Blitz chatted to Justin Truong, co-founder of GigPick, a startup empowering local performers and connecting event organisers with live music acts.
How did the idea for GigPick come about?
I used to be very involved in various student societies on campus, where I organised events for the student constituency and through this, I was exposed to the live music scene. I had to organise live music events for students and it was not an easy task. You get a lot of cancellations and you don’t know how much you are paying until the performers arrive at the event. After about two years of struggling with this, I felt that there must be a better way to book singers, bands, and DJs for events. So I got a couple of uni mates together (now the co-founders of GigPick) and we brainstormed solutions to this problem. After a few months of iteration and testing, GigPick was born in August 2016.
What do you hope to achieve with GigPick?
Our long-term goal is to become a household name when booking musicians for events in Australia and the Asia Pacific. When anyone needs a singer, band or DJ for a bar, birthday party or wedding, we want to come to mind. We are operating in Sydney right now and are hoping to expand to Melbourne and other states in Australia by the end of the year. In a few years time, we want to move on to the Asia Pacific region. Our focus for now, is to first get it right and then expand. We have a team that oversees customer acquisitions, they develop our business by focusing on obtaining more clients. We have another team who scouts performers through word-of-mouth or scouting at events.
What difficulties have you faced throughout your journey?
Having to deal with team members who are not as motivated as the rest of us, is difficult At the beginning, we spent every waking moment on GigPick and we worked our asses off to get to where we are today. When a team member isn’t motivated, it demotivates the rest of the team. Having to motivate everyone all over again was a difficult experience. Another difficulty we’ve faced was finding customers because we weren’t established yet and customers were sceptical of us. I wasn’t until we got huge brand names on our customer list like Brewery Yard Markets and Black Star Pastry that we were able to prove ourselves through our work. It’s still not easy, but it’s easier than before.
What lessons have you learned?
The biggest lesson I’ve personally learned is the importance of having focus. At a start-up, there are a hundred things you can be doing, but at any one time there is only one thing you should be focusing on, the ‘right now’. I think it’s important to do that and to really focus on one thing at a time. I don’t think there’s enough time and resources to be ok at a lot of things, you need to be extremely great at one thing. For GigPick, the one good things is providing a seamless experience for customers to book an event and for performers to get paid gigs. In the beginning, we could have done anything like event management or other different things related to events and performers, but focusing on something specific is key.
Where do you see GigPick at the end of the year?
That’s a really hard question because we don’t even know where we will be in three months time Hopefully, we will have 10 times more revenue than we have now and to be able to expand to the rest of Australia.
My favourite gig was a few months ago. I went to Ty Dollar $ign’s concert. I really enjoyed his gig and he was really talented musically. He was able to sing and play instruments on top of rapping. I think the general stereotype is that rappers can only sing, but he was great.
The first gig I ever went to was the Backstreet Boys. I love them! They were amazing. They came back on a reunion tour and they were just amazing. They were singing, dancing, and so much fun. I actually went as a joke but I ended up enjoying it. The highlight of that night was seeing 35-45 year old women screaming and excited. I was talking to one of them and she said, “Yeah, the babysitter is at home. My husband is at home and tonight is the only night I’ve been out for a few years.”
First thing that comes to mind when I say music.
There’s this song ‘A Thousand Miles’ by Vanessa Carlton. Nothing makes a road trip more complete than jamming to that song. When I think of music, I think of that song because everyone knows that song.