Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneurs are Joshua Chan, Paul Davidescu, Alex Guyenne, and Jonathan Hill of Tangoo, an innovative service that provides the most personalized and seamless way to organize a perfect social outing…
Elevator Pitch: Describe your business in a nutshell.
As your pocket concierge, Tangoo provides you the most personalized and seamless way to organize a perfect social outing. Tangoo understands your mood, occasion, and social graph to craft the perfect outing of restaurants and venues tailored to you – think of us as the Songza for social outings. Tangoo also enhances your outing by encouraging establishments to best cater the experience around your mood with perks and personalization.
Why did you start your business, what was the inspiration?
The inspiration for Tangoo was to develop a way to make it simple for people to experience a unique outing. I noticed that too many people settle for the usual plan because they know that organizing a novel outing is usually more work than it’s worth doing. It can require a big time commitment and a lot of work as you try to break through obscene amounts of noise online. Because there really was no existing solution that focused on solving this problem, we saw it as a prime opportunity to step up.
My realization about how big this problem was and how urgent it was for me to solve it started to come together after my exchange in Barcelona and involvement in the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. I realized that these two very impactful experiences brought together all the elements needed for a perfect social outing. Anytime I went out, restaurants/bars would constantly give me the right dose of spontaneity and novelty needed for us to draw meaningful memories from. However, when life went back to normal and these perfect outings became an anomaly again, I was determined to find a way to recreate them so they would once again become part of my everyday life. It’s these kinds of shared meaningful experiences that grow people closer together and there is no reason why they can’t ever be in your control.
What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The best part of what I do on a day-to-day basis is not having a clue what the day will bring me. However, it’s also the most challenging part. One thing my business partner Jon and I tell each other on a daily basis is that “today is going to be a big day” and it always holds true. Whether it be signing up a key restaurant group, exploring a key partnership, hiring talent, or stepping up for the biggest pitch of our lives on Dragons’ Den, every day truly is a big day and we don’t find out exactly how it happened until our heads hit the pillow. At the end of the day, it’s knowing that you and some other crazy passionate people are serious about changing the world and have accepted that sacrifice and hard work is the only way to get there. There really is no short cut to mastering strategic planning and focused execution except by living through it and adapting along the way.
Where do you see your business going in five years?
This is a question an entrepreneur can either be very stressed with or have a lot of fun with. The reason for both is that you can go through what seems like five years of change in five months (or even weeks) – it’s quite unpredictable what can happen, especially in tech.
We see Tangoo being the global platform for organizing anything that involves connecting people through memorable experiences.
The first goal is dominating the restaurant and hospitality industry through perfect recommendations and the unprecedented buy-in from all partners. After building our culture and proving our systems at Tangoo are the best way to organize a memorable experience, we’ll start to let new players into the ecosystem.
Entertainment and sporting events are the next ones in so that an outing isn’t just food and drink but experiences within the experience. Eventually you don’t have to bother taking out your credit card; it’s all charged behind the scenes across an entire outing so everything keeps flowing. This includes the integrated value-added services. Picture walking into a spa or haircut right before a chef’s table dinner, followed by an Uber limo ride from dinner to the opera and, finally, getting dropped off at your hotel penthouse with breakfast in bed being your new alarm. After partnering with Richard Branson and thus allowing you to hop from city to city on a “Virgoo” plane, it becomes impossible to evade a memorable experience!
Imagine a way to live life to the fullest with just a few swipes on your phone.
What does success look like to you?
Success takes on many forms. At its core, it means we have changed the world through cultivating better attitudes and behaviours in our customers and partners.
Success to us has already started. It’s based off the fact that we’ve inspired other people and businesses to open up their minds to engage in new experiences. In its most basic form, it has taken shape with our team and partners through a successful internship we have given someone, or that we’ve helped a restaurant and a new loyal customer find each other. Success comes in small increments and starts to compound as everything builds up.
Success really starts to become “official” when all stakeholders are benefiting and revenue is creating jobs and driving GDP. Once we’ve replicated a perfect system that grows organically in all major cities and across various industries, we have created an ecosystem that relies on us to become more successful.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
The journey feels like one continuous milestone with different levels of significance to take from along the way. If I had to break it down to one thing that really felt like I had conquered the world, it was when Tangoo unexpectedly won a Demo Day pitch competition in Vancouver.
It all happened through us undergoing a complete change in strategic direction via an overnight brainstorm session and pitch preparation – we showed up to pitch as a completely reinvigorated company. It encompassed everything a startup is: hard work, teamwork, thinking differently, vision, and going all in. Thanks to this milestone day, the company lived long enough to pitch on Dragons’ Den, and soon to two million Canadians. Milestones lead to more milestones as each one refuels the team and puts more weight down on the accelerator.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
If you have even the smallest itch to start a company, go all in and find a way to structure your attitude so that you always satisfy two important life rules:
1. What’s the worst that could happen if it doesn’t work? Well, I learn, grow, become more interesting, and know that one thing always leads to another.
2. As far as I know, I have one life. It’s meant to create change, tell a story and inspire the next generation. If I don’t push myself to new horizons, I’ve settled with mediocrity and missed out on life’s true purpose.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
I support various charities that empower people with mental health issues or disabilities. These are all people with as big of dreams as you and me and it’s our duty to level the playing field and give them the best chance of pursuing a normal life with the opportunity to reach for the stars.
BlackBerry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
BlackBerry was the perfect phone when I was an obsessive texter and got to drop my ever-so-awesome pickup line: “Hello pretty lady, may I scan your barcode?”
Once that all died down and I started to appreciate simplicity and beauty, iPhone took over. Steve Jobs’ biography had a profound effect on me and it was the first time I felt first-hand how a brand is all about its story, leaders, mission, and way it makes you feel. Plus, if I want to get my hands on the Tangoo app first I need to be on iPhone. This makes it a pretty conclusive decision.
How do you keep active, energetic, and vibrant?
A healthy body is a healthy mind. Exercise through runs, weights, and sports are a must. Whenever I have time in the morning to meditate and put complete focus on my breathing, it allows me to appreciate my body and take a second to be grateful that my body, business, family, friends, and dreams are alive as can be.
Energy also comes from listening to music with power and build up; EDM is a big one for me when I’m doing exercise or getting in the zone. A healthy diet and fruitful relationships go without saying. Your body and mind need it, don’t forget that.
#LYNL | (Live Your Notable Life)
Top photo: Joshua Chan, Paul Davidescu, Alex Guyenne, and Jonathan Hill