Persistence is Key: Student Entrepreneur Paolo Biondo

Paolo Biondo is a student from Mazara del Vallo, a small town in Sicily, and he is majoring in Business Administration with a minor in Entrepreneurship. Before coming to JCU, Paolo lived in London and in India, where he worked as a digital colorist in the film industry. In 2021, Paolo cofounded Ticketoo, a secondary ticket marketplace.

Paolo Biondo

Paolo Biondo

What brought you to JCU?
I have always been interested in starting a company. In 2019 I decided to start studying Business Administration at John Cabot University. I chose JCU because of the advantages it offers, such as personalizing your studies and combining different subjects like finance, computer science, and economics, studying in small classes, and developing an international network.

In 2021, you cofounded Ticketoo, a ticketing marketplace. How did you get the idea, and how did you implement it? What were the main challenges and rewards?
Ticketoo is a secondary ticket marketplace that allows people to sell and buy tickets for concerts, museums, and theaters. We participated in Dock3 Training, a 3-month startup incubator program, to define the idea and validate it on the market. In 2021, we launched the first version of the web app, which showed us that people liked the idea and purchased the tickets.

One of the challenges of working in a startup is that everyone is responsible for everything. If something breaks, it is everyone’s responsibility to fix it. Being an entrepreneur involves a roller coaster of emotions: stress, frustration, happiness, and fear. The first step is to be aware and accept the uncertainty of the current time and the difficulties that may arise. For example, in Fall 2021, I did a semester abroad at the University of Massachusetts Boston, and I found many challenges like not being in the same time zone as my colleague; we had many calls during the night to work together remotely. Eventually, the hard work paid off and we won the Up Soccer NTT Data startup competition.

What classes and/or professors inspired you the most and why?
One of the classes that I really loved was “Early-Stage Entrepreneurship” with Professor Silvia Pulino. She was really passionate about the topic, and she gave me a lot of feedback about my ideas, even outside the classroom. Another class that I recommend is “Business Communications” with Professor Michèle Favorite. All her classes were engaging, challenging, and fun, and she was always open to discussion. Last but not least, Professor Riccardo Maiolini was really helpful and supportive. I asked him many questions related to Ticketoo and he always gave me advice and pointed me in the right direction.

What advice would you give to students/recent graduates who would like to launch their own website/business?
Starting a company involves a lot of hassle. What I learned is that persistence is everything. Developing a business takes time, so if you want to launch your idea, you need time and a team of people with different skills. A person can have an idea, but without a team he or she cannot implement it. Ultimately, there are many professors at JCU who can help you with your business, so do not be shy and tell them about your ideas.

What are your plans for the future?
I expect to graduate from JCU in December 2022. In the short-term, I would like to deepen my computer science skills. I would love to work in the computer science industry, so I will apply for positions in this field while continuing to build Ticketoo.