“Match the bar” Startup Interview with Nikki Parsons
In my Startup Founder series I feature interviews with entrepreneurs with kickass profiles from all over the world. I hope they will inspire you as much as they inspire me! Today, we meet Founder of Match the Bar, Nikki Parsons.
Match the Bar is the app that helps you find a bar in Barcelona to watch a specific match. Simply search what you want to watch and see a map of all the bars showing it.
Hi “Nikki”, nice to meet you! To start, who are you and what do you do?
Hi, my name is Nikki Parsons and I’m the Co-Founder at Match the Bar.
How did you start? What motivated you?
Originally I started Match the Bar when I was taking a part-time programming bootcamp with Ironhack here in Barcelona in 2016.
For the course, you had to create a website as part of your final project. So I started brainstorming problems I had living in Barcelona as an expat.
I’m originally from the UK and as a huge football fan, I often had trouble finding a bar to watch my favourite teams.
Unless you exclusively support FC Barcelona, it can be really difficult to find a bar to watch a match you want to see. Matches often overlap, so you have to call the bar. Or you search through Facebook and try to investigate if they will even be able to show your match. I often ended up watching football at home on an online stream, because it was too much effort to find a bar.
So, I was motivated because having an easy way to search for sports bars would be really useful for me personally, as well as many people that I know. Therefore, I started work on the project and by the end of the bootcamp I managed to win the hackshow on a public vote.
As a result, I saw the public confidence in the idea and continued to work on it as a passion project in my spare time, while taking a lot of the courses at Barcelona Activa and devising the business plan to make sure a company would be a viable business. Finally, in November of last year, I left my job and started to focus full-time on what was now “Match the Bar.”
And have you encountered any obstacles in your entrepreneurship experience?
I’ve definitely encountered obstacles in my entrepreneurship experience. Primarily, with just finding a good support team. It’s near-impossible to launch a startup by yourself, and finding trustworthy and reliable people that you can count on in your team is critical, but not easy. We had some poor experiences in the past with possible team members who were on the verge of joining and then just went MIA. Luckily, now we have a great core team, with Alex, Marguerite and myself who complement each other really well.
Do you encourage anyone with to go with entrepreneurship?
Definitely, you need to follow your passion. I’d suggest to get sufficient years of working under your belt first, because they helped me get the experience that I needed to be able to launch Match the Bar and allowed me to save money that I can now invest in my business. But, ultimately, if you do the work and know that your idea can generate value (and revenue) then you should go for it. If you don’t, someone else will.
Any advice for people who want to create their own business?
For anyone who wants to create their own business, I would suggest taking advantage of all available resources that your community or government provides. For example, here in Barcelona we have Barcelona Activa which offers a lot of free courses and support to entrepreneurs. It sounds obvious to do this, but a surprising number of entrepreneurs I know don’t do this!
What are your favorite tools in a daily basis?
My favourite tools on a daily basis are Hubspot and Trello. Just these simple things help me stay organized and on track, especially when it seems that there are a million things to do.
Let’s talk more now with one of my favorite subject 🙂
How do you grow your community around your brand/startup?
Growing a community around our startup is really important to us. Especially as our company vision is “to bring people together through sport.” We just happen to do that with a simple app that helps people go out to bars and watch sports.
We’re still really trying to generate this sense of community in our users and we’ve taken a few specific actions to try and accelerate this.
We partnered with Flags BCN who organized a family-friendly football tournament earlier this month, so that we can get out and meet sports fans.
We share with our following the latest news and try to give them the personal side behind our brand, sharing pictures and posts about the team on our social media pages.
Most recently, we opened a Meetup group “Ver fútbol en bares” to try and encourage our fans to meet together and make a community in bars we visit. We only did this a few times during the World Cup, but the response was really promising and we were able to get 8-10 people in bars for specific matches.
There’s a desire in our fans to have this community, we just have to provide them the tools to connect.
What do you think about social media nowadays?
I love social media, especially for our brand it makes sense to be very active, as social media is the second most popular way people find out about apps (the first is word-of-mouth). It’s important not to get bogged down by following numbers, what is much more important to us is the quality of our social media community. We want people to engage and share with our content and to feel positively about our brand.
To know you even better, could you tell me what is your best achievement so far?
The best achievement so far is when I won the Ironhack hackshow. Even though there were people with much better developed systems, and better UX, people resonated with the problem we solve and voted for Match the Bar.
It was the first real external validation of the project, so that’s why it feels like the best achievement. Even though in terms of our company journey, it might not be the most impressive of the achievements.
What values do you stand for?
The values I aim to stand for are trustworthiness, accountability and perseverance. Trustworthy because you can rely on me as a partner to do what I promise, to be there to support and execute as needed, and to challenge you when I think something is wrong. You can trust I say what I think. Accountability because if something is my fault, I will be the first to admit that and look for a solution. Finally, perseverance because I will continue to believe and work for my company, friends and family even when things get tough. It’s not easy to open a startup in a foreign country and with a language that you are not native in. But, I know we can do it and I will continue to try.
Sounds Awesome! Good luck with that 🙂
What’s next for you and your company?
The next step for Match the Bar is to work towards implementing more ways to engage our fans and show value to our bars. We want to incentivize our users to use our app more frequently through new features that encourage them to come back to the app more frequently.
Wanna see more of them?
Check their Social Media links and Subscribe to their channel to follow their activity:
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/matchthebar/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/matchthebar
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/matchthebar/
LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/company/27147281/