“For us, it's far a friendship of 12 years. Right from the start, we relied on each different and knew that we had to deliver every other space. That is the only manner a CTO can consider innovation, and the CEO can think of the enterprise and its growth. Cofounders will constantly require that sort of accept as true with and area to make it a success.” — Mayank Agarwal, cofounder and CTO, Hubilo.
This expertise between Agarwal and his cofounder Vaibhav Jain has enabled the duo to scale their startup via numerous market situations — pivoting and updating with every fundamental enterprise shift.
Hubilo was began in 2015 as a virtual networking platform and presently operates as an give up-to-end digital occasion platform, with 40% of the purchaser base inside the US, while the APAC and the EU account for 25% each. Its esteemed clients includes the United Nations, Walmart, AB InBev, Roche Pharma, Echo, and GITEX.
Earlier, the startup instructed cft that it shifted to live digital occasions 26 days into the 2020 lockdowns and since then have managed to onboard more than 750 clients from a hundred+ nations and engaged with more than one hundred Mn attendees through its portfolio of 10K+occasions.
When asked approximately Hubilo’s inception, Agarwal recalled that his cofounder always had an entrepreneurial attitude and the imaginative and prescient to begin his organization. “After college, I was running for an IoT startup when he (Jain) referred to as and requested me to join his startup and construct an in-house tech team. And I stated yes with out wondering two times. I just knew that if he had commenced some thing, it might grow huge.”
But once they began as a virtual networking platform in 2015, the market changed into now not geared up for it. It become while Zoom or Google Meet or Meet Now had not come to be part and parcel of our day by day lives as they are now in an epidemic-hit world. People have been anxious of the virtual international, and stay-streaming of virtual events changed into anything however niche. But all that changed in 2020 because the Corona crisis introduced life (and the economic system) to a shuddering halt.
While businesses across sectors noticed their sales hit rock backside, virtual networking changed into some of the few markets that witnessed a surge. By then, nearly all organizations had started out using those systems for their every day operations, specifically as the paintings-from-domestic subculture flourished due to lengthy spells of lockdowns across the us of a.
As realisation dawned that the world would not go back to pre-Covid normalcy anytime soon, new digital event platforms hit the market, and occasion planners began exploring the ones. But none of these systems had the tech stack that would help enterprises host massive-scale occasions.
Understanding the new challenge, Hubilo decided to tap into the opportunity. “We experimented and introduced a video networking platform to our current one. We did this in 20 days with a small group of 35-40 human beings. Out of them, most effective 10 were engineers. In those 20 days, we released our new platform and hosted a very a hit occasion of round three hundred attendees,” brought Agarwal.
After website hosting the video-integrated occasion, Hubilo fully realised the capability on this space and commenced adding extra features to its platform. Since its soar of tech, the company has hosted big-scale occasions — — for the Indian entities of companies 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 approximately the initial market hesitancy regarding digital occasions. What are the key demanding situations, and the way advanced is the Hubilo platform to counter them?
Mayank Agarwal: Hosting an occasion is an art. When you do it, you need to drive attendee participation and engagement at the side of the classes, and it's far hard. In bodily activities, there are options of setting up stalls, cubicles, and extra. But the digital event itself will become a venue, and you have to do the whole thing internal it.
In the beginning, just as the pandemic hit, brands have been hesitant, majorly due to the heavy dependence on generation. If one issue is going south, the complete revel in may be ruined. But four or five months down the road, they commenced noticing the stableness of those structures. Not just Hubilo however all different occasion structures which can be sturdy enough. So, it’s all approximately trusting the platform.
Going through this complete experience additionally made us understand that it is vital to make sure that the event and the attendee stories stay ideal for event tech structures like ours. Therefore, we continually look at how we drive this adventure on our platform through engaging and immersive event experiences.
cft: What is the position of statistics and analytics in a a success virtual occasion? How can manufacturers make sure the fulfillment in their activities?
Mayank Agarwal: It is vital to take a look at the information from past occasions that could help inform all departments of a advertising and marketing company what components of the activities resonate the maximum with audiences. Using event era, organisers can understand more than who liked an occasion. They also can understand the way to tailor every occasion enjoy to the person before, for the duration of, and after the event.
People like enticing content, in particular whilst they are able to interact in it with their buddies and co-workers. This is one of the motives that the Netflix “watch birthday party” characteristic has been a massive success at the platform. One engagement strategy that has labored correctly for Hubilo is to think about occasions from a broadcasting perspective rather than just trying to replicate a live event. Ultimately, people should be capable of attend an occasion from anywhere and have interaction with the content with other attendees, whether they’re in-character or digital.
cft: You pivoted and released a new product in 26 days. You have also released Hubilo 2.Zero with extra functions. How did you achieve this feat?
Mayank Agarwal: We started out with a completely basic networking platform in 2015. And then, we experimented with the video component. But while we noticed growth, we knew it turned into not a sustainable model.
So, to apprehend the marketplace and what sort of functions we need to convey into the marketplace, we did what we have always carried out. We focussed on what our customers were saying.
You may say this product has been constructed on patron remarks. We accumulated a number of feedback, specifically six months into the pandemic, asking them what had to be built and what they desired to peer on the digital networking platform. Through that, we additionally understood the sort of carrier-degree agreements we need to provide, the tweaks and the enhancements we might have to make, and extra.
Plus, we had a group working on scaling, balance, and platform security at the same time, making sure that we'd be GDPR-geared up as nicely. After all, we needed to be open for the ordinary marketplace. We additionally were given the ISO 27001 certification in the ones seven-8 months. So, the entirety became running parallel lower back then.
cft: Hubilo has labored with global manufacturers. How do you make certain that brands can leverage the platform’s potential to the fullest?
Mayank Agarwal: Well, we accept as true with that Hubilo is a international platform. It isn't always restrained to any geography, and our clients throughout the globe remember the fact that the virtual international is borderless. The credit for this need to visit our client achievement and onboarding teams. Understanding digital occasions and their complexities may be tough. Therefore, our first cognizance is instructing our clients on the way to think about activities from a hybrid or virtual perspective, how to engage with the attendees, the way to scale the occasions similarly, and greater.
cft: What are the largest challenges whilst you paintings with clients throughout sectors and from everywhere in the international?
Mayank Agarwal: A main undertaking is language, of direction. When you need to attain out to extraordinary areas, you must have access to one of a kind languages. It changed into a key reason for the new platform. We built the shape at the backend so that any language may be delivered inside a day. So some distance, the platform supports 10 languages, and we are able to be adding extra very soon. Our most current occasion that Hubilo hosted had a sign language interpreter as nicely, making the event more inclusive.
cft: What about the unexpected patron surge amid the pandemic? What changes have been required for your operations and business model to address it?
Mayank Agarwal: We have a completely responsive customer service team, and we've got without a doubt no reaction time as a customer support manager is proactively on-call at some stage in exercise sessions, throughout the event have to any issues arise, and after the occasion if the patron wishes assist decoding the statistics. They aren't just imparting help over chat or e-mail. The customer support manager is part of the overall occasion group and is available to help in actual-time at every occasion. During the surge, we extended our group, and now we've 60-70 qualified engineers who understand a way to remedy complex troubles. We additionally made over our infrastructure and tech stack to aid huge activities as we knew we need to be ready for it. All we had become a grace length of three-four months due to the fact planners could take that point to alter to the virtual event area. Those months were like a battle length for us. We grew throughout all departments.
cft: The world is catching directly to hybrid occasions. What are we able to anticipate from Hubilo to increase that enjoy?
Mayank Agarwal: To accommodate hybrid events at the platform, we have made a whole lot of updates to our currently launched app. We are now offering attendees and speakers with a one-to-one video calling alternative besides living room and networking options and greater. We have additionally opened our platform to a number of companies, making it extra bendy.
Hubilo has these days launched a check-in app to assist organisers enhance safety, security, and compliance for their attendees, audio system, and teams — each in physical and digital activities.
cft: Finally, what’s next to your product playbook and global expansion plan?
Hubilo has the biggest suite of engagement and gamification functions in the marketplace and we’re continuing to feature to that suite of features so that human beings can engage anywhere they may be, on any device. I don’t want to get into our global growth plans just yet, as the digital global is ultimately borderless and our activities can be hosted from anywhere and in any timezone. That’s one among the biggest benefits of a digital occasion.