Which startups won’t make it and which will go out of the crisis as winners. Events industry, travel, leisure, real estate, hardware, are the hardest hit sectors. Yet does it apply to the startups in these industries? Do tech startups stand the chance of losing the game for not having the financial resources to sustain, or will make it because they are flexible and adaptable. We ask founders from the most affected sectors.
Events canceled or postponed till further notice. Some of them are going online. This is, in a nutshell, the situation with the global events and conference industry. In 2018, the sector reached $1.1B and was supposed to grow to $2.23B in 2026. Yet, these projections might not be relevant anymore ever since the global coronavirus outbreak. And it will affect everyone involved – from organizers to venue owners, to artists, music bands, even construction companies, and travel agencies, and let’s not forget – intermediary players like ticketing platforms. For some companies that are fast and flexible enough (or are called Zoom), however, this could be an opportunity as they manage to refocus on online.
Global ticketing and events business Eventbrite, for instance, announced last month its business outlook will be materially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, as many have already suspected. Specifically, the company told TechCrunch it was withdrawing its outlook for the first quarter of 2020 as a result of the “growing impact” the outbreak is having on global live events. Last year, the revenue of the company reached $327M, growing 12% yoy, and the forecast was for further growth of these numbers.
In Bulgaria, there’s an online events ticketing and organization platform called Evedo that uses blockchain technology to make sure the whole event organization process and the paychecks are fair for everyone involved. The platform consists of B2B and B2C marketplaces that unify all businesses and participants involved in conducting events. While venues, artists, catering firms, technique rental companies, sponsors etc., are part of the B2B marketplace, the main players in the B2C area will be organizers, promoters and attendees. The main functions in the consumer space is to buy and sell tickets and market events to new audiences. In the past months, after a semi-successful initial exchange offering (IEO) last year, in which Evedo raised 2340ETH or around $185K from the initially planned $2M, the platform was just starting to take off onboarding first events and partners. Yet, the plan has changed. We talked to the founder Stoyan Angelov, who’s been in the events space for a decade, to find out what is he currently up to.
Trending Topics: When did you start seeing the first indicators that your business will be affected by the crisis?
Stoyan Angelov: I heard about the coronavirus for the first time while I was visiting WEF Davos in January. One of the speakers told me that in China there was a virus outbreak with global pandemic potential. I didn’t really take it seriously at first, and a couple of weeks later as the world started talking about this, I realized that the business that is our main target – live events (conferences, concerts, festivals, meetups) is among the most affected ones. It hit us right in the beginning as one of the first big conferences supposed to be run through the platform – The Hong Kong Blockchain Week, was canceled right before the sales launch. In a while, dozens of events followed.
What were the first actions you undertook?
When the virus reached Europe we already knew what was going on and it was not a huge shock, we were already preparing to make a sharp turn in direction to online events. We started a dedicated section on the website for online events, and we are currently working on a webinars platform for online events organizers. The alpha version is already live. In a nutshell, we switched 100% focus to online events and are trying to find out value proposition there now.
How long do you think the current situation will have an effect on the event industry and on your business in particular?
The evens industry is directly hit and is among the most affected ones. As I see it, there won’t be any events industry at least till October 2020. In my opinion, the consequences will last for at least a year in the positive scenario, in which things normalize in 3-5 months.
Are you currently focused on short-term survival or rather on the longer game? What are you doing?
As much as the current situation could be seen as a crisis, I’d also like to look at it as an opportunity for small and flexible companies like Evedo. We stand the chance to benefit from it and add more value to the industry on a global scale. Also, I see huge potential for further development after the crisis, because offline organizers will be able to understand what are the problems we are actually solving with blockchain technology for ticket sales and the regulation of the relations between organizers, venues, sponsors, rental companies, etc.
What are the potential new products and services your company could offer?
As mentioned, we already reorganized our work and launched a new product for online events organizers. It’s a fully functional ticket platform for free and paid webinars, we are also testing our own webinars platform. The goal is to offer full-cycle solutions to online events organizers – from the events creations, to ticket sales, to the actual video seminar – all in one place.
As a founder, has the thought of a new venture/ completely new life and business direction already crossed your mind?
No, I could even say that the current situation gives me more confidence that we are on the right path.
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