Julia Hartz: Co-founder & President, Eventbrite
Meet one of Little PINK Book’s Top Women in Technology 2012
By Caroline Cox
Julia Hartz co-founded the self-service and events ticketing platform Eventbrite in 2006. The company works with event organizers – from charity and corporate groups to PTA moms and entrepreneurs – to organize, simplify and bring in attendees for events of all sizes.
Hartz created the organization with her husband Kevin, who was on the forefront of tech startups as an early PayPal investor. Eventbrite tracks RSVPs, streamlines promotion, collects payment and more through their phone app, website and social media. The company’s first European office opened in London in October 2011 and its 50 millionth event attendance ticket was issued this past February.
Education: Pepperdine University
Other work experience: MTV Networks, FX Networks
LPB: Where did you get your passion for technology?
JH: I began my career in television as a network executive for MTV and then FX. In that time, I met Kevin (my co-founder and husband Kevin Hartz) as he was starting his second startup. I lived vicariously through him as he launched and built a company as well as advised and invested in startups. What I loved about technology was the velocity and meritocracy. The pace is break-neck. Nothing stays the same for long. In Hollywood, merit is based on who you know. In Silicon Valley, it's what you know. (Though who you know can't hurt.) This drove me to leave my cushy entertainment career and start a company with Kevin two years after we met.
LPB: What was the biggest career obstacle you faced?
JH: The challenge of growing our startup team of 30 to 100 in less than a year. We raised our first VC round in 2009. We had enough traction, having bootstrapped for almost four years, to know where we wanted to spend the money and how we wanted to grow the team. The challenge was, how do we weather growth without destroying our team’s cultural fabric? I had seen teams become disjointed during similar growth periods. So I made a concerted effort to focus solely on Eventbrite’s [staff, called "Britelings”] of dynamic, brilliant, thoughtful, friendly people. Our culture is a fabric of their ideals, experiences and aspirations, which makes for an evolving and engaging workplace.
LPB: What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
JH: I am extremely risk-adverse. This begs the question: Why am I trying to do what I do? The reason my mentality lends itself to growing a company is that my partner [Kevin] is the opposite when it comes to risk. We balance each other out nicely.
LPB: What do more women need to do to be successful in the technology field?
JH: Understand what you want to accomplish and go after it with the focus and conviction like there is no other option. If you don't even conceive of failure, you won't be afraid of it and it won't inhibit you.
LPB: What’s your success secret?
JH: Intuition, work ethic and realism. In my career, I've had a natural ability to understand and connect with people. [That helped me] build a team of 200 and a [thriving] culture. I've always had a strong work ethic. That lends itself to success when creating something from nothing. Realism has helped me see things for what they are and not always for what I wish them to be.