Paul Davidescu of Tangoo
With the Friend Friday series, we highlight some of the wonderful entrepreneurs and small business owners who cowork at The Network Hub. This week, we take a look at Tangoo‘s Paul Davidescu.
1. Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
I recently graduated from The Sauder School of Business for my UBC undergrad where I studied Marketing Co-op and International Business. I’ve always had a fascination for fixing problems and making things happen so I’ve been into startups for most of university. I work with the cofounders at Vancity Buzz in the strategic, recruiting, and business development aspects and also am a partner in Cascadia Records, an up-and-coming electronic dance music record label in Vancouver – my brother Jon, runs the show there.
The majority of my time is spent on a new Resto-Cocktail hop we introduced to Vancouver this October. It’s called Tangoo.
2. What makes your company different or special?
Tangoo is an all-encompassing initiative to make Vancouver night outs better for everyone – consumers and businesses. It takes the best out of existing social dining paradigms and city discovery food and bar hops to provide a complete and affordable experience that simply doesn’t exist in Vancouver, or anywhere else for that matter.
It’s perhaps best described as the restaurant and bar hop version of Dine-out Vancouver and Social Feed/Grubwithus. Locals go to up to three different restaurants and bars in one night to enjoy a three-course meal – appetizers and a cocktail, followed by dinner somewhere else, and finally, a nightcap at a final destination. The best part of this is how hassle-free and social the experience is. You book on www.tangoo.ca, you pick your locations, you book and then, simply show up. Packages start at $49.99 and include taxes and tips.
Benefits to Vancouverites
This is great for groups of friends, girls nights out, birthdays, dates, you name it – anyone who wants a great night out and usually has trouble deciding where to go and how to coordinate other people. We do all that work and due-diligence for you beforehand to make it effortless for you to set up. The social aspect to it is that all the “Tangooers” will be in the same area where they can choose to share tables or have their own; it’s a very natural way of meeting people without even thinking about it. This effortless and unique experience is what makes Tangoo standout from any other bar hop, restaurant tour, or Groupon-like website.
Benefits to Businesses
The reason why we said it was win-win is because not only do consumers greatly benefit, but restaurants and bars get a tremendous marketing and sales opportunity. We bring the ideal young professional customer base that is there for the experience (not just the pricing) and that probably has never been there before. In fact, 75% of our guests have never been to the locations we choose and after they go on Tangoo, they say they want to return. We aim for distinct vendors that have a cool concept, great food, and a fun ambiance. We’re mainly in Gastown and Yaletown and will expand to Main Street and other parts of Vancouver in 2013. We have currently had Tangoo on off-peak days during the week (Thursdays) so that vendors are filling up idle capacity with brand new customers – its pretty ideal for everyone. We also promote our vendors quite a bit online to give them the social media reach they deserve.
3. How did you get started?
The idea of Tangoo started at UBC when my cofounder Henry and I decided Vancouver needed something new to solve all the problems people have on their nights out. We’ve had a “no fun city” reputation for too long, and the main reason isn’t because of city laws (although they help) and lack of things to do, rather because of people’s attitudes and lack of social lubricants in the city. There’s a lot of negativity these days between Vancouverites as people complain its hard to meet people and that there’s nothing to do to have fun. People just need a bit of guidance and for someone to bring it all together – there are some amazing people and great venues/things to do, you just need to know where.
It hit us in February 2011, after we realized the Olympics and their nightly festivities weren’t coming back. We realized that when events like the Olympics were organized, people found a way to have fun. Also, spontaneous nights where we hopped around to different places (mainly because we were avoiding lineups and just had no idea where to go) turned out to be our best nights – this happened rarely though because most times we were stuck waiting and people always got split up. We also noticed how currently, people stick to their groups of people and familiar locations. Therefore, when we brought it all together, we knew there had to be a way to make going out easier, at multiple new places, with great company, and with consistency, so people could have fun when they wanted to and do it in a way that’s actually unique and memorable. You can’t always settle for a regular night, it just makes no sense to spend your money and time that way. Having fun when you go out on your free time should never be a challenge, we all face enough of that during our everyday lives. We brought together the organized yet spontaneous ideologies together to create a concept of “organized spontaneity” where you can bet you’ll have a unique night out, but also things will be taken care of for you. No hassles, no risks, just fun and connecting with the city in a new way.
4. What are you currently working on?
As co-founder and CEO, I’m working on a variety of things to keep building off the momentum of our sold out streak and media attention, it’s a challenge keeping up. We want to expand to areas like Main Street and also offer different kinds of packages with more activities like wine-tasting and even going to comedy shows and events.
5. What made you decide to cowork at The Network Hub?
Vancity Buzz has always had close ties with Minna and the crew at The Hub so when it came to deciding where Tangoo would be, it was a natural fit. Having the knowledge I got from working on Vancity Buzz things beforehand it was a no-brainer choosing to be here. Lots of other cool startups in the space that you can bounce ideas off of or even do business with. A lot of meetups and events are held here so I get everything served on a silver platter, it’s awesome.
6. Any advice you have for other entrepreneurs and small business owners?
Make sure you’re out there to solve a problem and add value to peoples lives. Do it in way which you’re insanely passionate about and once you commit to solve the problem…don’t wait around, go do it. You’ve heard all the talk about persistence, drive, and just pure hard work – that is essential and it should be a way of life for you. I would add to not being afraid to get yourself out there in any way you can, you need to be a straight hustler and also smart about how you do things. Make sure to be critical and test out your different approaches and always be trying new things and attacking different angles. Talk to people, ask for help/advice, but at the end of the day its up to you to make a final decision, have the confidence to do that and don’t ever be afraid of failing – not trying is failing. Finally, be patient. Things don’t happen over night. Oh, and have fun.
For more on Paul Davidescu and Tangoo, check out their Novus TV City Lights feature on YouTube.