Divide and Conquer
September 19th, 2019
We spoke to Tangoo founder Paul Davidescu about how he developed the idea for Tangoo and how his journey as a business owner has changed since 2011.
Where and how did you come up with the idea for Tangoo?
Tangoo is a product of my personal mandate to ignite deep relationships between people while using technology as a tool rather than a substitute. We leverage technology and social media as a tool to help businesses and consumers build deep relationships by helping both sides be smarter and more efficient in finding their ideal match, alongside keeping them up to date with each other’s evolving needs and desires.
Tangoo’s evolution stems from my transformative journey when I lived in Barcelona for a study abroad semester in 2010. Barcelona was a breakthrough. Its deep history, intimate culture, and vibrant dining scene made me break bread with interesting people and made it really easy to resist technology when moments of pure offline presence are called for.
When I returned to Vancouver, we teamed up with Daily Hive to manifest this vision into a working business that helped restaurants attract the right patrons through experiential events and eventually, our iOS app, which acquired funding on CBC’s Dragons’ Den.
Today, we have evolved into a social media marketing agency that specializes in helping retail concepts, real estate, and tech startups generate and nurture leads with paid Facebook/Instagram advertising, email automation, Messenger marketing, and video/influencer marketing.
How did your time on Dragon’s Den change the scope of the business?
After realizing that even Dragons’ Den cannot help most B2C app-based businesses, we had to pivot into a simpler and better cash flowing business. The Dragons’ Den experience was incredibly valuable for PR, hiring, and investment as Vikram Vij became an investor even though he initially turned us down.
In 2016, Tangoo transformed into a turnkey content creation company leveraging influencer marketing and social media to elevate a restaurant’s online brand. Since then, we started to focus more and more into the aspects of social media that drive tangible dollar returns and thus, landed in the paid advertising space for newer verticals that rely on the merits of social media to build strong customer relationships.
Tangoo was founded in 2011. How has the business changed since then and how has the Toronto expansion changed how the business is run?
It has evolved quite a bit, going through four different business models related to marketing between businesses and consumers. To listen to the journey, check out our recent speech in Toronto at “F*ck Up Nights.”
The Toronto expansion has helped my partner, Santiago Orozco, and I divide and conquer with him running the core Vancouver restaurant marketing business as I open up new industries and business units beyond just restaurants.
Mortgage Broker marketing has been the main one that has caught on and we’re currently opening up a mortgage broker division, Level Up Mortgages, which will focus on acquiring house financing for self-employed, new-comers, and first-time homebuyers!
As the business has changed and shifted, what would you say has been the biggest challenge? How have you and your team overcome that adversity?
The biggest challenge has always been staying true to our roots and learning fast enough to keep growing cash flow at a healthy enough rate that we can afford to hire, retain, and groom top talent – it all comes down to people. Pivoting as dramatically as we have in the past means you need to constantly refine your value proposition, educate the public, and build a new reputation that still ties into what you’re best known for; owning our craft of helping businesses sell and build tight and sustainable customer relationships. In many ways, you’re becoming a student again and it takes time to master things so it’s an insane balancing act to master.
Our culture is one of adaptability, resilience, and being candid with where the market is going and where we need to improve. We live this culture by having bi-weekly, monthly, and quarterly reflections that involve analyzing data, doing research, and planning a direction that keeps us ahead of the curve.
It comes down to grit and our hiring process has evolved throughout the years to attract this kind of talent and allow them to exercise this innate skill through challenging clients and constant experimentation.
With the network you’ve built and the presentations you’ve attended, where do you get your inspiration? How have they inspired you?
My biggest sources of inspiration come from my team, the people I collide with at conferences, speaker events, and relevant podcasts and books. At the end of the day, people who are also in the trenches every day and have a passion to better themselves and those around them inspire you. Sometimes, this happens when you satisfy your curiosity by going to something completely random like a biohacking meetup or taking a mortgage agent course. Both were experiences that I went in with very low expectations but now, they have become a massive part of my trajectory as I go into my 30’s and look to conquer another industry with an increasingly sharp body to mind connection.
What are the top three pieces of advice you wish someone gave you as an entrepreneur that you would now share with budding startup founders?
- If you’re not slightly embarrassed by launching or iterating on your product or service, you wasted too much time trying to perfect it.
- Greatness is a decision, not a hope. Make sure to take the red pill and be aware of the sacrifices, discipline, progress, and resources needed to reach a goal. Too many people (myself included), drink the startup Kool-Aid and hope the market will do them a favour – the world is too busy to care.
- Prioritize useful over faster and bigger. Yes, it’s all about scale if you want to keep growing, however, if you grow too fast and don’t deliver world-class products or service… you stagnate.