“For us, it's miles a friendship of 12 years. Right from the start, we trusted every other and knew that we had to provide every other area. That is the handiest way a CTO can think of innovation, and the CEO can think about the enterprise and its increase. Cofounders will usually require that form of trust and area to make it a fulfillment.” — Mayank Agarwal, cofounder and CTO, Hubilo.
This understanding among Agarwal and his cofounder Vaibhav Jain has enabled the duo to scale their startup through various marketplace situations — pivoting and updating with every major enterprise shift.
Hubilo turned into started in 2015 as a virtual networking platform and presently operates as an end-to-stop digital event platform, with 40% of the customer base within the US, at the same time as the APAC and the EU account for 25% every. Its esteemed clientele consists of the United Nations, Walmart, AB InBev, Roche Pharma, Echo, and GITEX.
Earlier, the startup advised cft that it shifted to live virtual activities 26 days into the 2020 lockdowns and in view that then have managed to onboard greater than 750 customers from 100+ nations and engaged with extra than one hundred Mn attendees via its portfolio of 10K+occasions.
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When requested approximately Hubilo’s inception, Agarwal recalled that his cofounder always had an entrepreneurial mind-set and the imaginative and prescient to start his enterprise. “After university, I changed into operating for an IoT startup whilst he (Jain) known as and asked me to sign up for his startup and construct an in-residence tech crew. And I said sure without thinking two times. I just knew that if he had started out some thing, it might develop large.”
But after they began as a digital networking platform in 2015, the market changed into no longer equipped for it. It was whilst Zoom or Google Meet or Meet Now had no longer turn out to be component and parcel of our each day lives as they may be now in a virus-hit world. People were worried of the virtual global, and stay-streaming of digital occasions was anything but area of interest. But all that modified in 2020 because the Corona crisis delivered life (and the economy) to a shuddering halt.
While agencies across sectors noticed their revenues hit rock bottom, digital networking was many of the few markets that witnessed a surge. By then, nearly all companies had started out the usage of those systems for their day-to-day operations, mainly as the work-from-domestic subculture flourished due to long spells of lockdowns across the us of a.
As realisation dawned that the arena would now not go back to pre-Covid normalcy anytime soon, new virtual event platforms hit the marketplace, and event planners started exploring those. But none of those systems had the tech stack that would help corporations host huge-scale occasions.
Understanding the brand new assignment, Hubilo determined to faucet into the opportunity. “We experimented and brought a video networking platform to our present one. We did this in 20 days with a small team of 35-40 human beings. Out of them, best 10 have been engineers. In the ones 20 days, we released our new platform and hosted a completely a success event of round 300 attendees,” delivered Agarwal.
After website hosting the video-incorporated occasion, Hubilo absolutely realised the capability in this area and started out including greater functions to its platform. Since its soar of tech, the business enterprise has hosted huge-scale occasions — — for the Indian entities of groups together with 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 via the pivots and boom.
cft: Tell us about the preliminary market hesitancy regarding digital activities. What are the key challenges, and the way advanced is the Hubilo platform to counter them?
Mayank Agarwal: Hosting an event is an artwork. When you do it, you have to force attendee participation and engagement along with the classes, and it's far difficult. In physical activities, there are options of putting in place stalls, booths, and greater. But the digital event itself turns into a venue, and you have to do the whole lot inside it.
In the start, simply because the pandemic hit, manufacturers were hesitant, majorly due to the heavy dependence on technology. If one issue goes south, the entire experience might be ruined. But 4 or five months down the road, they started noticing the stableness of those platforms. Not simply Hubilo but all different event systems which are sturdy sufficient. So, it’s all approximately trusting the platform.
Going thru this whole enjoy additionally made us understand that it's miles essential to make certain that the event and the attendee stories stay faultless for event tech platforms like ours. Therefore, we always take a look at how we pressure this journey on our platform through enticing and immersive event studies.
cft: What is the role of statistics and analytics in a successful digital event? How can brands ensure the success in their activities?
Mayank Agarwal: It is crucial to study the records from beyond occasions that can help tell all departments of a advertising organization what elements of the occasions resonate the most with audiences. Using event technology, organisers can understand greater than who preferred an event. They can also recognize a way to tailor every occasion enjoy to the man or woman before, throughout, and after the occasion.
People like enticing content material, specifically whilst they can interact in it with their buddies and associates. This is one of the motives that the Netflix “watch party” function has been a huge achievement at the platform. One engagement method that has labored successfully for Hubilo is to think of occasions from a broadcasting angle in preference to simply seeking to mirror a stay occasion. Ultimately, humans have to be capable of attend an occasion from everywhere and engage with the content with other attendees, whether or not they’re in-individual or virtual.
cft: You pivoted and launched a brand new product in 26 days. You have additionally launched Hubilo 2.0 with more functions. How did you gain this feat?
Mayank Agarwal: We commenced with a totally fundamental networking platform in 2015. And then, we experimented with the video element. But at the same time as we noticed increase, we knew it changed into now not a sustainable model.
So, to recognize the market and what kind of capabilities we ought to convey into the market, we did what we have usually finished. We focussed on what our clients have been pronouncing.
You may additionally say this product has been built on customer feedback. We collected numerous feedback, mainly six months into the pandemic, asking them what had to be built and what they desired to look at the digital networking platform. Through that, we also understood the sort of provider-stage agreements we need to offer, the tweaks and the enhancements we'd must make, and greater.
Plus, we had a group operating on scaling, stability, and platform security on the equal time, ensuring that we would be GDPR-ready as properly. After all, we had to be open for the regular market. We additionally were given the ISO 27001 certification in the ones seven-eight months. So, the whole thing became jogging parallel returned then.
cft: Hubilo has worked with international brands. How do you make certain that manufacturers can leverage the platform’s capability to the fullest?
Mayank Agarwal: Well, we agree with that Hubilo is a worldwide platform. It is not restricted to any geography, and our customers across the globe keep in mind that the virtual international is without boundary lines. The credit for this have to go to our patron achievement and onboarding groups. Understanding digital activities and their complexities can be hard. Therefore, our first recognition is educating our customers on how to reflect onconsideration on occasions from a hybrid or virtual attitude, a way to have interaction with the attendees, how to scale the events further, and extra.
cft: What are the most important challenges whilst you work with customers across sectors and from all around the global?
Mayank Agarwal: A main venture is language, of path. When you want to attain out to one of a kind regions, you ought to have get right of entry to to unique languages. It become a key cause for the brand new platform. We built the shape at the backend in order that any language may be brought inside an afternoon. So a long way, the platform supports 10 languages, and we can be adding more very quickly. Our most current event that Hubilo hosted had a sign language interpreter as well, making the occasion extra inclusive.
cft: What about the sudden purchaser surge amid the pandemic? What changes have been required in your operations and commercial enterprise version to handle it?
Mayank Agarwal: We have a totally responsive customer support crew, and we have surely no reaction time as a customer support manager is proactively on-call throughout practice classes, at some stage in the occasion have to any troubles rise up, and after the occasion if the consumer wishes help interpreting the records. They aren't just offering assist over chat or e mail. The customer support manager is part of the general occasion crew and is available to assist in real-time at each occasion. During the surge, we expanded our team, and now we've got 60-70 certified engineers who understand a way to solve complex troubles. We additionally revamped our infrastructure and tech stack to aid big activities as we knew we must be equipped for it. All we had become a grace period of three-four months because planners would take that point to alter to the virtual occasion space. Those months have been like a battle period for us. We grew across all departments.
cft: The world is catching on to hybrid occasions. What are we able to count on from Hubilo to expand that experience?
Mayank Agarwal: To accommodate hybrid occasions on the platform, we've made a number of updates to our recently released app. We are actually supplying attendees and speakers with a one-to-one video calling alternative besides living room and networking alternatives and extra. We have additionally opened our platform to plenty of companies, making it extra bendy.
Hubilo has these days launched a check-in app to help organisers improve safety, protection, and compliance for his or her attendees, audio system, and teams — both in physical and digital activities.
cft: Finally, what’s next for your product playbook and international enlargement plan?
Hubilo has the largest suite of engagement and gamification features on the market and we’re continuing to feature to that suite of features in order that people can interact anyplace they may be, on any device. I don’t want to get into our international enlargement plans simply but, because the digital international is in the end without borderlines and our events may be hosted from anywhere and in any timezone. That’s certainly one of the most important benefits of a virtual event.