How Harold Hughes of Greenville, SC is using Blockchain Technology to Eliminate Ticket Fraud

Harold Hughes, a Greenville, SC and Austin, TX-based entrepreneur, was recently featured at Watch The Yard. Check out some excerpts from the article below. Click here to read the entire article at Watch the Yard.

Have you ever bought event tickets online and worried about getting scammed?

It turns out that there are a lot of scammers out there who sell fake tickets to sports games and music concerts but they need beware because Harold Hughes, the founder of the technology company Bandwagon is using the same blockchain technology that keeps cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin safe and applying it to event tickets so you don’t get scammed the next time you buy football or Beyonce tickets.

Harold, a Spring 2006 initiate of the Pi Alpha Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha at Clemson, has been recognized by Google and even been featured in the hit Gimlet Media podcast The Pitch for the way his company is using tech to change the way we all purchase tickets online. Since he just so happens to be a member of the prestigious Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity we at Watch The Yard were able to pull some strings and get and interview with him about his  product, how being a brother of a Black fraternity helped him get to where he is today, and what he thinks Black greeks who are established in tech need to do to help the next generation of tech powerhouses.

Read the full interview with Harold below:

What is the best way to explain Bandwagon to someone who has never used it before?

To the average fan, you won’t know that Bandwagon is involved when you buy your concert or basketball game tickets, but that’s by design. Bandwagon is a B2B company with solutions that work with teams, festivals, and other event organizers to help eliminate ticket fraud for their events. Fans everywhere—seriously, one of our newest customers is an international film festival in Johannesburg—will be able to spend their hard earned money on tickets and have peace of mind that the tickets will work and that the event organizer is genuinely working to make their live event experience better.

What challenges do you believe you face as a black founder and how do you overcome them?

As a Black Founder, I’ve personally felt the challenge of not having access to early capital as we got started. I don’t say that to mean that only people of color lack the relationships or resources to start companies but the numbers are out there. When you look at the percentage of companies can to raise capital AND how long it takes them, you’re likely to see a Black Founder do more with less simply because we have to. At the same time, I think that navigating networks for finding early employees and investors is a challenge. Everyone knows that your first employees/team members are likely friends, family, or people that you’ve worked with so if your circle isn’t diverse culturally, socioeconomically, or by gender, your access to funding is likely to be impacted.

I’m very fortunate that I attended Clemson University and in my involvement in student organizations, alumni groups, and even my job out of college allowed me to network and build real life-long relationships with people who have truly shared and extended their networks to me. I think that’s the key to success as a Black Founder—staying truly authentic to yourself and your beliefs but also finding ways to engage and connect with allies that are willing to extend a hand—and in some cases, their privilege—to you. 

What is the biggest sacrifice that you have made in starting Bandwagon?

Without a doubt, the biggest sacrifice that I’ve made in this journey has been spending the first 6 months of this year away from my wife and son. As 2017 started to come to an end, I really felt like we were on to something, but we needed some help. While thinking of ways that we could continue to grow, we were invited to the Capital Factory Accelerator in Austin, Texas.

At the time, my son had just turned one, and my wife and I were in a tough spot financially as the tenants in our rental property (previously my bachelor pad and first home that I bought as a 25-year old) told us that they would not be renewing in 2018. The idea of trying to manage a second mortgage while not bringing in an income was added pressure to a complex situation. My wife and I ultimately talked and decided that doing the 6-month program was the best thing for the company and subsequently our family. However, without an income, the idea of finding housing and affording living expenses in Austin for 6-months was impossible so we did what we had to do. I sold my townhouse, shipped my car to Texas, and got a room in a friends apartment (all that I could afford) and dove in 100% to Austin. Only seeing my family for 4 or 5 days a month for that long was really tough on us but the program proved to be even more valuable than I expected, and I’m thankful to be on the other side of it. 

Click here to read the entire article about Harold Hughes at Watch the Yard. For even more about this South Carolina entrepreneur, check out the below video.