Since the last nine months of destruction which pandemic has brought to us, the event management industry was ruined because of endless restrictions posed by COVID-19. Till the mid of April 2020, big number of events were cancelled in India creating huge losses in millions. Some major global events were on the top of the list such as Mobile World Congress, Google News Initiative Summit and the Facebook F8 Developer Conference etc.
On the hand, some of the smaller events were possible because of videoconference platforms that aided in the panel discussions. Slightly, huge demand created for the online platforms that can equally compete with the physical events. Consequently, Hubilo came as the eventual solution for all these problems and is serving India with its outstanding event management services that were twisted in March to develop a great virtual platform.
The co-founder of Hubilo told that in 2020 their revenue went to zero in number as all the events scheduled at international level were cancelled. As the incoming cash flow was zero, the company distributed only 30% of staff salaries and the leadership team was agreed with 70% of pay cut just to make the company survive in such crisis. So, quickly they changed their focus to virtual events and created a platform allowing companies to host their events right on the web.
Walking Through Tough Roads
While founding the Hubilo, the initial concept of the main product was networking connections among the people attending the event. In relatively bigger conferences, the large number of meetings occur as you can easily approach to a large number of people. Hubilo brought that experience into its platform that suggests a long list of people for attendees to meet at the event. This service charged a specific amount of fee, but mistakenly they tried this concept first to the college festivals, which was later proved to be a bad market choice because nobody wished to pay for such concept while studying in a college.
Additionally, the company lacked a strong tech team and it started outsourcing its maintenance and development to a third party that consequently created a sub-standard app. All three pillars for a start-up namely-product, market and team went wrong for Hubilo. Soon after that co-founder of Hubilo, Vaibhav Jain decided to have a partner with a strong technical background. He made a lot of efforts to find his co-founder who is also tech-oriented. Later, he called his college friend Mayank Agrawal, who was a leader of the tech team at a start-up named ‘Equilibrium’ to join him.
At the end of 2016, Agrawal joined Hubilo as a co-founder and CTO. He added some strength to the company by supporting the tech team and coxswained it’s for conferences and events organized by organizations. Some positive changes were made by Hubilo by adding more relevant features such as a dashboard for companies to develop websites for events and also a mobile application that connects attendees and there are many associated professional interests. The other distinct features of the app are the registration portal and live polling. The Hubilo was able to fetch deals from some popular names such as Asian Paints, ICICI bank and also popular names of Indian media such as Hindustan Times and Times of India. Still, Jain was not satisfied with the growth of startup as there were a lot of strong competitors in the field which was doing well such as Cvent and Hopins.
Soon after the Covid-19 spread in India during Feb and March, Hubilo started offering a new way of hosting events. The team was engaged in improvising the current products and developing new virtual events platform for the clients which were still required for hosting the panel discussions, fireside chats or other kinds of sessions which connected people from all around the world. Hubilo got an advantage for its smaller size and was easily able to swivel during pandemic which was difficult for bigger companies.
Hubilo heard of US-based companies looking for the replacements for Zoom. Soon after this, Hubilo shifted its headquarters to San Francisco for effective management of its sales by keeping its technology team in India. Currently, Hubilo works with more than 300 companies and 90% of them are U.S. based. In October, the startup managed to raise USD 4.5 million in the Series A funding from the Lightspeed venture Partners and Angel investors.
Jain wished his startup to get prepared for fighting with the tough competition in the sector, especially after subsiding of a pandemic. As the Hubilo was first to enter in such field, it was able to manage substantial market share. Though there are around 130 platforms, in reality, only ten of them possess the scale and tech like Hubilo.