The following is a short company profile interview with Andrew Citores, Co-Founder and CEO of JusCollege. If you’d like your vegas startup company profiled, drop us a note on our contact us page.
Tell us about your company
Simply put, JusCollege is the easiest way for students to plan, organize and book awesome travel and entertainment experiences — from spring break in Mexico to popular music festival packages across the country to VIP Las Vegas weekends, and everything in between.
Founded in 2010, we serve the $162 billion student travel market that is made up of more than 20 million college students and social groups. We’re change-makers, tech geeks who want to disrupt the traditional model of how student travel companies serve this market. We’re using mobile and web-based technology to give our travelers the information they need and ability to consume our products and services spontaneously and immediately while en route. We’re building a company for the “right now economy.”
In just three years, we’ve grown to more than 80,000 student customers at 100+ campuses and more than 300 fraternities, sororities and other campus organizations.
Tell us about your team
I’m the CEO (Andrew Citores) and Bo Thede is our COO. In 2010, I was a student at Loyola Marymount University, running an entertainment business in Los Angeles and Bo was working in marketing for an online food ordering service while attending University of Colorado, Boulder. We discussed the possibility of combining key elements of our businesses to create the ultimate online concierge service for college students. In November 2012, Allan Teruel joined our executive team as the company’s first CTO.
In 2013, JusCollege acquired CaboSpringBreak.com, a premier student tour provider in Cabo San Lucas for more than 20 years. The acquisition added former CaboSpringBreak.com owner Jason Hollander to the team as Director of Travel Development. That same year, student travel veteran Jim Bianchi-Rossi also joined as VP of Operations. With his former agency, Bianchi-Rossi Tours, Jim has traveled more than 100,000 students to the Mexican Riviera and has 18 years of industry experience.
Why did you choose Las Vegas? What do you love about Las Vegas
What’s best about Vegas is its energy and over-the-top delivery of amazing experiences you can’t get anywhere else in the world. Travelers these days have seen it all — and yet, they can still come to Las Vegas and see more.
Las Vegas is at the heart of our operations because it makes up a large portion of our business and it’s the center of the world when it comes to travel and entertainment. We’re expecting to travel more than 40,000 students to the city in 2014. In fact, JusCollege is among the top group providers for The Venetian, The Palazzo and Palms, and we regularly book packages that include stays at other Vegas hotels like Hard Rock and The Cosmopolitan. We also do VIP experience packages for groups like TAO as well as unique, one-of-a-kind events. Because we’re so focused on customer service, we have staff on site for all of these events. You can see why we feel the need to be here.
Being headquartered in Las Vegas also gives us the kind of face-to-face, personal relationships with our brand partners we could not get if we were headquartered elsewhere.
What can the Las Vegas community do to help your company?
We’re all about growth, whether that’s through expanding into the college markets we haven’t yet reached or through smart, strategic partnerships we can ink with existing entertainment producers, hotel groups, transportation companies, restaurant groups, music producers and everything in between. We can give Vegas companies access to thousands of college students, if they can provide the high quality, unique entertainment and VIP experiences this market thrives on. We’re looking for partners who share our values: laser-focus on customer service, unforgettable experiences, safety and technology-driven delivery.
We’re particularly interested in the tech companies in Vegas that are specializing in travel and entertainment. JusCollege is already doing some interesting things with our mobile app, like giving our customers the information they need in real time, including connecting them to their friends and fellow travelers, promoting products and services spontaneously and allowing them to buy products on the go. We open our arms to any company that can augment those things.
What’s your best advice for startup entrepreneurs?
Don’t give up and focus, focus, focus (and focus more) on your sales goals. We’ve been through ups and downs, had highs and lows like you can’t imagine. At the end of 2011, we were down to our last $200, living at the office and just about ready to fold. We didn’t though. We moved the company back to my hometown of Menlo Park, found a few sales opportunities to focus on and dug in. Our sales started picking up, then they went crazy and six months later, JusCollege was booking and organizing hundreds of student trips, many of which were VIP packages to top hotels in Las Vegas. We hit profitability by the end of 2012. In 2013, we acquired two of the most respected travel companies in the industry, Bianchi-Rossi Tours and CaboSpringBreak.com, and now we’re on track to hit $3 million in sales by year’s end, servicing more than 80,000 customers.
Where can we find out more about your company?
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