Q+A with EventKey founder, ASU alumni and current Venture Devils participant Rafael Testai
What is EventKey and what was the inspiration in creating this startup?
“EventKey is an electronic rolodex with event managing capabilities. “There was a need to keep track of who I met at events and to connect with who was of most value to me when I attended an event. Nobody carried business cards. I started to work on EventKey shortly after I graduated from ASU. I then met Perry Waxman, Keyul Shah, and Paul Butler (not pictured), all ASU students, who are now co-founders and helping take EventKey to its full potential. ”
You won the “Best Hispanic Entrepreneur of the Year” award last year (2016) and now you’re a winner of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) Pitch Your Biz Competition, what do these prestigious awards mean to you?
“Being Hispanic has provided me many opportunities and connected me with people that I wouldn’t have otherwise met. From my experiences, I’ve found being a Hispanic entrepreneur as an advantage.”
Testai adds that the local Hispanic business network is quick to champion its members, an attribute he notes as critical to EventKey’s achievements to date. He adds, “The greatest support that I have received throughout my startup journey has been the strongest from the local Hispanic community here in Phoenix. Notably, when we first launched EventKey, the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce allowed us to implement our software at their events, which was instrumental in our success. Other leaders in the Hispanic community including Monica Villalobos, VP of AZHCC and Eduardo A. Borquez, both provided me with great connections and even a handful of investors which we are currently exploring.”
“Growing up in Argentina, my father was a lawyer and my mother a doctor there were always high expectations and a feeling that I would become a difference maker. My parents encouraged me to not always follow the well-traveled path.”
How has the Venture Devils program and the mentorship at ASU helped EventKey?
“ASU and the Venture Devils program has connected us with valuable mentors that we would have otherwise not have been able to reach nor afford. Marcy Maslov, Aaron Pantoja and Zach Ferres all Venture Mentors in the Venture Devils program have been very helpful in guiding EventKey. I was also introduced to David Cogan through the W. P. Carey Mentorship Program and he too has been instrumental in my development as an entrepreneur. I’ve found that we really need a tribe of people to be blunt and honest with us so that we can grow.”