Thursday, February 23, 2012

Manick Bhan: The BhanMan Of TicketMonkey

Image representing Spotify as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBaseI met Manick at a Spotify event, my second Spotify event. I looked at his name tag and said, "That's an Indian name!" (Spotify Now Advertising On Netizen, Spotify Vision Specialist: A No Go, The Spotify CTO Talk, The Spotify Event Was Great, Sean Parker's 2009 Email To Spotify)

The guy impressed me immediately. Not all fast talkers are smart, but this one was out of the ballpark. I could tell. Immediately. He was a high energy packet. If you can deal with people, if you can make decisions on the fly, if you are a quick study, you are CEO material. This guy is.

Duke to Goldman to startup. They work out of an apartment not far from the Port Authority bus terminal, or Penn Station, for that matter. The view out the window is beautiful.

I have offered to shift the office to some garage, and put them on noodle diets. They order in lunch, good stuff.

I am always looking for projects for my tech consulting operation. And so I thought I might insert one of my techies into his operation. Other than that it was just going to be nice knowing him. He was to go on my to watch list.

TicketMonkey "Monk-A-Thon": I showed up for this. It was a nice opportunity to get to know Matt.

But Manick got me on board before he would even look at my techie. By now it looks like my tech team that I am keeping warmed up to launch my own microfinance startup later this year might play a pretty prominent role in TicketMonkey itself. We have been exploring options.

TicketMonkey hopes to take selling tickets to a whole new level. You make your name on platforms like Spotify and you make money through live performances. I think that is going to be a dominant business model for music bands. And TicketMonkey could end up to selling tickets what Yipit is to daily deals: an aggregator.

Many of the leading ticket selling sites are like malls. They show you those two things you maybe maybe might be interested in, and then they show you 100 other things as if to distract you. TicketMonkey will be a more personalized experience.

Manick, a self taught programmer, has this beautiful, beautiful landing page. The site is pre launch. He has also been doing a lot of back end work. My lead techie is about to step in and help with launch.

Manick Bhan is a Kahmiri Brahmin. Like the Gandhis of India. The Gandhis are to the Indian imagination what the Kennedys are to the American imagination. Times 10. His parents - scientists - first left Kashmir for Delhi due to extremist threats. From Delhi they moved to America seeking a better future for their yet to be born son.

The family moved from Maryland to Wisconsin to New Jersey.

Manick first wanted to be a doctor. But then he did an internship his junior year and realized medicine is not a people person thing like he had imagined. Doctors look at human bodies like car mechanics look at cars: not his cup of tea. By then most of his time was going into a music band he was part of. He had become one of the very best guitar players at his school. (Matt is a piano man.)

He did not become a rockstar.

Like many smart guys and gals from top schools he ended up at Goldman. Three years were enough. He feared he might end up a faceless cog in a vast machine. There were not that many creativity outlets. He rarely saw people smile. He started feeling a little out of place. And it bothered him that he was not building equity for himself. He was on salary. Some of his colleagues were jumping ship to join startups.

Facebook: The BhanMan

Manick met Matt at a party. Not long after they quit their jobs and got down to work. The conceptual details of the site gelled in three weeks. For three months it was just the two of them. They wasted time with a developer they found on Elance. Then Manick decided he was going to learn to code. Learn he did. Matt's friend Dan, a developer, came on board, part time. He is out of Connecticut. They moved ball with another Indian team. Some ground was covered, but not all. First they hoped to launch in December. Did not happen.

Raising money from friends and family would be the easiest thing, Manick feels, as does Matt. That gives six to 12 months. Work is on.

Get on the wait list, be the first to be notified: TicketMonkey.
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