They update their current information, and manage and receive direct qualified leads for group bookings.
A Family-Oriented Team
The team at The Venue Report are tight-knit and celebrate the smallest of victories. They also face challenges as a team, offering support to each other when the going gets tough. According to Cortnie and Donny:
“While we have large goals, we pride ourselves on maintaining a very team-oriented, fun environment. Cortnie’s event design background and the Venue Report’s style influence dictates your work environment and whom you choose to work with are vital to your happiness as an employee. We put a lot of time and effort into making our office space warm & inviting, relaxed and each work space tailored for our employees likes & strengths. We set realistic goals for each department and toot party horns when anyone meets a new goal. If one person wins, the team wins. If a setback is suffered, we all try to figure out how to get back on track. Also, we’re very family oriented – our two-year-old daughter and 10-year-old French Bulldog, Bubba, make frequent appearances. Office culture, a supportive and team-oriented environment as well as clearly set goals and realistic expectations make for a wonderful and motivated team.”
Going Against Traditional Startup Advice
They've considered themselves lucky to have great advisors who offer good advice. However, there are some bits of what might be considered traditional startup advice that they have not seen as a good fit for their venture. For example, they do not believe they should “raise as much money as you can at the highest valuation you can.”
“We believe that this can be dangerous. Though you do want to raise as much money as you can, we think it’s important that you do not raise so much upfront that you are forced to go through a down round. Our opinion is to raise as much capital as you think is necessary to get you from A to B.”
San Diego: A Dream City to Startup In
“First of all we’re from San Diego – Encinitas to be exact, so home is where the heart is! It definitely feels like San Diego is Southern California’s version of Silicon Valley – it’s a fabulous culture for startups especially in the technology sector. We were fortunate enough to go through a top-notch incubator program as we launched the site which helped put the proper infrastructure and advisors in place. We’ve also found that San Diego itself, being so close to the beach and being named the 4th fittest city in the country breeds some excellent employees – motivated, smart, experienced and well-rounded who live and breathe our gathering ethos.”
The Venue Report is currently in 63 countries, 208 states/provinces, and 615 cities around the world. They're moving into their second round of funding this month after securing a pre-seed round of over $500,000 prior to their December 2014 launch.