Elevator Pitch: Venue Insider

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Elevator Pitch is a regular feature on Lifehacker where we profile startups and new companies and pick their brains for entrepreneurial advice. This week, we're talking with Jaime Hall and Nicole Bailey, co-founders of "AirBnb for venues" Venue Insider.

In 128 words or less, explain your business idea

Venue Insider shows a 360-degree virtual tour for event planners and brides alike to virtually wander through venues from the comfort of their office or home. The site lists unique, independent venue spaces available for weddings, parties, corporate functions, workshops or any celebration worth planning.

As professional event planners and marketers, we became frustrated with wasting time travelling to different locations after spending hours trawling the internet finding amazing venues. Only to find that the venue wasn’t at all like the photographs.

With virtual 360° tours, Venue Insider saves you time and event planners can truly see how a space flows and start to plan for the upcoming celebration providing an independent look at the entire location, with floorplans, facilities and a full range of prices listed to gain a full view of what’s included.

What strategies are you using to grow and finance your idea?

Up until recently we were bootstrapping the idea. But we have just opened to first round investors. We are also looking at expanding internationally in the near future to make it easier for Australians to plan events overseas and to generate extra bookings for Australian venues from overseas customers.

How do you differentiate your business from your competitors?

We are currently the first and only Australian website that provides high-quality custom built virtual tours for a fully immersive experience.

What's the biggest challenge facing your business?

As Virtual Reality and 3D tours are still quite a new concept to most people, explaining the idea and selling it to venues is difficult without a demonstration.

What one phone, tablet or PC application could you not live without?

We live and breathe off Asana. It helps with all of our planning, especially when we are not working together in an office all the time.

What's the best piece of business advice you've ever received?

We are lucky to have some great connections with other start-ups such as Melbourne based Liven, who gave us some really great business advice to at least have a MVP concept design before starting. If we ever need other business answers we can turn to Like Minded Bitches Drinking Wine (LMBDW) which has almost 50k female entrepreneur Facebook members and monthly meet ups.

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