It is about lunchtime in Berlin, I am on a subway and it feels weird. It seems like I have forgotten how to travel by anything other than bike and clearly underestimated the time needed to cross Berlin during rush hour. But Luis-Daniel Alegría seems to be far from mad when we meet near Nordbahnhof.
– Hi, nice to meet you! Fancy Italian?
I sure do, and we walk a couple of blocks to satisfy our hunger and my curiosity about Luis and his company Vamos.
– When I lived in Sweden, I went to Hyper Island to study Business Management. I always wanted to do something of my own. Why it became Vamos was more of a coincidence.
Vamos is an event guide, aggregating events from a number of large sources, such as Facebook, Ticketmaster, Eventbrite, Eventim and Stubhub.
– What’s special with Vamos is that we offer a rather diverse type of content. Regardless if you want to find a nice flea market or looking for a party, Vamos is the place to find it.
The app works in most larger cities and filled a gap that the founders encountered.
– We were in Amsterdam and wanted to find something to do that specific night. The existing event sources were quite limited and only showed us “top ten” lists. We were looking for a more complete event guide, combined with a map. The idea was written down on a piece of paper the same night, and soon Vamos was born.
The app was launched in August 2012. Since then, Luis has been operating out of Berlin. I ask him what’s so special about being an entrepreneur in Berlin, and he points out the supportive ecosystem and low living costs as advantages.
– Frankly speaking, Berlin is cheap. The money lasts at least twice as long as in Sweden, for instance.
Luis points to the restaurant menu on the wall, and I realize that the delicious pizza I’m having only will cost me three Euros.
– This makes it possible to be able to bootstrap and get up to speed for the first few months of your entrepreneurial journey. While we’re talking about living cost: In the beginning, one of the co-founders lived in Oslo…
During the first months, the team was working out of Luis’ living room, until they received both capital and an office space from one of the early investors.
– This was a great opportunity for us, having a real office took us to the next level.
Since the start in 2012, Vamos has had a couple of funding rounds and has developed a lot. But Luis points out that there is still a lot more they want to accomplish.
– We have many great ideas that we want to realize. But due to economic limitations, we have to make incremental improvements. And even if the money lasts two to three times as long in Berlin, the bureaucracy also takes two to three times as long. We would like to move faster, but this is how it is in Berlin. On the other hand, Vamos is like a good wine – it’s getting better and better.
Since founding Vamos, Luis has really been working hard to realize his vision.
– Right now, I am also working at an early-stage investment fund, helping other entrepreneurs getting up to speed. Together with Vamos it is a lot of work, but hey, it’s definitely worth it!
I am really excited about listening to Luis’ ride, and meeting with a founder of a real Berlin startup. We finish our Italian cuisine before Luis says “¡Vamos!”, and heads back to the office.