“For us, it is a friendship of 12 years. Right from the beginning, we depended on each other and knew that we had to give each different space. That is the best way a CTO can think of innovation, and the CEO can think of the enterprise and its increase. Cofounders will usually require that sort of accept as true with and space to make it a achievement.” — Mayank Agarwal, cofounder and CTO, Hubilo.
This expertise between Agarwal and his cofounder Vaibhav Jain has enabled the duo to scale their startup via diverse market situations — pivoting and updating with each fundamental industry shift.
Hubilo become started out in 2015 as a virtual networking platform and presently operates as an give up-to-stop digital 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 purchasers consists of the United Nations, Walmart, AB InBev, Roche Pharma, Echo, and GITEX.
Earlier, the startup told cft that it shifted to live virtual occasions 26 days into the 2020 lockdowns and given that then have controlled to onboard extra than 750 clients from one hundred+ nations and engaged with extra than a hundred Mn attendees thru its portfolio of 10K+occasions.
When requested about Hubilo’s inception, Agarwal recalled that his cofounder constantly had an entrepreneurial mindset and the imaginative and prescient to start his employer. “After university, I turned into operating for an IoT startup whilst he (Jain) known as and requested me to enroll in his startup and build an in-house tech team. And I stated sure with out thinking two times. I just knew that if he had started some thing, it'd grow big.”
But when they commenced as a virtual networking platform in 2015, the marketplace turned into no longer geared up for it. It turned into whilst Zoom or Google Meet or Meet Now had no longer become component and parcel of our each day lives as they are now in a plague-hit international. People have been nervous of the digital world, and live-streaming of virtual activities changed into anything however area of interest. But all that modified in 2020 because the Corona disaster brought lifestyles (and the financial system) to a shuddering halt.
While groups across sectors noticed their revenues hit rock bottom, virtual networking become a number of the few markets that witnessed a surge. By then, almost all companies had commenced the use of these platforms for their everyday operations, specially because the work-from-domestic subculture flourished because of long spells of lockdowns across the u . S . A ..
As realisation dawned that the world would no longer go back to pre-Covid normalcy whenever soon, new digital occasion systems hit the market, and event planners started exploring the ones. But none of these platforms had the tech stack that might assist organizations host massive-scale events.
Understanding the brand new undertaking, Hubilo determined to faucet into the possibility. “We experimented and introduced a video networking platform to our current one. We did this in 20 days with a small group of 35-forty human beings. Out of them, best 10 have been engineers. In those 20 days, we released our new platform and hosted a very a hit event of round three hundred attendees,” added Agarwal.
After hosting the video-integrated occasion, Hubilo completely realised the ability in this space and began including more functions to its platform. Since its bounce of tech, the enterprise has hosted huge-scale events — — for the Indian entities of businesses which includes Publicis Sapient (TLG India), Nivea India, Reliance Jio, Schneider Electric, and George P. Johnson.
Here are the edited excerpts from cft’s interaction with Mayank Agarwal because the CTO charts the tech and innovation at Hubilo and his learnings via the pivots and boom.
cft: Tell us approximately the preliminary marketplace hesitancy concerning virtual activities. What are the key demanding situations, and the way advanced is the Hubilo platform to counter them?
Mayank Agarwal: Hosting an occasion is an artwork. When you do it, you need to power attendee participation and engagement at the side of the periods, and it's miles difficult. In physical events, there are alternatives of setting up stalls, booths, and greater. But the virtual occasion itself becomes a venue, and you need to do everything interior it.
In the start, just because the pandemic hit, manufacturers were hesitant, majorly due to the heavy dependence on generation. If one element is going south, the whole enjoy can be ruined. But 4 or 5 months down the line, they commenced noticing the stability of those platforms. Not just Hubilo but all other occasion systems which can be sturdy sufficient. So, it’s all approximately trusting the platform.
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Going through this entire experience also made us realise that it is crucial to make sure that the occasion and the attendee reports stay flawless for event tech platforms like ours. Therefore, we usually take a look at how we force this adventure on our platform through enticing and immersive occasion stories.
cft: What is the position of facts and analytics in a successful digital event? How can brands make sure the fulfillment in their events?
Mayank Agarwal: It is critical to study the statistics from past events that could assist inform all departments of a advertising agency what parts of the activities resonate the maximum with audiences. Using occasion technology, organisers can understand extra than who appreciated an event. They also can recognize the way to tailor each occasion enjoy to the man or woman before, all through, and after the occasion.
People like attractive content, mainly while they are able to interact in it with their pals and co-workers. This is one of the motives that the Netflix “watch birthday party” feature has been a large achievement on the platform. One engagement method that has worked effectively for Hubilo is to think about events from a broadcasting perspective as opposed to simply looking to reflect a live event. Ultimately, people need to be able to attend an occasion from everywhere and interact with the content material with other attendees, whether they’re in-character or digital.
cft: You pivoted and launched a new product in 26 days. You have also launched Hubilo 2.Zero with extra capabilities. How did you obtain this feat?
Mayank Agarwal: We started with a totally primary networking platform in 2015. And then, we experimented with the video factor. But even as we noticed growth, we knew it became not a sustainable model.
So, to apprehend the marketplace and what form of features we need to deliver into the market, we did what we've got constantly completed. We focussed on what our clients were pronouncing.
You may also say this product has been built on patron remarks. We accrued a variety of remarks, especially six months into the pandemic, asking them what had to be built and what they desired to peer at the digital networking platform. Through that, we additionally understood the form of service-stage agreements we ought to offer, the tweaks and the improvements we would must make, and greater.
Plus, we had a crew running on scaling, stability, and platform protection at the equal time, making sure that we would be GDPR-equipped as nicely. After all, we needed to be open for the regular market. We also got the ISO 27001 certification in the ones seven-8 months. So, the whole lot turned into jogging parallel back then.
cft: Hubilo has worked with international manufacturers. How do you make certain that brands can leverage the platform’s potential to the fullest?
Mayank Agarwal: Well, we agree with that Hubilo is a worldwide platform. It isn't always confined to any geography, and our clients across the globe take into account that the digital world is without boundary lines. The credit for this must go to our client fulfillment and onboarding teams. Understanding virtual events and their complexities can be difficult. Therefore, our first awareness is teaching our customers on how to consider events from a hybrid or virtual attitude, the way to engage with the attendees, a way to scale the occasions further, and extra.
cft: What are the largest challenges whilst you paintings with customers across sectors and from all around the international?
Mayank Agarwal: A important challenge is language, of path. When you want to reach out to different regions, you must have access to exceptional languages. It was a key purpose for the new platform. We constructed the shape at the backend so that any language may be introduced within an afternoon. So some distance, the platform supports 10 languages, and we are able to be adding greater very quickly. Our maximum latest event that Hubilo hosted had a sign language interpreter as well, making the event more inclusive.
cft: What about the surprising purchaser surge amid the pandemic? What modifications were required on your operations and business version to deal with it?
Mayank Agarwal: We have a completely responsive customer service crew, and we've got genuinely no reaction time as a customer service supervisor is proactively on-call for the duration of exercise sessions, during the event ought to any issues rise up, and after the event if the consumer wishes assist interpreting the facts. They are not simply imparting guide over chat or email. The customer service supervisor is part of the overall event crew and is to be had to help in real-time at each event. During the surge, we accelerated our crew, and now we've got 60-70 qualified engineers who recognise a way to clear up complex issues. We additionally revamped our infrastructure and tech stack to support massive occasions as we knew we have to be equipped for it. All we had changed into a grace duration of 3-4 months because planners would take that point to modify to the virtual event space. Those months were like a conflict duration for us. We grew throughout all departments.
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cft: The global is catching directly to hybrid events. What are we able to assume from Hubilo to extend that enjoy?
Mayank Agarwal: To accommodate hybrid occasions at the platform, we've got made a lot of updates to our lately released app. We are now supplying attendees and audio system with a one-to-one video calling choice besides lounge and networking alternatives and more. We have additionally opened our platform to plenty of carriers, making it more bendy.
Hubilo has these days launched a take a look at-in app to help organisers enhance safety, security, and compliance for their attendees, audio system, and groups — both in physical and digital activities.
cft: Finally, what’s subsequent in your product playbook and worldwide expansion plan?
Hubilo has the biggest suite of engagement and gamification functions available on the market and we’re continuing to add to that suite of features so that human beings can engage wherever they are, on any tool. I don’t want to get into our international growth plans simply but, as the digital international is in the long run without boundaries and our occasions can be hosted from everywhere and in any timezone. That’s one among the biggest blessings of a digital event.