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Entrepreneurs

2015 CEA Winner In Internet-Related Business: GigSalad

By Cece Nunn, posted May 8, 2015
Steven Tetrault & Mark Steiner, co-founders | Year Founded: 2007 | No. of Employees: 30 (Photo by Chris Brehmer)
Internet company GigSalad has grown rapidly since 2007 and turned more of its attention recently to cater to booking agents and event hosts throughout the United States and Canada.   

“We started out as basically an online directory of performers, and within the past three years have become a true marketplace,” said Steve Tetrault, co-founder and vice president of product at GigSalad. “What that means is we’re building out a booking process, which has been a game-changer for us.”

GigSalad employees work out of two offices – one in Springfield, Missouri, and one in Chandler’s Wharf in downtown Wilmington, which is overseen by Tetrault. The Port City location primarily focuses on design and development. At the other office, GigSalad co-founder Mark Steiner leads customer service, sales, marketing and human resources.

The entertainers GigSalad clients book run the gamut, from an Elvis impersonator or a Santa for a Christmas Party to a live band for a larger event. And those are just a few examples.

“We’re helping make incredible memories and rich experiences for people across the country, and we love that,” Tetrault said.

Some of the company’s corporate clients have included McDonald’s, Harley-Davidson, CBS, Microsoft, Zappos and Disney.  

“Now that marketplaces are ubiquitous, our aim is to really be the absolute best and most relevant to what we do,” Tetrault said. “My goal is to build a better and better product to serve both sides of that marketplace.”

Before starting GigSalad, Tetrault and Steiner met in New York City where Tetrault was working in the design field, and Steiner in talent booking. Tetrault moved to Wilmington about 10 years ago, but the two kept in touch and eventually decided to combine their talents to create GigSalad, which now has more than 60,000 bands, entertainers and event services for hire.

The fact that GigSalad has never solicited any venture capital sometimes puzzles people, Tetrault said.

“It’s about the autonomy, the story we want to tell. We don’t want that story controlled by anybody else,” he said. “It’s a different type of game once you get money and your company gets valued at a certain amount, and it’s a game we’re just not interested in right now.

“We’re having a blast building GigSalad the way we want.”

Others want to know what it took for the company to grow so much in eight years.

“We do get a lot of questions about how we’ve done it because we have traction and we’re out of that really start-up phase,” Tetrault said. “It’s kind of cool to get those kind of questions from people, really young, starry-eyed entrepreneurs who want the kind of traction we’ve had. It’s fun to answer those kind of questions.”

He tells them: “This is what we’re passionate about. This is what we believe in, and I think that’s why it’s worked.”

For more info about the Coastal Entrepreneur Awards, click here.

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