Kurze Fragen, kurze Antworten: Regelmässig stellt sich ein Startupper unserer Fragerunde. Diesmal der CEO eines der erfolgreichsten Schweizer Startups, das zweieinhalb Jahre nach der Gründung bereits über 100 Angestellte beschäftigt.

Arnaud Betrand, HouseTrip (zvg)Arnaud, what is HouseTrip?

HouseTrip was founded 2.5 years ago with the vision of making online booking of vacation rentals as simple as it is to book a hotel and to empower individuals all around the world to deliver a more authentic travel experience to travellers

What was the biggest difficulty in product development so far an how did you solve it?

The biggest difficulty in product development was the struggle to focus on the features that really mattered to our users. The risk that many startup entrepreneurs are tempted by is to do too many things, all at once. This stretches resource and confuses the end user. My advice is: don’t try and do too much all at once. Focus on doing a few things very well and build from those strengths.

What was your best marketing decision?

The best marketing decision I made was to always focus. What made a big difference for HouseTrip was our ability to be good at SEM. The reason why we became that good at it was because we focused so strongly on optimising and didn’t spread ourselves too thin.

In retrospect, what would you do differently in the founding of your company?

Looking back, we should have gathered more user feedback before launching the website. We had to do many changes post-launch and could have solved this in advance had we done more user testing.

Why did you chose to become an entrepreneur and what would be your alternative?

I come from a history of entrepreneurship. Both my parents are entrepreneurs so it was in the blood. I like the possibilities that being an entrepreneur has to offer – from the idea phase straight through to implementation. I like to see my dreams become reality. If I wasn’t an entrepreneur, I would probably be working in IT.

Which founder personality do you admire most and why?

I greatly admire Gordon Ramsay because he is very passionate about what he does and he has managed to go way beyond being a chef. He’s built a brand from humble beginnings. He’s very authentic which is something to be admired.

Give our readers a free business idea! What kind of company in what field would you start if you had loads of time and ressources?

Flying cars would be cool. Everyone always said we would have flying cars everywhere by now but it isn’t the case (and would be super cool). So, if someone can develop a flying car then come talk to me.

Did you imagine something different about being an entrepreneur? How does your work routine differ from what you had expected it to be?

I thought being an entrepreneur would be a lot less stressful than it actually is. And as for my work routine – what routine? Every day is different and every day I have less personal time available to me than I would like. But that is the sacrifice you sometimes have to make to achieve success.

Which startup should we interview next for this format?

I would interview Mehdi Jacques Aminian from the startup Jilion.