INNOVATORS VS COVID 19
Pivoting an Event Technology Company in Pandemic Times
José Luis Fernández Frontelo, CEO and Founder of evenTwo tells us about an App for events that connect with the audience.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
José Luis Fernández Frontelo: My family and I had some very difficult times. My mother was very seriously ill due to COVID-19, but she fortunately survived. It certainly has been something that nobody expected. We have fought a war without a visible rival. Luckily it seems that step by step, we are coming out of this pandemic.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded evenTwo.
José Luis Fernández Frontelo: I had been working for ADP Dealer Services for about 10 years as an R&D Project Manager but felt I needed something more. I wanted to create my own company, to build something from scratch. Our first project, back in 2007, was a very innovative one, an ERP and CRM accessible from an internet browser, but it coincided with the financial crisis and resulted in a failure. But we learned from the mistakes, we were able to pivot, and in 2013 we launched evenTwo, our platform to create event Apps. In 2016 we were already leaders in Spain, and since then, we have managed to be an international reference by working with large clients such as Coca-Cola, BMW, Google, Microsoft, KPMG, Bosch, Allianz, and many more.
How does evenTwo innovate?
José Luis Fernández Frontelo: We’re constantly innovating. In 2013 we did it by launching totally native Apps for events. We’ve needed to keep innovating ever since to launch new functionalities to consistently remain one of the main players at an international level. 2020 took innovation one step further and left us with no other option than to rethink our whole strategy and adapt our technology to virtual and hybrid events in record time.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
José Luis Fernández Frontelo: Our clients are from the events sector, which is one of the sectors that the pandemic affected the most. Event Apps are specially designed for face-to-face events, so we had to launch evenTwo Virtual, our platform for virtual and hybrid events. We have created a fully interactive WebApp for events designed to provide the best possible user experience while still integrated with our existing event Apps.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
José Luis Fernández Frontelo: Yes, we had to take some difficult decisions in these times. For 4 months, we had to temporarily suspend the employment of 4 people from the support team to be able to financially make it through the pandemic. At the same time, we had to ask our developers for an unprecedented effort to create the new platform. What we have learned is that, even if you are performing very well, you always have to anticipate events and know how to react quickly.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
José Luis Fernández Frontelo: During the first months of the pandemic, we try to stay in close contact with customers, both directly and through newsletters. As soon as we decided to launch our new product for virtual events we took into account the opinion of key customers to develop it. I think it was a great success on our part and that overall we truly helped each other.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
José Luis Fernández Frontelo: No, we were unable to benefit from any government grant in Spain. The only measure we were able to use was the suspension of some employee contracts for 4 months.
Your final thoughts?
José Luis Fernández Frontelo: It has been a very tough year for everyone in our company, both personally and professionally, but we are proud to have been able to react, pivot, and continue to grow stronger together.
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