We talked to Kerem Baran of Boomset on how to offer end-to-end comprehensive solution along with unmatched customer support worldwide for a flawless event lifecycle and this is what he had to say.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Kerem Baran: Thank you for asking. Fortunately, my family, friends, and colleagues are all doing well. My sister had a baby during the pandemic, and I was fortunate that I could travel to meet my niece. We are taking precautions and looking forward to the day when this will all be behind us.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Boomset.
Kerem Baran: We didn’t realize it was our lucky night when my friend and soon-to-be co-founder were waiting in a long line at an event back in 2009. Who knew we would come up with a revolutionary startup idea out of boredom in that slow-moving queue! After that night, we decided to quit our jobs and founded Boomset to digitalize the then pen-and-paper events industry.
How does Boomset innovate?
Kerem Baran: Since Boomset began as a live event tool and has historically provided on-site software solutions, support, and hardware, we had an excellent foundation to enhance our business further into the virtual and hybrid realm.
We continuously think about what the event space will look like in the future to always be at the forefront of innovation. We introduced a self-service check-in kiosk, facial recognition technology, and a cashless payment option several years ago, which will be even more critical for low contact check-ins when live events come back. We even won an award for best use of technology at one of our client’s events in Europe.
Our clients inspire us throughout the innovation process to create something unique while improving the user experience with every update. The Boomset platform is regularly updated with new features released every two weeks, so users are encouraged to submit feedback and improvements they wish to see.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Kerem Baran: Live events around the world came to a screeching halt in mid-March. Seeing this as an opportunity to accelerate some of our features, we accelerated our efforts. We pivoted the company from on-site event solutions to a virtual platform in only eight weeks.
We successfully transitioned many existing and new clients from a live to a virtual platform, helping them continue the dialogue developed with their attendees through live events over the years and, crucially, helping keep their companies afloat. We’ve since designed and developed live-streaming services, pre-recorded session integrations, a virtual exhibitor area and enhanced virtual attendee engagement via 1-to-1 video calls, live chat, polling, and Q&A. As a result, our virtual platform is as robust as our live event offering.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Kerem Baran: If this pandemic taught us one thing, it is a business, you have to be flexible and adapt to circumstances rapidly. We are a 10-year-old company and were still able to pivot like a startup in a couple of weeks. Tenacity is our other motto. Our market took the biggest hit from COVID, and physical events will not be back for the foreseeable future. We never give up. As a company, we had never worked remotely as our office culture was always a huge positive for our employees. Fortunately, our transition to remote working was seamless. We knew about the importance of investing in the right people for your company; our strong team, or “Boomies” as we like to refer to our employees, is the most important reason for us to thrive under these circumstances.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and Boomset in the future?
Kerem Baran: It’s critical to stay focused on what matters to survive. The fastest and most agile companies that can respond to the needs of their customers will survive. We’ve never lost our focus on our customers which has helped navigate us through these challenging times. At Boomset, we’ve never operated out of fear, but rather through staying laser-focused on the market’s demands. We’ll be even stronger when the pandemic is over as we’ll see an increase in hybrid events, and Boomset will undoubtedly add more value to these events with the addition of our virtual offering.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Kerem Baran: It’s a crowded industry, and there are many players in the game. However, not many of them are responding to the needs of organizers looking for an end-to-end solution. We are creating our benchmark to address these needs in one place and providing a seamless experience to streamline events.
We will continue to focus on our customers and leverage what we know best – event management. Instead of solely virtual features, we have focused on hybrid events, and the security solutions organizers will need to prepare for them. Classic customer favourites from our live event functionality like on-site registration, facial recognition, and on-demand badging, will only enhance events. Everything is around our pre-pandemic tools, and Boomset plans to continue to lead the industry and develop the virtual solution to extend the networking and opportunities live events offer.
Your final thoughts?
Kerem Baran: Our industry is forever changed. The adoption rate of virtual has soared in such a short period, and this will only encourage a 360-degree experience for events post-pandemic. We will see a proliferation of hybrid events which will combine the power of in-person functionality with virtual, producing a more holistic experience. As such, Boomset will be able to service our customers on the platform of their choice, whether it be live, virtual, or hybrid events.