Starting as a virtual networking platform in 2015, Hubilo currently operates as an stop-to-give up digital event platform with 40% of its customer base in the US, at the same time as the APAC and the EU account for 25% of each
Hubilo’s cofounder and CTO, Mayank Agarwal, credits his bond with the opposite cofounder Vaibhav Jain and the organisation’s obsession with customer delight for its growth
cft caught up with Agarwal to chart the journey of the startup through many demanding situations and discover how brands can grow and scale up with the help of digital and hybrid occasions
“For us, it's miles a friendship of 12 years. Right from the start, we trusted every other and knew that we needed to provide every other area. That is the handiest way a CTO can consider innovation, and the CEO can consider the business and its growth. Cofounders will always require that kind of consider and area to make it a success.” — Mayank Agarwal, cofounder and CTO, Hubilo.
This expertise among Agarwal and his cofounder Vaibhav Jain has enabled the duo to scale their startup thru various marketplace situations — pivoting and updating with each fundamental enterprise shift.
Hubilo become began in 2015 as a digital networking platform and presently operates as an cease-to-give up virtual occasion platform, with forty% of the patron base in the US, whilst the APAC and the EU account for 25% every. Its esteemed shoppers consists of the United Nations, Walmart, AB InBev, Roche Pharma, Echo, and GITEX.
Earlier, the startup told cft that it shifted to stay virtual events 26 days into the 2020 lockdowns and considering that then have controlled to onboard more than 750 clients from 100+ countries and engaged with greater than a hundred Mn attendees through its portfolio of 10K+events.
When requested about Hubilo’s inception, Agarwal recalled that his cofounder usually had an entrepreneurial mindset and the vision to begin his employer. “After university, I become working for an IoT startup when he (Jain) referred to as and requested me to enroll in his startup and construct an in-residence tech crew. And I said yes with out thinking two times. I simply knew that if he had commenced something, it might develop large.”
But after they began as a digital networking platform in 2015, the marketplace changed into now not ready for it. It was when Zoom or Google Meet or Meet Now had now not emerge as element and parcel of our each day lives as they may be now in a virus-hit international. People had been frightened of the virtual world, and stay-streaming of virtual activities become something but area of interest. But all that changed in 2020 as the Corona crisis delivered lifestyles (and the economy) to a shuddering halt.
While groups throughout sectors noticed their sales hit rock bottom, virtual networking was most of the few markets that witnessed a surge. By then, almost all establishments had started out using those structures for his or her every day operations, especially because the paintings-from-domestic tradition flourished because of lengthy spells of lockdowns across the united states of america.
As realisation dawned that the world could no longer go back to pre-Covid normalcy whenever quickly, new digital event structures hit the marketplace, and occasion planners started out exploring those. But none of those platforms had the tech stack that might help organizations host huge-scale events.
Understanding the brand new challenge, Hubilo decided to tap into the possibility. “We experimented and delivered a video networking platform to our present one. We did this in 20 days with a small team of 35-40 people. Out of them, handiest 10 have been engineers. In the ones 20 days, we launched our new platform and hosted a very a hit event of round 300 attendees,” brought Agarwal.
After web hosting the video-integrated occasion, Hubilo fully realised the potential in this space and started out 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 cft’s interplay with Mayank Agarwal as the CTO charts the tech and innovation at Hubilo and his learnings thru the pivots and growth.
cft: Tell us about the preliminary marketplace hesitancy regarding virtual activities. What are the key challenges, and the way superior is the Hubilo platform to counter them?
Mayank Agarwal: Hosting an event is an artwork. When you do it, you have to drive attendee participation and engagement at the side of the classes, and it's miles hard. In bodily occasions, there are alternatives of putting in place stalls, booths, and more. But the virtual occasion itself will become a venue, and you have to do the entirety inner it.
In the beginning, just as the pandemic hit, brands were hesitant, majorly because of the heavy dependence on technology. If one factor goes south, the whole enjoy may be ruined. But four or 5 months down the line, they commenced noticing the stableness of those platforms. Not just Hubilo however all other occasion systems which might be sturdy enough. So, it’s all approximately trusting the platform.
Going via this whole experience additionally made us understand that it's miles essential to ensure that the occasion and the attendee studies stay faultless for event tech platforms like ours. Therefore, we continually observe how we power this journey on our platform through attractive and immersive occasion studies.
cft: What is the function of statistics and analytics in a a success digital occasion? How can brands make certain the success in their events?
Mayank Agarwal: It is critical to have a look at the facts from beyond occasions that may assist tell all departments of a marketing business enterprise what components of the activities resonate the maximum with audiences. Using event era, organisers can understand more than who liked an event. They can also understand how to tailor each occasion enjoy to the character earlier than, at some point of, and after the event.
People like attractive content material, specifically while they are able to engage in it with their pals and colleagues. This is one of the motives that the Netflix “watch birthday party” function has been a big achievement on the platform. One engagement method that has labored efficiently for Hubilo is to think of occasions from a broadcasting angle rather than simply seeking to replicate a live event. Ultimately, human beings must be capable of attend an event from anywhere and have interaction with the content material with other attendees, whether they’re in-person or virtual.
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cft: You pivoted and released a brand new product in 26 days. You have also released Hubilo 2.Zero with extra functions. How did you attain this feat?
Mayank Agarwal: We began with a completely primary networking platform in 2015. And then, we experimented with the video element. But while we noticed increase, we knew it became no longer a sustainable model.
So, to apprehend the marketplace and what kind of features we ought to deliver into the marketplace, we did what we have usually accomplished. We focussed on what our customers had been announcing.
You may say this product has been constructed on customer feedback. We accumulated quite a few comments, mainly 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 sort of service-stage agreements we must provide, the tweaks and the enhancements we would should make, and greater.
Plus, we had a crew running on scaling, balance, and platform protection at the same time, making sure that we might be GDPR-ready as properly. After all, we needed to be open for the regular marketplace. We also were given the ISO 27001 certification in the ones seven-eight months. So, everything turned into walking parallel returned then.
cft: Hubilo has labored with global brands. How do you make sure that manufacturers can leverage the platform’s potential to the fullest?
Mayank Agarwal: Well, we agree with that Hubilo is a global platform. It isn't restricted to any geography, and our customers across the globe take into account that the virtual global is without borderlines. The credit for this should visit our purchaser achievement and onboarding teams. Understanding digital activities and their complexities could be tough. Therefore, our first attention is educating our customers on a way to consider events from a hybrid or digital perspective, a way to have interaction with the attendees, a way to scale the occasions similarly, and more.
cft: What are the most important challenges whilst you work with customers across sectors and from everywhere in the international?
Mayank Agarwal: A primary mission is language, of course. When you want to reach out to extraordinary areas, you need to have get admission to to one-of-a-kind languages. It become a key purpose for the new platform. We built the shape at the backend in order that any language may be delivered inside a day. So some distance, the platform helps 10 languages, and we are able to be adding extra very quickly. Our maximum latest occasion that Hubilo hosted had a signal language interpreter as properly, making the occasion extra inclusive.
cft: What about the unexpected consumer surge amid the pandemic? What changes were required in your operations and commercial enterprise model to address it?
Mayank Agarwal: We have a completely responsive customer service group, and we've actually no reaction time as a customer support supervisor is proactively on-name at some point of practice periods, at some stage in the event should any problems get up, and after the event if the customer wishes assist decoding the data. They aren't just imparting support over chat or electronic mail. The customer service supervisor is a part of the overall occasion team and is to be had to assist in actual-time at each event. During the surge, we elevated our crew, and now we've got 60-70 qualified engineers who recognize a way to solve complicated problems. We also remodeled our infrastructure and tech stack to aid large occasions as we knew we have to be prepared for it. All we had changed into a grace length of 3-4 months due to the fact planners could take that time to modify to the digital occasion space. Those months were like a struggle duration for us. We grew across all departments.
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cft: The international is catching on to hybrid activities. What are we able to assume from Hubilo to enlarge that experience?
Mayank Agarwal: To accommodate hybrid activities on the platform, we have made plenty of updates to our lately launched app. We are actually providing attendees and speakers with a one-to-one video calling choice except lounge and networking options and greater. We have also opened our platform to a variety of vendors, making it greater bendy.
Hubilo has these days launched a take a look at-in app to assist organisers enhance protection, safety, and compliance for their attendees, audio system, and groups — each in physical and virtual activities.
cft: Finally, what’s subsequent on your product playbook and international enlargement plan?
Hubilo has the most important suite of engagement and gamification capabilities available on the market and we’re continuing to feature to that suite of functions so that humans can engage anyplace they may be, on any tool. I don’t want to get into our international enlargement plans simply but, because the virtual world is ultimately borderless and our occasions can be hosted from everywhere and in any timezone. That’s one in every of the most important benefits of a digital event.