Hey folks! My name is Harold Hughes and I'm looking forward to connecting with all of you in this week's AMA.
But before we get started, I want to share a little about myself. I'm a first-generation American born in NYC and raised in South Carolina. I'm a startup founder, angel investor, and mentor. I started my company, Bandwagon, back in 2014 just as I finished my MBA (Clemson University). In the beginning, it was an idea to help college sports fans protect home-field advantage when they bought and sold tickets. I spent my nights and weekends de-risking the idea, the business model, and ultimately myself as a startup founder. In the Fall of 2015, I went through an idea incubator called Founder Institute and that prepared me to finally make the leap. In January 2016, after nearly a decade in corporate America, I "burned the boats" and went all in on Bandwagon.
As a first-time founder, I had to learn about fundraising, hiring (and firing), and relationship building. At the end of 2017, we pivoted from a B2C fan-facing ticket marketplace to a B2B data and analytics company. It was really difficult but in the end, it was the right decision so I'm glad that when we did it, we fully committed (that's incredibly important in pivoting).
Today, Bandwagon is an identity infrastructure solutions company. Our first product, Aura, is for the live event industry to help event organizers improve fan engagement, increase day of event revenue, and optimize sponsorship value by focusing on who is in their venue on the day of the event. Our second solution is our Bandwagon Blockchain Platform where we help our customers manage consumer information. Lastly, our newest product will be released in Q3 as a result of our acquisition of IdealSeat, Inc. in Q1 2020 so stay tuned!
We are a venture-backed startup that has raised funding in literally every way possible, including a successful equity crowdfunding campaign with Republic! As an operator and a connector, I'm lucky to get to connect with entrepreneurs from every industry and every background. This level of access and insight gave me the opportunity to become an angel investor where I've invested in companies like Partake Foods, the Jay-Z backed line of delicious, nutritious, allergy-friendly snacks (now available in Target NATIONWIDE) and Kanna, which provides a pipeline of qualified, trained workers for cannabis farms and dispensaries.
You can ask me anything - seriously. As a Black founder, one of the things that I'm most passionate about is creating a roadmap for founders to navigate the "unspoken rules" part of the startup world. I believe in the tranformative power of transparent storytelling so to that point, feel free to ask about raising capital as a solo founder that isn't technical, building relationships to raise millions as a company that isn't HQ'd in the Bay Area, or even some of my favorite recipes and kitchen gadgets. Also, given the current environment surrounding COVID-19 aka "the Rona", I'm happy to share tips that we practice for communicating as a distributed team as well as techniques and tactics for being an engaged leader through uncertain times.
Let’s get started!
Republic Venture Partner AMA (Ask Me Anything) is a weekly series. Feel free to ask questions in the discussion section below.* He will be answering questions Wednesday 5/20 through Friday 5/22 so submit your questions now!
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