Current facets (Pre-Master)
This Erasmus alumna founded Plugify – a marketplace for artists
What do you do when you’re looking for something that doesn’t exist yet? You can shrug and move on. Or you can make sure that it will come into existence by creating it. That’s what Erasmus alumna Eline Leijten did when she founded Plugify, a booking website for artists, bands, DJs, and singer-songwriters.
What is Plugify?
‘Plugify is an online platform through which people can easily book an artist, a band, DJ, or singer-songwriter. You can compare it to Booking.com, but for music. Most of our artists manage their own business, and we try to make it easier for them by offering standard tenders and terms and conditions – things artists usually aren’t too crazy about doing. We can help them to be self-sufficient.’
How did you come up with the idea?
‘During my studies, I took a double degree programme in Economics and Law and obtained a MSc in Financial Economics and LLM in Labour Law, I was a singer at the Hermes House Band. (This is a Dutch pop band featuring members of the Hermes fraternity, ed.) Through a booking agent we managed to perform about seventy times a year. After graduating, my batch and me had to leave the band, that’s obligatory, but we kept performing together. Only now we were no longer a household name, and therefore were booked just about five times a year, mainly through acquaintances. We wanted to perform more often and gain popularity outside our network, but we didn’t know how. Meanwhile, friends and family looking for music for their weddings or parties were asking me where to find a good band or DJ.’
Fill the gap
‘People who were looking for music couldn’t seem to find it, and musicians who wanted to perform didn’t know how to get through the Google-maze. Why does it have to be this complicated, I thought? There should be a spot, like a market, where these people can easily meet each other. Somewhere you can settle the whole thing online, pay, check reviews, everything.
This was 2015. I’d been working for a few years already but didn’t yet own a house or have a family, so I decided this was the time to go for it.’
So, how’s business?
‘It’s going great, both on the offer and demand site. We’re currently rebranding, and trying to become more of a movement. We would like it to be more normal for people to book live music – not just for their weddings, but all kinds of parties and gatherings. We want to show how charming that can be, and also that it doesn’t need to be exclusive or expensive: for €150 you can already get a great, beginning artist. If we’re willing to spend €90 for a concert in the Ziggo Dome, there’s a world to win when it comes to bringing more intimate performances to people’s homes and party venues.’
In what way did your time at Erasmus University help you to realize Plufigy?
‘It sounds clichéd, but I couldn’t have picked a better education. Both economics and law are super relevant for what I’m doing now. It’s very useful to know about finances, managing cash flows and accounting, as well as to be able to talk to investors. At the same time, I understand the legal aspects of a business, and was able to set up the terms and conditions myself. Of course, I ask more experienced legal advisors to help me dot the i’s, but I speak their language and can flag many legal challenges myself.’
So what’s your advice to other students?
‘Although I love entrepreneurship, I’m also very happy with my three years of working experience. After studying I took on a job as a strategy consultant, in which I gave strategic advice to companies and investors. That experience really helped me when I started my own company.
After I came up with the idea, I worked on an excel sheet validating my idea. How attractive is this to investors? Is there a market? How big can it become? That was when I realised that this really was a great opportunity worth quitting my job for.
So I won’t go around telling people to start a business right away. But if you like the idea of starting your own business – and really, it is awesome – start reading up on how to make a start during your studies. Besides that, if you want to become an entrepreneur, it’s good to know a little about finance and how to invest scarce resources. Economics or business administration are very useful in that sense. Within those directions I would recommend to choose a master that fits you.’