We catch up with Alban Sayag, French entrepreneur and founder of WINGiT – the real-time travel & events app.

Alban Sayag graduated from leading European business school HEC Lausanne, Switzerland. At 19 he founded APG Concept – the first company to develop a wireless earpiece for mobile phones. He then went on to co-found a software applications development boutique named Ad Hoc Management, before joining the Capgemini Group were he led the business unit in Switzerland.

In 2011, while Alban and his friends were in brussels struggling to find something to do,he came up with the idea of an app that would let you embrace cities like a local, leading him to develop an algorithm that detected and measured the most talked-about events across social media.

WINGiT spent a year in development before it was officially launched in New York in 2012. Sayag has now raised over $2 million and has plans for WINGiT to launch in over 200 cities before the end of 2016. We talk to him to find out more…

The biggest challenge is... Resilience. Launching a new venture is all about being prepared for a long journey and the many ups and downs that come with it. You have to be prepared to run a marathon and a sprint at the same time. Your resilience will be tested everyday but every small progress you make will give you more satisfaction than in any other job.

The average day is spent... Half is spent making sure that we “deliver” and that we actually implement the agreed strategy. The other half is spent making sure that we adapt the agreed strategy to the constant changes happening at every level – our customers, our understanding of them, our competitors, technologies… It’s about being able to do what you plan and at the same time questioning it every day, in order to stay adaptable.

The team consists of... A management team made of four people: Hy-Bien (Technology), Thibault (Product), Elsa (Marketing/Comm), Christelle (User Acquisition & Engagement). A Technical team made of five strong engineers, as well as a Board composed of Investors and Advisors.

My favourite quote is… “It’s is not the strongest of the species, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the ones that are the most adaptable to change.” - Charles Darwin

I am where I am today because… I would really like to say “because I decided to be there, because it was my plan all along”, but realistically I would say it’s because of an initial passion for creating things, for entrepreneurship, and then because of a couple of decisions I’ve made at key moments (without even realising it at the time).

I am who I am because of… My parents, life with all its events and how deeply it shapes us, my wife and most recently, my son.

The best advice I've been given... If only I knew :-))

In five years I'd like to be… Today, TimeOut is hardly the only player providing a decent “things to do” service on a global scale to travelers and residents. With thousands of staff around the world and a fragile “brand licensing” model, they cover 107 cities. In 3 to 5 years from now, we see WINGiT far ahead of them. We will cover at least three times as many cities, with 100 times less staff and using a real-time time, geo-targeted method. All of that under will fall under just one single company.

The thing no one ever tells you about running your own business online… It’s not what you read on Mashable or Wired.

Our biggest mistake and what it taught us... I feel very proud and lucky to work with such a wonderful team at WINGiT. It took me too long to realise that a solid team is more important than everything else in the success of a new venture. Bringing the right talent into the company should have been the first thing on my to-do list, even before the business model or marketing strategy.

The most rewarding experience we've had to date... When you’re running a consumer business, every single positive review from a user is highly rewarding: we got this idea, we made it and someone is ultimately using it and loving it! That’s an amazing feeling.

18 December 2015