“A beautiful idea doesn’t always make a big business… Our journey is coming to an end.”
Today, after more than:
- 120 events in Brussels and London (including coffee tasting sessions, art gallery tours and an underground concert in a hotel lobby)
- 600+ participants
- 2000+ users
- 15,000€+ generated for passionate hosts
We officially announce that we have decided to stop working on Kicktable full-time. It has been an amazing journey.
In March 2011, we decided to launch a business to make urban life more exciting. After testing the idea with as little capital as possible, in December 2011, we successfully launched the first version of the website in Brussels. The feedback from early adopters was overwhelming and we moved to London quicker than we had anticipated. If we could prove the concept in a city like London then the sky would really become the limit.
We left our flats, wife, girlfriend, friends… and jumped into the Eurostar. In London, people loved the idea of exploring a city in a more authentic way and many talented people supported our launch in February 2012.
After talking to investors and incubators, we eventually decided to join the Springboard accelerator. We loved their team and felt that they would offer the best environment for us to grow our business in.
From April to July, based in the amazing Google Campus, we worked harder than we ever had before. We met hundreds of amazing people, flew to New York and San Francisco to visit competitors and to get more insights into our market, we tested different ideas and iterated on our business model while remaining faithful to our vision.
This vision was to enable people to explore cities differently. We wanted to build a new market of experiences run by passionate individuals. We thought (and still think) that urban life has more to offer than daily deals website. If we could offer something more authentic, interesting and qualitative than Groupon, we would certainly be able to build a big business. This vision was coupled with a beautiful idea: help people to make money by sharing their skills or passion. This idea not only convinced ourselves but also attracted the interest of the press, top-tier investors, incubators, mentors, etc.
After all our hard work, we came to the conclusion that we don’t think this business can be scaled to the size that it needs. While we still hope that people will explore cities in a more authentic way, we don’t believe it will happen via a profitable peer-to-peer marketplace (at least not now).
Kicktable was built and marketed as a community marketplace for authentic experiences; it was also dubbed as “an Airbnb or Etsy for activities”. Similarly to those highly successful p-2-p marketplaces, for the economics of the business to work, it needs to be scalable. In our case, it means having hundreds of events hosted by our community in dozens of cities. The market for activities is local and fragmented; it would certainly benefit from a global community marketplace. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that Kicktable can scale in the same way Airbnb or Etsy have scaled.
As someone wisely told us in the beginning: “Be passionate about your idea, but never fall in love with it, otherwise you won’t be able to kill it when needed” . We have been passionate about building our marketplace for unique urban activities. This year has been one of the most intense and incredible of our lives but now we feel it’s time to move on.
We want to thank all the people who have supported us: users, hosts, mentors, advisors, friends, Facebook fans, Twitter followers, etc. A special thanks to our girlfriends for coping with our “unbalanced” lifestyle, to the Belgian flat who allowed us to transform their living room into our dorm room for 3 months, to John, Jess and all the Springboard team for their incredible help.
We love what we have done and are extremely excited to tackle new challenges.
See you soon,