“For us, it is a friendship of 12 years. Right from the beginning, we trusted each other and knew that we had to deliver each other space. That is the simplest manner a CTO can think about innovation, and the CEO can think about the commercial enterprise and its increase. Cofounders will constantly require that form of agree with and area to make it a success.” — Mayank Agarwal, cofounder and CTO, Hubilo.
This understanding between Agarwal and his cofounder Vaibhav Jain has enabled the duo to scale their startup through numerous market situations — pivoting and updating with each foremost industry shift.
Hubilo was started in 2015 as a virtual networking platform and currently operates as an give up-to-end virtual occasion platform, with 40% of the consumer base in the US, at the same time as the APAC and the EU account for 25% each. Its esteemed consumers consists of the United Nations, Walmart, AB InBev, Roche Pharma, Echo, and GITEX.
Earlier, the startup instructed ctf that it shifted to live virtual events 26 days into the 2020 lockdowns and given that then have managed to onboard extra than 750 clients from 100+ nations and engaged with extra than 100 Mn attendees thru its portfolio of 10K+events.
When asked about Hubilo’s inception, Agarwal recalled that his cofounder continually had an entrepreneurial mind-set and the imaginative and prescient to start his company. “After college, I become operating for an IoT startup while he (Jain) called and asked me to join his startup and build an in-residence tech crew. And I stated sure without questioning twice. I simply knew that if he had started out some thing, it might develop big.”
But when they began as a digital networking platform in 2015, the market was now not ready for it. It changed into while Zoom or Google Meet or Meet Now had not come to be element and parcel of our daily lives as they're now in a virus-hit world. People were worried of the digital global, and stay-streaming of virtual events become anything however area of interest. But all that modified in 2020 as the Corona disaster added life (and the financial system) to a shuddering halt.
While organizations across sectors noticed their revenues hit rock backside, digital networking was most of the few markets that witnessed a surge. By then, nearly all companies had commenced the usage of these systems for his or her daily operations, especially as the paintings-from-home subculture flourished due to long spells of lockdowns throughout the usa.
As realisation dawned that the sector would not go back to pre-Covid normalcy every time quickly, new virtual event platforms hit the market, and event planners started exploring the ones. But none of those structures had the tech stack that could help organisations host large-scale events.
Understanding the brand new venture, Hubilo determined to faucet into the possibility. “We experimented and delivered a video networking platform to our existing one. We did this in 20 days with a small team of 35-forty humans. Out of them, handiest 10 have been engineers. In those 20 days, we launched our new platform and hosted a totally a hit occasion of round 300 attendees,” brought Agarwal.
After website hosting the video-included occasion, Hubilo completely realised the ability on this space and started adding extra features to its platform. Since its jump of tech, the company has hosted big-scale occasions — — for the Indian entities of organizations such as Publicis Sapient (TLG India), Nivea India, Reliance Jio, Schneider Electric, and George P. Johnson.
Here are the edited excerpts from ctf’s interaction with Mayank Agarwal as the CTO charts the tech and innovation at Hubilo and his learnings via the pivots and increase.
ctf: Tell us about the initial market hesitancy concerning virtual events. What are the key challenges, and the way superior is the Hubilo platform to counter them?
Mayank Agarwal: Hosting an event is an art. When you do it, you have to drive attendee participation and engagement along with the sessions, and it is hard. In physical occasions, there are alternatives of setting up stalls, booths, and more. But the virtual event itself turns into a venue, and you have to do the whole lot internal it.
In the beginning, simply as the pandemic hit, manufacturers were hesitant, majorly due to the heavy dependence on technology. If one component goes south, the complete enjoy might be ruined. But 4 or five months down the road, they commenced noticing the stableness of these platforms. Not simply Hubilo however all other event structures which might be robust sufficient. So, it’s all approximately trusting the platform.
Going via this entire revel in additionally made us realise that it's miles important to ensure that the occasion and the attendee reports stay faultless for occasion tech platforms like ours. Therefore, we continually take a look at how we pressure this adventure on our platform via enticing and immersive occasion reviews.
ctf: What is the role of data and analytics in a a success digital occasion? How can manufacturers make sure the achievement in their activities?
Mayank Agarwal: It is crucial to have a look at the statistics from past occasions which could help inform all departments of a advertising and marketing agency what elements of the activities resonate the most with audiences. Using event generation, organisers can apprehend greater than who appreciated an occasion. They can also recognize a way to tailor each occasion revel in to the person earlier than, at some stage in, and after the occasion.
People like attractive content, mainly when they could have interaction in it with their buddies and associates. This is one of the motives that the Netflix “watch birthday celebration” function has been a big achievement on the platform. One engagement method that has worked effectively for Hubilo is to consider occasions from a broadcasting perspective as opposed to just looking to reflect a live occasion. Ultimately, people have to be capable of attend an event from everywhere and have interaction with the content with different attendees, whether or not they’re in-person or virtual.
ctf: You pivoted and launched a new product in 26 days. You have additionally launched Hubilo 2.Zero with greater capabilities. How did you acquire this feat?
Mayank Agarwal: We commenced with a completely fundamental networking platform in 2015. And then, we experimented with the video component. But while we noticed growth, we knew it changed into now not a sustainable version.
So, to apprehend the marketplace and what kind of capabilities we need to convey into the market, we did what we've constantly accomplished. We focussed on what our clients had been pronouncing.
You may additionally say this product has been constructed on client comments. We collected a number of remarks, in particular six months into the pandemic, asking them what had to be constructed and what they desired to peer on the virtual networking platform. Through that, we additionally understood the sort of carrier-stage agreements we should offer, the tweaks and the improvements we might have to make, and extra.
Plus, we had a group running on scaling, balance, and platform protection at the equal time, making sure that we might be GDPR-geared up as well. After all, we had to be open for the regular market. We additionally were given the ISO 27001 certification in those seven-8 months. So, the whole lot became walking parallel back then.
ctf: Hubilo has labored with global manufacturers. How do you ensure that brands can leverage the platform’s capability to the fullest?
Mayank Agarwal: Well, we believe that Hubilo is a international platform. It isn't always limited to any geography, and our customers throughout the globe remember the fact that the digital global is without borderlines. The credit score for this have to go to our client fulfillment and onboarding groups. Understanding digital events and their complexities may be difficult. Therefore, our first awareness is teaching our clients on the way to reflect onconsideration on occasions from a hybrid or digital perspective, the way to interact with the attendees, the way to scale the occasions further, and greater.
ctf: What are the most important demanding situations while you paintings with clients across sectors and from all around the global?
Mayank Agarwal: A main mission is language, of direction. When you need to attain out to different regions, you have to have get admission to to one-of-a-kind languages. It become a key cause for the brand new platform. We constructed the shape on the backend so that any language can be delivered within an afternoon. So some distance, the platform helps 10 languages, and we can be including more very soon. Our most recent event that Hubilo hosted had a signal language interpreter as nicely, making the occasion greater inclusive.
ctf: What approximately the surprising consumer surge amid the pandemic? What adjustments have been required for your operations and enterprise model to handle it?
Mayank Agarwal: We have a completely responsive customer service team, and we have honestly no reaction time as a customer service supervisor is proactively on-call during practice periods, in the course of the event have to any troubles rise up, and after the event if the purchaser desires assist decoding the statistics. They are not simply providing help over chat or email. The customer support manager is part of the overall occasion group and is to be had to assist in actual-time at every event. During the surge, we expanded our crew, and now we've 60-70 certified engineers who understand how to resolve complicated problems. We also revamped our infrastructure and tech stack to support huge activities as we knew we should be equipped for it. All we had become a grace duration of 3-4 months due to the fact planners could take that time to adjust to the digital event area. Those months were like a war duration for us. We grew throughout all departments.
ctf: The global is catching directly to hybrid events. What can we count on from Hubilo to amplify that experience?
Mayank Agarwal: To accommodate hybrid occasions at the platform, we've made loads of updates to our lately released app. We are now imparting attendees and audio system with a one-to-one video calling option besides living room and networking options and extra. We have also opened our platform to a variety of providers, making it more flexible.
Hubilo has these days released a take a look at-in app to assist organisers improve protection, protection, and compliance for their attendees, audio system, and groups — each in bodily and virtual activities.
ctf: Finally, what’s next in your product playbook and international expansion plan?
Hubilo has the biggest suite of engagement and gamification functions on the market and we’re continuing to feature to that suite of features so that humans can engage anyplace they're, on any tool. I don’t need to get into our international expansion plans simply but, as the virtual international is in the long run without borderlines and our events may be hosted from everywhere and in any timezone. That’s one among the largest blessings of a digital event.