Hi Elise, FEM-START is happy to have you with us today! Tell us, what inspired you to start your own business, and how did you come up with BASH?
The idea originated when the use of Facebook started declining fast. All of a sudden, people started missing parties because they missed the invite and the place where you could see what your friends were doing was about to disappear. For many people Facebook Events was the last reason to keep using Facebook. We wanted to help everyone delete Facebook, but loved the event and birthday features. That’s when we decided to build a better version; BASH.
What are some essential steps and actions you took to get your business off the ground?
The first step for us was getting a good team together. It helps a lot if you surround yourself with smart and capable people. Ask advice from people who’ve done this before, know how investing works, or who are building a similar thing.
Another essential step for BASH was raising money. We raised 750K+ this year, and while we are happy that we could raise so much, we’re especially proud because of the people investing. Most are entrepreneurs themselves, like Sjuul Berden (United Wardrobe, exited to Vinted), Quinten Selhorst (Felyx) and Geert-Jan Smits (Vlinders). The fact that they believe in what we’re building and are willing to help us achieve our goals will accelerate the path BASH is on.
Was there a specific time or instance where you had to pivot your business model? Or maybe quickly implement changes in how you work as a CDO and with your team?
Absolutely! We started BASH after the first Covid wave. We thought it would be the perfect time to build a social event app. At the time, though, we didn’t call it the ‘first’ Covid wave. So when the second wave hit, and then a third, the wonderful growth trajectory slowed down a little. We had to be creative and focus on what we could do. We had to make the tough decision that we wanted to remain fully focused on offline events, even if that meant we couldn’t get a lot of traction until Covid was ‘over’. We wanted BASH to be an app that makes you experience more with friends in real life.
You work with quite influential organisers in the Amsterdam scene. How did you come to work with these companies and what was the process like?
We have always focused on providing value for our users first and the partnerships with organisers followed naturally. Organisers want to work with us because they want to show their events to the right people. Users use BASH because they want to find the right parties. That means we’re in a position to create a win-win. We can show our users the parties they like, and in the meantime, organisers get the exposure they want – exposure to people looking for the kind of party they are organising.
What are some of the biggest mistakes you made along the way, and what did you learn from them?
Pivoting just outside of our mission. During Covid, we focussed on house parties. We wanted to keep focussing on offline events, and that was the only offline thing to do. However, although these house parties were offline, they were usually with strangers. BASH users are mainly looking to foster relationships they already have. Because of this little shift in focus, we had a nice growth spurt in a time when that was hard to come by, but those users didn’t stick around when we went back to our main value proposition after Covid.
What is your biggest achievement since co-founding the company, and how did you get there?
I think our biggest achievement is that we’ve built something that makes people experience more, offline. It’s always special when I talk to someone who has attended an event because of BASH. Whether they found out about a concert in time to buy tickets or about a free workshop around the corner, we’ve managed to create something that makes people actually do something. For me that’s a huge achievement.
What advice would you give to aspiring female entrepreneurs, particularly those who do not seem to believe they can do it?
Trust yourself a little more. It’s impossible to build something if you’re going to listen to everyone who disagrees with you. I used to be quite rattled when someone thought BASH was a bad idea. I would spend a lot of time thinking about their reasoning, but eventually, I realised that some people present their opinions as facts. When you realise that, it’s easier to disagree. Also, if you spend a lot of time building something, you’re opinions are probably based on more information. Of course, you should listen to advice and try to hear what those around you are saying, but assuming you’re right is a good place to start.
What’s next for BASH? What can we expect?
Loads! Our goal is to become the social event platform worldwide. That means there is still a lot of growing to do. Short term we will keep focussing Amsterdam, but the next steps are launching Rotterdam and Utrecht. So keep an eye out for updates on that!
If you would like to know more about Elise’s company BASH, click here!