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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Coming out of Startup Weekend, we decided to spend the next few months interviewing event planners and vendors to get their feedback. Willing to take the high risk, high rewards path and be our own bosses; in February of this year, my two co-founders and I decided to quit our full-time jobs.

It was the best decision I have ever made.

Today Fiestah is a growing marketplace for event services that helps everyday people easily gets the things they need for their events. People simply post what they want and local food trucks, chefs, photographers, and more start bidding to work at the event. Payment via an escrow system, communication, and logistics are managed by our online platform.

Best Success Story:

We were selected to represent NYC at the International Startup Festival in Montreal with 13 other amazing startups from all over the U.S. Twilio, SendGrid, and Microsoft sponsored the free bus ride to and from Montreal, hotel accommodations and reduced booth fees to promote our company at the Festival. We met accomplished mentors that gave us great feedback. It was awesome exposure for an early stage startup like us.

Since launching in beta at the end of August 2012, we now have hundreds of vendors that have signed up on Fiestah. We are currently making revenue and working hard to increase traction.

Biggest Startup Challenge:

One of the biggest challenges with building a marketplace is the chicken and egg problem. We are essentially building 2 businesses and it is a very difficult thing to manage early on. After working on a few events, we realized the vendor side is a very easy sell.

It wasn’t hard thing to convince vendors to register. In fact, a majority of vendors love that a platform like ours exists. They no longer have to use other lead generation sites that charge simply to receive the contact information of an event planner. On the planner side, we decided to partner up with co-working spaces, non profits, and other startups that throw events regularly.

It took time to build trust on both sides, but we managed to do it. Now users are adding new events on Fiestah by word of mouth.

#1 Tip for Entrepreneurs:

Make sure you find the best people to work with you. I am so lucky that I get to work with my friends. We can be real with each other and have heated discussions on a certain topic.

In contrast, if you are a sole founder, surround yourself with other entrepreneurs to help you stay motivated and sane. Working at a co-working space is a great way to meet people like you, get advice and learn in a collaborative environment.

Connect with Fiestah on Twitter and Facebook.

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Photo Credit: Nurul Yahya

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