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NYC Entrepreneur, Nurul Yahya Launches Fiestah at Local Startup Weekend

Learn how Nurul Yahya made the journey from Corporate America to full-time entrepreneurship.

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Young entrepreneur Nurul Yahya started her first company, a wedding invitation startup, while working full-time at an NYC investment bank.

“I desperately wanted to quit my job,” said Yahya.

“While working [my full-time job and] with my client base of brides, I noticed that they were all coming to me with the same problem. They would ask me if I could recommend any DJs, bands, and photographers that fit their budget. I then thought to myself: Wouldn’t it be awesome if wedding vendors knew when brides were in their wedding planning stage.”

In November 2011, armed with her idea, Nurul applied to pitch at a local Startup Weekend. A year later, she and co-founders Stefanos Missailidis and Marvin Tam are working full-time on their passion — Fiestah, a marketplace for event services that helps everyday people easily gets the things they need for their events.

Learn how Nurul made the journey from Corporate America to full-time entrepreneurship and why she believes it’s important to find the best people to work with you and surround yourself with other entrepreneurs.

Company: Fiestah
Founder(s): Nurul Yahya, Co-founders: Stefanos Missailidis, Marvin Tam
Location: New York, New York
Industry: Event Planning
Startup Year: 2012
Startup Costs: Undisclosed

How I Got Started:

In the Summer of 2012, I started a company called Project Greeting, offering creative wedding invitations made from seed paper. A percentage of each card went to charity. At that time, I was still working full-time at an investment bank.

I desperately wanted to quit my job.

I spent all my free time building the website with my co-founder, working with brides and creating their dream wedding invitations. What I didn’t realize at first, was the sheer amount of manual work that was required. Although the company was bringing in revenue, I couldn’t quit my job for a business that wasn’t scalable.

While working with my client base of brides, I noticed that they were all coming to me with the same problem.

They would ask me if I could recommend any DJs, bands, and photographers that fit their budget. I then thought to myself: Wouldn’t it be awesome if wedding vendors knew when brides were in their wedding planning stage. That way vendors could share their best offers and save brides time and energy.

So, in November 2011, I decided to apply to pitch my idea at a local Startup Weekend – essentially a hackathon where you pitch a startup idea, get picked to form a team, build a prototype, and get feedback from a panel of investors, culminating in a 54 hours of business model creation, designing and coding.

As it turned out, I was able to collaborate with an amazing team and create a prototype in 54 hours to present to judges. Our presentation was well received — attendees told us that they would definitely use our new platform, Fiestah, for their events. We had very little sleep, but it was so worth it.

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