07 Feb BAKUUN – MARCO BACCHILEGA
BAKUUN helps the hotels to increase the revenue by transforming the inventory into new products, creating benefits for the end user with a new way to book a hotel room and benefits for the travel agencies by offering new products to sell.
Marco Bacchilega is a serial entrepreneur that founded its first company, a pharma startup, at 22!
Its first exit was at 28 and for the next 3 years, he was enjoying life while thinking in his next company. Tourism and travel was his choice to start again so he decided that the best way to launch it was to follow his gut and his experience as he did with his first company: understand the market and get to know it from scratch! Therefore, he did. He spent a year and half working on all types of jobs and doing research testing the product, the market fit, getting feedback and looking for a tech partner.
The very first problem that a non-tech entrepreneur faces is looking for the right people to translate your idea into code…that is the biggest challenge. Who is going to be your partner? How do you find the right person to share your business with? I was lucky enough to find my “partner in crime” in India, Santosh Kumar , a top tech executive that became Co-Founder and CTO and helped Bakuun to be a reality!
What makes LATAM/Europe a great opportunity for startups?
LATAM is a good fit for Bakuun due to the characteristics of our business…many LATAM airports suffer from traffic congestion and frequent travel delays that means a lot of money for travel companies, solving that problem is where we provide value, and our product has a market fit.
On the other hand, as in many other regions worldwide, Latin American tourists will be traveling; more than one billion travelers in the near future and they usually travel closely within the region. Latin America is home to one of the world’s most youthful demographics, with a large bubble of young people set to travel!
Access to talent is another asset in the region. LATAM has developed a lot of technology for other countries and that has generated a huge pool of highly qualified tech people
What are the main challenges startups are facing when expanding to LATAM/Europe?
Headquarters in different regions means higher costs and more coordination efforts due to different time zones, culture and mobility. We have to figure out the perfect recipe for managing business and the time gap.
There are zillions of administrative and bureaucratic steps to follow when hiring foreigners or launching your start up abroad. It takes more time filing in all needed administrative and immigration files, visa forms etc, that getting the new employee up to speed. For example while being in Korea in an entrepreneurship grant program I have realized how easy is to start from scratch and how streamlined is everything for the entrepreneur there compared with LATAM or Europe. We need the visa and hiring, and bureaucratic processes streamlined in other regions like Koreans do. There are very successful regional programs such as Startup Chile that have streamlined all this for the entrepreneurs and I would love to be part of the Chilean program to get their support!
In LATAM, language is sometimes a barrier as everything, data, facts, news, trend reports, etc. are only available in Spanish…accessing to information, facts, doing research etc for English speakers has proven to be a challenge.
What is the best advice you have recently received?
The best advice when becoming an entrepreneur came from my mentor: Work hard all day long! Think in 24/7 working hours with no personal life, no time for leisure, and no time at all for the first 2 years of your startup! He was damn right!
Key learnings/recommendation for startups planning to enter the LATAM/Europe market.
- Hard work, hard work and hard work!
- Go for a 5 % of something better that aiming at a 25% of nothing and walk away losing it all
- Look for a local partner
- Prepare yourself to live like a monk in a monastery for the first 2 years of your startup…it pays off working 24/!