As we have just opened up shop we thought it fitting to introduce ourselves properly.
Our three founders, Maria Hayden, Stan Mcleod and Rosario Garcia de Zuniga have been working non-stop for almost a year to realise the idea of Headliner, and they all entered into it with a wealth of previous experience. Stan and Maria setup Bandwagon in 2010, which today is the UK’s largest gig-booking platform.
Meanwhile, Rosario led an engineering team at Mendeley for several years, building scalable systems. Their skills are perfectly suited for this new venture, but we wanted to know why they embarked on this project, where they see it going and how the journey has been so far. So we asked them…
How did the idea of Headliner come about? Was it a long process or did someone have a Eureka moment?
Stan: I think it really just came out of a need. Maria and I got married in 2013 and although we had worked in the music industry and technology space for years, it was really difficult to find the appropriate act to play at our event. Headliner was born out of that frustration.
Did you at any point during the last eight months think, “This is madness?”
Stan: I think we are fortunate in the sense that we have had experience in building a large scaling platform for musicians before. We have viewed this as a great opportunity to take what we have learned over the previous 4 years and apply it to Headliner.
We have engaged musicians and event planners from day 1. This has been important for us, as ultimately, these guys will be using Headliner and they shape how the products look, feels and functions.
You obviously saw, or rather experienced, a gap in the market, which Headliner will fill. Where do you see Headliner in 3 years? What’s the aim?
Stan: For me the difference between a good and great event is entertainment. I think most people would agree and would love to book more live entertainment for their event, but the process is daunting and time consuming. I want Headliner to change this.
In three years, I want Headliner to be the default destination for anyone who wants to book live entertainment for a party, wedding or corporate event.
I also hope musicians see it as a viable channel for making money and having a sustainable career. I see too many great musicians having to work in bars and restaurants just to get by. If we can help musicians to earn money doing what they love, I would be very happy indeed!
Rosario: To add to that, I would like Headliner to become a technology company in its own right. We are already facing incredibly interesting technical challenges and our road-map is very ambitious. Having top class engineers in our team is gonna takes us to the next level.
What has been the best and the worst experience of getting Headliner launch-ready?
Stan: I don’t think there has really been a bad experience, it’s been great fun thus far. Building a company and software platform is ever evolving, the challenge is to keep a certain amount of perspective on the end goal whilst focusing on the short term challenges.
The best experience by far is all of the positive feedback we are receiving from those who are using the platform. It’s extremely gratifying to see your hard work starting to pay off.
How would you describe each other with three words?
Stan: Well Maria is my wife, so I need to be careful here…haha!
Maria: Determined, Relentless and Great Fun!!
Rosario: Focused, Dedicated and Sociable!!
Maria: I’m very lucky to be working with my best friends…
Stan: Visionary, Strategic, and Caring
Rosario: Laser Focused, Creative, Muchas Fun! Overall superwoman!
Rosario: Finding these guys and us working together on such a cool product was meant to happen!
Stan: Determined, Charismatic and Funny.
Maria: Genuine, Outgoing and Energetic!
There’s no denying that you’ve had a lot of late nights getting to this stage. Guesstimating, how many cups of coffee do you think has contributed to Headliner’s launch?
Stan: I think Maria might win this one, and Roario can’t drink coffee. I’m more of a hot chocolate man, so I think maybe 200+ cups…that’s a lot right?
Rosario: I had to quit coffee a few years ago, but I can’t deny that in the last couple of weeks I’ve had to resort to (and got slightly addicted to) frappuccinos!
Finally, for your dream event (be it a Mad Hatter party, a 20s themed birthday party or a private event at a cat café) what type of music performance would you choose to go with it?
Stan: That is such hard question! I have a massive thing for Mariachi Bands, so they would headline my dream event.
Rosario: Hmm very difficult to choose just one. But I think I’ll go for any cover band that can give me a good performance of Bohemian Rhapsody so I can sing along – it’s my karaoke go-to song!
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