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Dmitry Grekov, is the CTO and Co-Founder of Venue Cricket. In addition to his role at Venue Cricket he is also a consultant with Accenture and a lifetime technologist. He has been working with the web since 1998 and has been creating eCommerce platforms and sites since 2001. He has developed in many languages and on many different platforms. His current interests are taking him in the direction of eCommerce in the Cloud and mobile eCommerce.
Venue Cricket connects venue owners with event organizers. The team believes that the market for venues is extremely inefficient, with great venues standing empty and event organizers spending unnecessary amounts of time searching for a venue that meets their budget and needs. Venue Cricket provides a listing of venues for all categories of events: parties, lectures, dinners, conferences, meetings, etc.
MO: Tell us about the need you saw for a company like Venue Cricket and the beginnings of making your idea a reality?
Dmitry: About 5 months back we were organizing a TEDx conference. The effort to find a place was so great that we thought that there must be a better way. We had to call around many places. Reaching a person and getting a quote was hard enough, not to mention any kind of comparison shopping. In the world where most industries have been revolutionized by the internet, the process of booking a venue seemed antiquated. In order to rectify this situation we set out to create a marketplace for venues, where customers can search and compare multiple venues to find the best fit.
MO: How were you able to develop and launch a full custom eCommerce platform within just three months?
Dmitry: From the beginning we followed two principles, don’t build it until you need it and release often. When we were developing the platform we did not spend time wondering what our users might need. We built just the minimal features we knew would be needed. This allowed us to get to market faster and get user feedback faster. Then and only then were we able to find out what additional features our users really needed. We also release very often, sometimes even on a weekly basis. This allows us to spend the minimal amount of time on something before we get validation on our design. If the design is solid, we expand it further, if the design is not; we have not wasted much time.
MO: What were you doing before starting Venue Cricket?
Dmitry: Before starting Venue Cricket I worked as a consultant for various organizations. In this capacity, I built eCommerce platforms for small and large companies. Seeing how these systems were built and how people used them led me to great insights into the online shopping and purchasing process. This experience helped me design Venue Cricket with a highly streamlined interface.
MO: How are you providing business owners with a tool to make some extra money? Have you put any restrictions or guidelines on the venues people can offer?
Dmitry: We have not put any limits on venue types. One of our selling points is that we have a variety of venues to offer. Also, we are not always sure ourselves what types of venues will have a market for them and which ones won’t. For example, if someone listed an airplane as a venue, there may or may not be interest in renting it. We are very open to testing the market!
MO: What’s one of the most interesting or unusual venues you have available for hire?
Dmitry: One of the most interesting venues we have is a design atelier that specializes in window treatments. Many business owners maintain beautiful spaces as part of their operation and it is both beneficial to their business and fun to host events after hours. Another one of our venues is a Bentley Dealership. This opens up interesting possibilities for event organizers because the cars can be used as part of the event decorations!
MO: You’re not just content to offer venues. What other services are you hoping to add within the coming months? What do your plans for expansion look like?
Dmitry: Our first plans for expansion will likely be geographical. Currently we are operating only in Chicago and the next step for us will be to expand to other cities. After that we can add all kinds of related services such as catering and event insurance to the mix. The ultimate goal would be to allow individuals to plan an entire event without leaving the site.
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