First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID19 times?
Pedro Goes: Thank you for asking, I’m glad to say we are all doing well and healthy.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded InEvent
Pedro Goes: I’m CEO of InEvent, a Y Combinator venture-backed company providing an event, marketing and sales platform for Forbes 2000 Global companies, including Amazon, Coca-Cola, KPMG, Santander, Unilever, Boeing, Embraer, and Citibank.
I founded InEvent in 2014 with my co-founders Vinicius Neris and Mauricio Giordano while we were all in college. At the time, we knew we wanted to be entrepreneurs but honestly didn’t know exactly which path the company would take. We tried a bunch of different ideas, including a water tracking app and even a platform targeted at influencers and their followers. Once we landed on the events industry, we saw a real need in the market as we quickly got clients in need of a digital-first approach to their events management.
How does InEvent innovate?
Pedro Goes: We innovate by focusing on the customer first. It’s all around the customer experience, listening to the customer, and working on ideas to WOW the customer. As a company, we really listen to our clients’ feedback, so we use their pain points and insights as a part of our innovative process, ensuring our improvements are actually relevant to the people we cater for. Companies use InEvent products in more than 35 different countries because they are versatile, work out of the box, and our no-code platform makes it easy for teams to deploy events without IT involvement.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Pedro Goes: The pandemic impacted the events industry immensely, as in-person events were deeply affected, so was our growth. Our business decreased by almost 98% when COVID hit, due to our client’s in-person events being cancelled. We knew we needed to act fast, and we did.
In March, we launched a new version of the Virtual Lobby, InEvent’s solution to host, manage, and produce virtual events. We were already envisioning that the future of events would be virtual, so we anticipated its launch. There was a need worldwide for events such as conferences and private rooms that video calls from Zoom or Google Meet wouldn’t meet. For 60 days, we made the tool available for free to all companies in 37 countries in an emergency situation due to the pandemic. Our growth curve started to rise again as companies pivot to virtual.
Fast-forward five months, and InEvent is now ranked the #1 virtual event platform in popularity, satisfaction, and overall score in G2 Crowd, beating well-known industry leaders. Virtual events now account for almost 100% of our revenue, and we’ve experienced tremendous growth during the last quarter, coming from a team of roughly 20 people to 50.
I believe our quick response was key not only to help us survive these challenging times but also to test our resilience and innovation skills to thrive, creating a solution that really helped the industry adapt and go through this major shift.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Pedro Goes: I’m happy to say we didn’t have to let any team member go, which was a big concern when the pandemic hit, and our revenue was close to 0. Of course, we did need to make some difficult choices in terms of our focus and how we’d help the industry while still being profitable, for instance, providing the solution free of charge in the first 2 months for many of our target countries.
We learned many lessons this year, but probably the biggest one was to believe in the product that we built and that we are actually solving a real problem to our clients through it. A successful market fit is crucial for any startup and event, more so during a worldwide pandemic.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and your company in the future?
Pedro Goes: Something that really helps me deal with stress and anxiety is expecting that we will have problems along the way, and that’s a part of growing. If we weren’t growing, that’d be the actual problem, so I try to focus on one issue at a time, keeping in mind it’s part of the process of building a successful startup. Every successful startup went through multiple phases where the company was changing every 6 months or so; when it happens for the first time is kind of scary, but it’s all part of growth.
I have incredibly high expectations for the future. I believe this company can do great things, as we already are doing. We are investing in an extremely talented team that will grow with the company to conquer other markets and build a leading global brand in the virtual events industry. Our mission is to power a human connection through virtual meetings and events.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Pedro Goes: Some of our main competitors include Cvent, Hopin, and Socio. We stay ahead of the curve by focusing on what we are doing and how to improve our own game. Competitors will always be there, especially in a crowded market like ours, but focusing on our product, high-quality service, and our ability to keep innovating is key to setting us apart.
Your final thoughts
Pedro Goes: I appreciate you for hearing our story and inviting me to share more about InEvent. We deeply believe in collaborating to create valuable communities that can talk about their struggles, challenges, and lessons learned along the way. Contributing to an ecosystem like this one is a great way to do that, and we are glad to be a part of this movement to foster innovation.
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