Startup with BoogieSearch: Stefano Di Gregorio (2021)

— 25.04.22

by Jody Dalton

Inspired by the intense business problems spotted in the local nightlife scene during their student social-lives, Stefano Di Gregorio and his business partner Chris Saraty decided to make it their business to revolutionise the nightlife industry. With an idea, an entrepreneurial flair and a head for business, they set up shop in sunny Brighton. In less than a year after graduating in 2021 Stefano and Chris have raised a six figure investment and are paving the way for the new era of nightlife.

We caught up BA Accounting and Financial Management alumnus (2021) owner and co-founder Stefano.

BoogieSearch, tell us all about it.

Ever bought tickets online? Been surprised by hidden fees and wild prices on the secondary market? This is the problem BoogieSearch was founded on in January 2021. Chris, my co-founder and I created the first prototype to bring transparency and power to the ticket buyers. We participated, won £2500 in a Startup Competition in March, and went full time as soon as we graduated in May that year. We set up base in sunny Brighton and hired a few friends.

Today, things have changed. We have raised £160,000 of investment and our team has grown massively. BoogieSearch now consists of Chris (CEO), me (Stef, COO), three full time software developers and a sales and marketing team.

In May, we will begin our EIS funding round where we aim to raise £300k to supercharge our growth. Now focussing on the local nightlife market, we partner with venues and drinks brands to provide rewards for event goers. In the 70 days since launching, we expanded to 2500 active users and over 1000 rewards have been claimed. What seems like for the first time in history, local venues in Brighton can utilise customer data to increase their revenue and drive greater attendance. We are super excited for the future and plan to roll out our events and rewards platform across the UK and the south coast in 2022.

What motivates you to keep going?

Essential to getting BoogieSearch off the ground was partnering with my close, developer friend Chris. We then entered the Startup Sussex competition, which highly motivated us due to our intense competitiveness. As part of this competition, we practised pitching and expanded our network tenfold, ultimately reaching directors of public companies. Hearing positive feedback and approval from these connections re-enforced the value in the problem we were solving.

Starting up is a big step - are there any challenges to running your own business straight out of university?

In the early stages of setting up in Brighton, the areas of business I wished I was better prepared for were the legalities of finances, PAYE, insurance etc. We learnt very quickly that these things are best dealt with by professionals. We had resisted hiring accountants and other administrative assistance due to the perceived high cost whilst we were operating out of our own limited savings. But we soon realised the expertise and peace of mind is well worth it. Now, almost a year later, we have developed close connections with our accountants and legal providers and see them as an extension of our team.

“Don’t keep your ideas secret. Tell everyone you know your idea, collect feedback and make consistent improvements.”

Stefano Di Gregorio, BA Accounting and Financial Management (2021), co-founder BoogieSearch

It sounds like such a learning curve. Would you do anything differently, knowing what you know now?

Yes, it certainly is. The area Chris and I have learnt the most over the last year has to be the skills needed to complete an investment round. It is an incredibly challenging and rewarding period for founders and often is the time where you learn the most about your business and get invaluable feedback from potential investors.

Starting our business with this prior knowledge and experience would have helped us communicate our business to investors and customers better and more effectively. This premise drives our university talks and visits. Chris and I advise and present to idea stage entrepreneurs at York, Brighton, Sussex and Sheffield universities, with the goal to get more businesses off the ground through experience-led education about pre-seed stage funding.

About your talks, you’ve been back to the Management School to speak to some of our students - thank you!

What advice did you share?

  1. The best business ideas solve severe and frequent problems. Consider if your business idea is solving a problem serious enough that a consumer or business would be willing to pay to solve it. Next, consider how frequently this customer encounters this problem. The ideal business idea solves a high severity, high frequency problem.

  2. Don’t keep your ideas secret. Tell everyone you know your idea, collect feedback and make consistent improvements. Businesses succeed or fail on execution, not on first mover advantage.

  3. Grow your network. Having an extensive support network in the business areas that are relevant to your business is essential for reaching success. In addition, this consistent effort to expand your network will become especially valuable if you ever have to raise investment.

How has your degree contributed towards your success so far?

My BA in Accounting and Financial Management degree at Sheffield University Management School (SUMS) exposed me to the fundamentals of accounting, corporate finance and the global economy. This gave me a superb baseline to do my own extensive research into business areas, emerging technology companies and organisations. Because of this education, I have been able to comprehend advanced business strategies and mechanisms that are helping my company grow and function today. My corporate finance modules and Bloomberg terminal experience taught me how to analyse public companies in detail and understand how they raise finance for ventures and what differentiates good business models from bad. To compliment my degree and to better prepare for setting up my company, I quickly learnt that we needed to further develop our knowledge in the areas such as the legalities of hiring, people and PAYE.

What do you miss about Sheffield?

I miss the nightlife! Going out on West Street and having a good time. To add to this, I miss the incredible friends I made throughout my time at Sheffield. I try to keep in touch and I am looking forward to meeting some again at my graduation ceremony this summer.

A day off from BoogieSearch. What does it look like?

If I get time to let loose, I am straight on the town with friends and the local bars and venues in Brighton. Brighton has such a great nightlife scene, I highly recommend.

“To relax I tend to read and analyse the successes and failures of startups and the news on emerging technologies and finance.”

Stefano Di Gregorio, BA Accounting and Financial Management (2021), co-founder BoogieSearch

Finally, what's next?

This year we aim to expand to at least five other UK cities, grow our monthly event entrances into the 100,000s and fully demonstrate the potential of our platform.

In five years we aim for BoogieSearch to be serving the nightlife community internationally, for the Boogi app to be a household name amongst students and young adults and furthermore to have successful partnerships with huge brands and festivals. Most importantly, we hope to massively improve the profitability of venues and event brands and bring Europe’s nightlife community into the bleeding edge of technology.

To find out more about BoogieSearch and its latest investment phase visit or contact Stefano on LinkedIn.


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