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Innovation & Job News

NY-based event planning platform expands to DC

Fiestah, a New York-built party planning platform, is expanding to D.C. and launching Tuesday. The company, cofounded by Stefanos Missailidis, went through New York's DreamIt Ventures accelerator in 2014 and raised a $250,000 angel round in the fall of 2014. The company is starting a "city by city rollout," with D.C. being the first; San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Chicago expansions are also planned for 2015.

"First, I grew up in the Alexandria area," Missailidis says of the decision to bring Fiestah to the District, "so I know the area and most of my network is here. Coming back home feels good. Second, it's a great market. There are tons and tons of events here," both in the government and in the suburban market.

Fiestah provides a centralized platform for event planners. Instead of having to contact individual vendors for locations, DJs, caterers, florists, photographers and the like, and track those conversations and negotiations via multiple email rounds, Fiestah users set up their event once on the platform and select which type of vendors they need. Between three and five Fiestah-approved vendors in each category bid on the event on the site, and all negotiations and contracts take place online.

"We provide a list of curated vendors," Missailidis says. "Most of the vendors have some sort of presence online. There is a request process on our site. Then we review who they are, talk to them on the phone or via email. The most important thing is that they can communicate professionally with a client. They could serve the best food in the world, but if they're not responsive, that doesn't look good on them and doesn't look good on us. Then it's the quality of the service they provide. We check out their online reputation," looking for things like Yelp reviews.

The platform is free for event planners and for vendors to list their services (click here to see a NY vendor profile); Fiestah takes a commission—typically 15 percent—of each contract booked through the platform. Payments to vendors are held in escrow until after the event is complete.

The D.C. expansion will allow Fiestah to grow its consumer operations--as in, weddings and parties--as opposed to corporate events, which made up 90 percent of Fiestah's New York business.

If all goes well, Fiestah will raise a large seed or possibly a Series A round this summer.

Read more articles by Allyson Jacob.

Allyson Jacob is a writer originally hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio, and is the Innovation and Job News editor for Elevation DC. Her work has been featured in The Cincinnati Enquirer and Cincinnati CityBeat. Have a tip about a small business or start-up making waves inside the Beltway? Tell her here.
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