First Republic Clients: Julia Hartz, Co-Founder and CEO, Eventbrite
Kevin Hartz, Co-Founder and Chairman, Eventbrite; Partner, Founders Fund
Julia and Kevin Hartz founded Eventbrite in 2006. Their aim in the beginning? To democratize ticketing by developing online technology to help bring people together offline: from photography and yoga classes to sold-out concerts and festivals. They are married, parents to two young children and work together every day. First Republic has been their bank since 2012. We spoke to Kevin and Julia about their vision for the future, the benefits and challenges of working together and finding a work-life balance.
What was the original vision behind Eventbrite?
KEVIN: We really believe in the notion of live experiences to bring people together. We have events in all different categories, all around the world. People often think about technology being very isolating and drawing people indoors to spend time in front of their computers. The aim of Eventbrite is just the opposite. We use a platform to help bring people together in the real world and we’re excited about that balance. It’s what’s important to us when we think about what we want for our children and what we want for society.
You once said that when you founded Eventbrite you were on the brink of creating your destiny -- can you speak to this?
JULIA: I think creating your destiny is deciding where you’re going to go, how you’re going to make a difference and then connecting the dots. At Eventbrite, we set a North Star and we’ve consistently traveled towards that North Star. It takes time and it’s not always a linear path, but we’ve been laser-focused on our goal of building the world’s first global marketplace for live experiences.
KEVIN: Creating your own destiny really relies on having a great team behind you. As we’ve grown our team in engineering, product, sales and marketing, we’ve had the freedom to experiment and explore new boundaries. That’s really the excitement behind what is happening in the technology industry and what’s happening here at Eventbrite.
Being married to your business partner must have its challenges. What advice would you give others running a business with a loved one?
KEVIN: Each of you is unique and has your own specialties. Each one of you should focus on what you love to do best and what you specialize in. Let your partner work on their area of expertise, as you concentrate on your own.
JULIA: Kevin and I were realistic that there could be a scenario where it would be better for us not to work together day to day. Actually identifying that and talking about it upfront helped put each of us at ease. You always hope for the best, but sometimes you need to plan for the worst, too. In the beginning, we talked through every possible scenario and had an action plan for each. Now here we are, nine years later. We have a team of 500 in eight offices around the world, and two children at home. We are still having fun and it feels like a dream come true.
What are the services First Republic provides that are special to you?
KEVIN: The shift for us that really made an impression with First Republic was their understanding of how we think and their understanding of our particular financial situation.
How do you balance work and life?
JULIA: I think the secret of balancing starting a company and raising children rests on the partners that you choose – not only your life partner, but also the people you surround yourselves with. We purposely put our roots down locally and having our family around has been tremendously helpful. The backbone of this entire journey has been having our parents present with us and supporting us. At Eventbrite, we have an amazing executive team that can operate the company autonomously, which gives us the flexibility to be present in both sides of our life. Being an entrepreneur and raising a family at the same time is not for the fainthearted. It’s taxing in every way, but also very rewarding. Our focus is on Eventbrite, our family and the girls.
What has been your biggest challenge as business owners?
JULIA: Growing the best team possible and understanding how to lay the foundation to build a great company over time has been the biggest challenge. It’s a positive challenge and I come to Eventbrite every day thinking about how we can build a lasting company that is known for quality.