Alexandre Martucci (left) and Aurélien Boudier (right) are co-founders of Crazy-Voyages, France’s leading organiser of bachelor parties.
BACKGROUNDCrazy-Voyages is an online travel agency specialised in organising short and festive trips including bachelor parties, weekends with friends, business seminars and more. With an offering of 70 destinations across Europe and more than 5,000 proposed activities, Crazy-Voyages offers a fully-customisable, carefree adventure. Already a leader in France, its founders hope to transform the company into a European reference. In 2016, Crazy-Voyages experienced a 20% increase in customers and a turnover of 6 million euros. In July 2017, the company aquired a British competitor to further expand to the UK market and reach sales of 10 million.
What led you to become an entrepreneur?Alexandre Martucci: It all started rather organically in 2007, when I was asked to organise a bachelor party for one of my good friends. I hosted the party abroad, convinced that it would be more fun than staying in Paris. The planning was quite a challenge but the party turned out to be a huge success. Soon, other friends began asking me to organise their bachelor parties too! After my third party, held in Budapest in 2009, one of my friends asked me to consider offering the service as a proper business. I hadn’t thought of it before but it made sense! That very day I met up with my friend Aurélien Boudier, and together we started to conceive a business plan and website. After some quick research, we realised that with 250,000 French people getting married each year, there was quite a market out there. We also realised there were not yet any online offers for international bachelor party trips, so we immediately developed the Crazy-Voyages website. As they say, the rest is history.
How has HEC contributed to your success?AM: In addition to my 2005 HEC Masters in Marketing, the 2010 HEC incubator program was a tremendous boost to the business. I applied to the program in February 2010, and met the admissions panel in March 2010. At first the jury did not seem impressed with the idea, but once they heard that after only two weeks of operations we already had a turnover of 20,000 euros, they changed their mind. Unlike other applicants, it was clear our idea had a market. Thanks to my marketing background, I already had a fairly strong idea of how to manage my brand. But the HEC incubator program provided me with lots of legal and financial advice, as well as tangible business benefits. For example, after just one three-hour lesson in Google AdWords, we saved 70% in our advertsing budget!
What is one key lesson you learned during the HEC Incubator?AM: I remember one brilliant course in sales. And unlike the related subjects of marketing, accounting and finance, sales is absolutely crucial to actually bring in revenue! The skill is especially important for entrepreneurs because in the early stages of your business you are often the only salesperson! I discovered that it is not enough to simply found a great company, but that you also need to interact well with your customers. Concretely I learned that for each sales pitch, you should first make your customer dream, then demonstrate your expertise, and finally provide a clear and concrete call-to-action. I still train all my sales staff on the lessons I learned that day!
What is your contact with HEC alumni today?AM: The HEC alumni is a fantastic network. For example, we were able to secure 600,000 euros in financing through an investment fund created by two HEC alums. I am also still in contact with the HEC Incubator program: twice a year, I visit the classes to share my entrepreneurial experience with students.
“I would encourage all entrepreneurs to quickly test your idea out in the real world.”
What advice would you give to new entrepreneurs?AM: I’ve seen way too many people spend way too much time on their business plan—sometimes as long as one year—without first trying to implement the idea! I would encourage all entrepreneurs to quickly test your idea out in the real world, so that it can begin to naturally evolve with market realities. In some ways, we were lucky to not have much upfront investment as it forced us to go straight to the market. We knew we only had 1,000 euros each month for four months, so we bought digital ads and gave it a go. After a turnover of 150,000 euros in our first year, we knew we were on to something. In the second year, after fine-tuning our business model, we then saw a turnover of 900,000 euros. We don’t regret jumping in early!
- 250,000 French people get married each year
- 6 million euros turnover in 2017
- 20% increase in customers over 2016