Getting to know our members - EventEye

Interview with Fredrik Hoel, CEO & Founder of EventEye

Based in Norway, EventEye was launched in 2014 and quickly made the decision to join MDI. Since their start-up days we have worked with EventEye and taken pleasure in seeing their success and company growth over the years.  EventEye provide fun and engaging apps for events and we spoke with Fredrik about how he started the company and what decisions they are having to make during the current crisis the industry has been facing during lockdown, lack of industry tradeshows to attend for networking and leads, and how they are overcoming struggles with the cancellation and postponement of events.


What made you launch EventEye when you did and why event apps?

A lot of events at the time when we launched still relied on paper for their event guide, and odd expensive hardware devices for audience polls. Many of the event apps we had used seemed to have quite some room for improvement, especially in terms of user-friendliness. Rooted in our philosophy that “few people complain if something is too simple, but if it is too complex, they stop using it,” we started our journey.


If you could provide one key piece of advice to new start-up companies about how to survive and succeed, what would it be?

Bring your product quickly to the market. There is always a lot of feedback, ideas, and helpful advice around. However, those ideas are not necessarily what someone is willing to pay for in the end. Launching early on and dealing with real, paying customers pours water on the wheels of your business. Though more importantly, it opens the door to genuine, qualified feedback that is second to none when it comes to nailing your secret sauce.


Are there any hurdles you overcame during the growth of EventEye and what did you learn?

Maybe the most difficult things to do is to throw away something you’ve put a lot of effort into. About a year after we launched our first apps, we faced this dilemma. What we had, didn’t scale as we wanted it to. We had learned a lot, from our customers, from the app users and from our own operations. As painful as it was, we decided to throw out the old one and, along with the lessons learned, build a new app from scratch. It turned out to be a great decision, and in hindsight, I think this is one of the strengths of a smaller start-up. The agility to be able to turn around quickly and make those bold changes.


Since the outbreak of Coronavirus earlier this year and not being able to attend industry tradeshows, how have you been able to connect with potential customers?

At first, as everything closed down, the industry got really busy postponing and cancelling upcoming events. At that time, we weren’t able to reach out much to new potential customers. After this initial shock though, things have started to pick up again, but with a shifted focus. There is a growing demand for virtual and hybrid event technology. Now we are mostly working through our inbound channels and with existing customers that are shifting into this space. It works, but I have to admit I really miss the face to face meetings of tradeshows.


With the cancellation and postponement of events and not being able to provide apps for events, what ways have you found to develop what you are offering?

Hard times are sometimes the push that is needed to make changes and explore new opportunities. My colleague, Ane, recently blogged about this in her post; “Event agencies have in record time become the new tech gurus.” For us, it has opened the door to new partnerships and shifted our focus towards making the event apps work seamlessly along with live video streams to create virtual and hybrid events. It’s really about learning to take the best of both worlds and merging them into a new experience.


Fredrik, if you were using your crystal ball, what can you tell us about the way you see the future of the events industry over the coming years?

In the past, I felt that the event industry generally hasn’t been “early adopters” of technology. I believe that this has changed over the past couple of months and that it will be a lasting change. Making a successful virtual conference requires a new mindset. I am still a big believer in real human to human contact, and I think physical meetings will make a strong comeback. When they do, and we bring all the learning experiences gathered from the virtual world, I think we will see quite a different industry. A dynamic and innovative industry that will grow and change at a fast pace.


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