Entrepreneur Richard Lee has a big idea, and he’s intent on turning that spark into a successful online enterprise. Richard has established Venyu, an online booking platform that aims to be the leading brand in its sector – simplifying the process for people to search, book and plan events.

Venyu has been supported through Business Wales Accelerated Growth Programme (AGP). The AGP provides targeted support for ambitious growing firms. The programme is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.

Here, Richard Lee tells his story so far and provides advice for others considering starting and growing their own business.
 

 

Tell us about Venyu
Where’s best to start? Probably with my ambition – I want this business to be the equivalent of Airbnb for the events industry. What’s the point in not having big aspirations? I truly believe in my company and the vision that I have for it.

We provide a platform that allows users to book venues and events services, with an easy booking management system for the venues and events services. It’s perfect for individuals looking to plan parties, work events and celebrations. And we’re still very much in the development phase ahead of a later launch as we gather more users.

 

The Venyu story started when I was working as an accountant for Deloitte, auditing some of the world’s biggest businesses. As one of the junior members of the team, I often found it would fall on me to plan work and social events.

And I discovered that with so many people to accommodate, planning an event was a lot of work and effort and often involved hours of scrolling through Google, ringing around possible venues, and trying to line up dates and costs. I thought there had to be a better way of doing all this!

 

I wanted to create a platform that simplified the process for people who don’t have the network that large events companies have and showcases venues that wish to promote their availability. So, in September 2019, I began work on Venyu, and I’ve been developing the business since then. It’s been a really exciting process, with plenty of highs and lows along the way. But, I’m passionate about the idea and making it the success I know it can be.

 

What are your proudest moments in business so far?
I have to say, getting the first users onboard was my proudest moment.

The platform is now growing, and I know there’ll be plenty of other milestones ahead – seeing the first venues sign up was recognition that the concept was not only viable but in demand. It’s been such an exciting time for me as an entrepreneur – seeing my idea come to fruition and finding a market for my product.

 

What challenges have you faced in business
Covid has presented massive difficulties to our business just as we started to establish the brand. It caused enormous disruption for obvious reasons. The events industry has been more affected by the pandemic than many other sectors.

Essentially, it all put a pause on my supply chain and the very audience I was aiming at. Honestly? It was a struggle to stay afloat and keep the business going through the numerous lockdowns and restrictions. But with things now lifting, there’s an opportunity to support the venues that are now restarting, and we’re able to help people who are organising in-person events for the first time.

So, yes, the difficulties of the last year have been very real for us. But now we’re looking forward with renewed optimism, and I’ve also got a new sense of energy for the business, and I’m really looking forward to what the future holds!

 

If you were starting again, what would you do differently?
Being a solo entrepreneur from the get-go was difficult, I have to admit. It was tough having to spend so much time on the business with a limited network. But I’m now in a position where I can grow the team. If I were to start over again, I might look at the potential of founding the company with a like-minded individual who’d be able to share the workload, contacts, and other pressures that come with running a company and getting a business off the ground.

 

How has support from Business Wales AGP helped your business?
I’ve had support from Big Ideas Wales, as well as the TownSq Accelerator programme.

Business Wales AGP has provided plenty of business advice and support. For example, thanks to the programme, I’ve accessed tech and web development support from Caerphilly-based web designers Big Lemon. This level of support has been invaluable in getting my platform into a position where it can grow. I’d urge other start-ups to seek the help of Business Wales AGP because it is such a fantastic programme which connects you with the experts you need at the right time.
 

What advice and guidance would you give other businesses starting out?

  •  Find someone to work with early on to help spread the workload and provide more links and networking opportunities.
  • Speak to your target audience early on. They will be who you focus on as you continue to develop, so make sure you listen to their needs and speak their language.


Further information on the Business Wales Accelerated Growth Programme.

Share this page

Print this page