Jamaica News: Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Billodex Limited, D’Andre Fraser, has carved out a niche in the online event ticket market.
Through the Billodex app, the company is making it easy and convenient for consumers to purchase tickets for various events from their smartphone using a debit or credit card.
The app is popular among Caribbean and American event organisers.
The 28-year-old tells JIS News that the concept for the company and the app came in 2013, while he was studying for his undergraduate degree at The University of the West Indies (UWI).
Having had experience in events promotion, he says he was aware of the hassles involved in getting tickets for various activities, and wanted to make the process easier.
Developing the business involved a lot of challenges, sacrifices and commitment for D’Andre and his team.
He recalls deciding to spend his summer break on campus so he would have access to a computer to develop his business plan as he did not have a personal device.
“I stayed on hall so I could use the library and create the Billodex business plan and do my readings to assess the feasibility of the business venture. It was not easy but I was passionate about my vision,” he tells JIS News.
In 2014, having graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Management Studies and Marketing, D’Andre was ready to go full steam ahead with Billodex, but lacked capital.
He approached the FirstAngelsJA Foundation, which provided start-up funding.
“We didn’t have anything but some JPEG slides, but FirstAngelsJA liked what they saw and believed in our vision. We received the seed money in 2015 and began working on the business structure alongside the advisory board members, Sharon Roper, Aundhrae Richardson, and chairman, Michael Claire,” D’Andre shares.
He says that Billodex can complement Jamaica’s efforts in becoming an entertainment tourist destination because the app provides analytics, real-time updates on ticket sales and online event marketing through connected social media pages.
“The Billodex app is available in the Google Play Store and generates sales lead, therefore resolving the issue of excessive ticket printing,” he points out.
D’Andre adds that through the app, consumers can also purchase add-ons such as event branded merchandise and VIP parking, thus creating additional revenue streams for event organisers.
“We’re trying to expand the business as much as possible and we are already exploring the possibility of selling products online for businesses. We’ve been approached by Sweetie Confectionery Limited and Herboo Corporation Limited about using Billodex to sell their products,” he discloses.
D’Andre anticipates Billodex becoming as a leader in online payment within the region within the next five years.
He shares that Billodex plans to partner with the non-profit ‘I love MoBay’ foundation in selling merchandise to aid in the entity’s community development and outreach projects.
D’Andre assures that in a world where cybercrimes are a reality, the Billodex app is safe. He says that the 10-step security protocol makes it one of the most secure online purchasing platforms in the region.
For his innovation, D’Andre was nominated for the 2018 Prime Minister’s Youth Award in the field of entrepreneurship.
He tells JIS News that when he first learned of his nomination he was elated, as he has dreamed of receiving the prestigious award since high school.
“Knowing that I am nominated is a very good feeling, just being nominated is a win for me,” Fraser tells JIS News.
He notes that the nomination is a special one not just for him but for his business team and family.
“My mother, who passed away in 2016, was very supportive during the company’s start-up and even served as the company’s first secretary,” he shares.
In that same year, Billodex Limited received the first runner-up prize at Sagicor’s inaugural Imagine Awards, created by the Sagicor Foundation to encourage entrepreneurship among talented Jamaican youth.
Meanwhile, D’Andre’s advice for other young entrepreneurs is to not be afraid of failure.
He notes that failing the first-semester of university and losing two consecutive UWI guild elections has equipped him with the mindset for success.
“At the end of the day, the worse that can happen with failure is that you learn. Every ‘no’ takes you one step closer to a ‘yes’,” he expresses.
He is also encouraging persons to believe in themselves.
“We are greater than we think and we need to realise this and use it to our advantage and market ourselves and our nation,” he says.
Source: JIS News