So, what’s all the excitement about? – Co-Founder Q&A’s
By: Birgit Thümecke
Eventerprise.com co-founders Charlie Wright and Götz Thümecke sit down to explain their vision, mission and business goals. Who do they serve? How do they fit into the SaaS community? And where do they see the company in the future? They answer these questions and more! First, let’s meet the men behind Eventerprise.com
Götz has as much background as he does foresight, but they both revolve around the same thing – building businesses. It started by building business for his clients, on behalf of two of Germany’s top FMCG consultancies. He continued to build businesses all the way from Europe to Africa, including his own project management consultancy. He has inspired more people to realise their potential than ‘The Secret’, has a strange sense of humour and is understandably nervous about saying the wrong things around his wife.
For the last 25 years, Charlie has lived, breathed and sweated business. He first founded the first conference organising company in the UAE and followed that up in 1997 by founding an internationally recognised turnkey events business that is today part of the Arena Group, one of the worlds iconic event group. He speaks 3 languages, has lived in 5 countries and doesn’t have arrest warrants in any of them.
This is what Charlie and Götz had to say in a recent interview…
When did you officially start the business?
Who are the investors and how did you get them on board?
Our investors come from the UK, the UAE and SA. They have bought into the business because of the simplicity of the idea and the people behind the business – they also form part of the event community in the countries listed.
What were the key elements that investors like about Eventerprise offering? What are they looking for?
Apart from real innovation, they are looking why something might not have been done before. But, more importantly, they’re interested in the team behind it – the product is second. With a strong team they can do anything.
Is there room for more investors, if so who would these be and what should possible investors know?
There is always room for investment but the ‘early’ opportunity is rapidly closing.
What is the revenue model? And what are your projected revenues for this year?
We’re part of the SaaS world and we have revenue models ‘behind’ the revenue models. But, essentially, we’re a subscriptions-driven platform – we can discuss our revenues another day!
How do you measure success, and what has the company delivered to date?
In many ways the most significant is traction across the board and increasing signs of a rapidly growing community. The company has, for the last 2 years, been developing a product for global release in our ‘test’ market of SA and with close to 40% of the SA event community already accounted for.
What are the projections and timelines for the next phase of the business?
Hard launches in the UK and the UAE in 2016.
You describe your business as a globally localised tech-driven venture – give us more info about the markets you serve and operate in, and why?
Whilst we’re launching and connecting event communities across the globe we serve and connect them all locally. We’re not reinventing the wheel, we’re working smart. We’re employing great technology and combining best practices and tools that have already been invented and applying it to an industry where they haven’t been before.
Why have you chosen to base yourselves in SA as a Swiss company operating globally? Are your developers based in SA? How does the business add value to the SA economy?
We’re a Swiss owned company but we selected SA as our test market because it is English-speaking and has a sophisticated events industry. But, at the same time, it has an unsophisticated approach to e-commence – a great formula. Our R&D laboratory (as we like to call it) is based in Cape Town and from there we can do a great deal of activation anywhere. The great thing about the tech fraternity is its remoteness, which allows us to work across all time zones and we follow the sun, so we have developers around the world, including SA. Are we adding value to the SA economy? Very much so – Eventerprise brings events communities together and connects them in ways they haven’t been connected before. We’re giving presence, a voice and opportunity to generate business that wasn’t available previously and, at the same time, transparency and peace of mind when making connections.
How many event suppliers are currently listed and what is your target this year?
We already have close to 40% of the traditional pillars of the event community represented on Eventerprise and we’ll be looking to doing close to this in our new markets this year.
How do you manage the quality of suppliers?
Carefully… But, whilst Eventerprise is not the industry police, every supplier has an opportunity to become an Eventerprise supplier and, by bringing their own qualified and vetted reviews from their clients, their reputations are built and developed over time.
How will Eventerprise target hosts?
We have a structured digital 17-point plan for doing this, over and above what our suppliers already do.
How does Eventerprise add value to supplier and host?
Eventerprise offers a number of key benefits and functionalities of the platform and service offering:
Search: Powerful search is not about more options, it’s about a better selection – fast.
Select: Fine tune your selections based on tone, innovation and reviews. The right supplier for the best results.
Connect: Get quotes, reviews and the inside story. Get connected, get chatting and get engaged.
Profile: Our suppliers profiles showcased for performance in the digital way.
Compare: Your criteria, your decision; our tools will make comparisons simple and accurate.
Measure: The tools to track your success are a part of the package, so you can find out what works best for you, daily.
Review: No more guessing. No more fingers crossed. Real reviews from real clients, in real-time.
Promote: Those who deserve the glory, rise to the top. It’s our job t build the platform and build our clients.
Jobs: Technology has changed the way job seekers search for jobs and event hosts – suppliers find qualified employees.
Have you created any special features that will enhance the offering?
If so, what are they? Very much so and this is a constant. We believe our search capability is one of the most advanced around and was recently described by one service provider as “…you’re like Google on steroids, where Google is irrelevant and all the users’ needs are met and essentially bypassing the norm altogether”. For a supplier, Eventerprise is a hybrid between a web and a constant social media presence in real-time and updatable instantly. The user experience is equally paramount and requires constant and dedicated attention to ensure we apply best practice in speed, functionality, innovation and the gamification of the platform. We have also incorporated one of the most intelligent and interactive review generation management tools available which is incredibly exciting to watch.
How many users do you plan to have using the site?
Please view the monthly statistics below. We foresee Eventerprise being the benchmark for everything events across event communities around the world. View our monthly statistics here.
Are there any insights in the growth of software as a service (Saas) space that have influenced the business and its offering?
This (International Data Corporation) IDC study presents IDC’s view of worldwide SaaS and cloud software performance by vendor in 2014 and anticipated performance through 2019. The cloud software market reached $48.8 billion in revenue in 2014, representing a 24.4% YoY growth rate. IDC expects cloud software will grow to surpass $112.8 billion by 2019 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.3%. SaaS delivery will significantly outpace traditional software product delivery, growing nearly five times faster than the traditional software market and becoming a significant growth driver to all functional software markets. By 2019, the cloud software model will account for $1 of every $4.59 spent on software. http://www.gartner.com/ newsroom/id/3119717. We’re hitting a lot of the sweet spots
In designing the platform what are the key elements you focused on?
In the savvier investment circles the product is as important as the team behind it. We’d like to think we have that team & the product. We’ve both been in start-up positions before. From the outset our intention was to create something scalable and applicable to any country in the world and that hadn’t been done! A total commitment to each other and total absolute belief in what we are doing, then leading from the front whilst understanding every facet of the business and surrounding ourselves with great people with best in class mind set and the ability to execute. We surround ourselves with do’ers and less so with the thinkers.
Have you done research and testing – how have insights from users and suppliers assisted you?
We measure success very differently. We have to show proof of traction, concept and feasibility of our business case very fast and any sign of growth and an upward trend does this – in whatever measurable we compare, and whilst we have achieved this in South Africa the parameters for success in Europe and the rest of the first world are fundamentally different. To understand just how differently these are applied we would recommend a good starting point a) tractionbook.com by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares & b) zerotoonebook.com by Peter Thiel.
The market – which Software as a Service companies do you admire and why?
#1 Salesforce: The founder of SaaS industry, this American-based company is best known for its Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software and is very inspiring and that has come to be in a very short period of timed with a very unconventional market approach. The founder MarcBenioff was once inspired by his now good friend Anthony Robbins tonyrobbins.com who as many of you will know – leads with a similar mind-set and approach. Next would be #2 LinkedIn: Leading social network for professionals and for Eventerprise for many aspects of our work a first point of reference.
What challenges have you encountered and how have you overcome them?
We love what we do; at times we see ourselves as in the obstacle removal business. Throw us an obstacle or a challenge and well either remove or neutralise it with our mind-sets and prove what really can be achieved. We have people around the world working with us in varying capacities as professionals, partners, consultants, contractors and across all facets and in varying numbers.
How certain can you be that SaaS business model is growing?
All trends indicate SaaS is here to stay. Look at the LinkedIn/Microsoft Merger- a multi-billion dollar deal revolutionizing and legitimizing the platform industry, showing just how valuable SaaS is to modern work environments.
Download the Eventerprise Co-Founder Q&A pdf here.
You can also download the Eventerprise Manifesto here.