Event Startup Success: Rising from the Bottom to 600% YoY Growth

Roman Mastalir Eventee

Roman Mastalir tells us how Eventee covers in-person, virtual, or hybrid events.

Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Eventee.

Roman Mastalir: The first seed of our company was planted back in 2009 during my college years when my friend Petr and I first started to develop our own apps for iPhone and iPad. A few years later, we began developing mobile apps for others, and that continued until 2019 when we decided to close the studio.

The reason was that, in the meantime, we started working on Eventee, a super cool mobile app used to increase engagement during events. In the beginning, it was just a PR stunt to promote our agency, but over time we saw potential in Eventee. As our user base grew, we decided that it was time to close the agency, and since 2019 we have focused mainly on Eventee.

Do you have small habits that made a meaningful impact on your life and business?

Roman Mastalir: Quite a lot actually. But I will try to sum it up to the most impactful. I use the Bullet Journal technique which works the best for me. Each day I focus on one most important task, I call it a highlight. One task that pushes our company the furthest. Once done, the rest I do is just to fill the day – replying to emails, meetings with colleagues, etc. Discovering what is the most important task is probably the most difficult part of being an entrepreneur. It is something that challenges me every day.

I also use the 10 minutes rule. When there is a task I really don’t want to do, rather than procrastinating for hours or days, I promise myself that 10 minutes of working on that task are enough and then I can move on to the next one. As you can probably imagine, the most difficult part is to start. So usually when I promise myself just 10 minutes, it ends up taking much more time or even me finishing the whole task.

The Pomodoro technique is one of my favorite productivity techniques as well. It helps me to keep the pace and deliver one task after another. To those who don’t know Pomodoro, it is a simple technique that divides the day into 25 minutes blocks with 5-20 minutes breaks in between.

In recent weeks, I found Do not disturb mode to be of great help as well. Especially in the Apple ecosystem where the mode is shared between devices, so you are not disturbed on any of your devices while working.

How does Eventee market its product/services online?

Roman Mastalir: As an early-stage startup, we started with the most affordable ways to promote our product. Content creation and quality SEO are one of the first things we started with.

A good tip is, for example, answering questions related to your niche on Quora. Community channels on LinkedIn or Facebook are also a good source of leads. But probably the most important channels to us are B2B review sites such as G2 or Capterra, which generate the most relevant traffic. You should always think about strategies that motivate your customers to leave reviews on such sites.

Most of our growth comes from organic traffic. Just recently, we started experimenting with Google Search Ads. Overall, my personal opinion is that content is more important than PPC, as it keeps generating new leads even if you decide to stop posting new content.

What specific tools, software and management skills are you using to manage your online marketing?

Roman Mastalir: One may say we are tool junkies at Eventee, but each of them helps us to achieve our goals.

We used Trello for many years, but just recently, we moved to Notion, which suits our needs much better. For post scheduling, we use FeedHive. Our blog is running on Ghost, which has really good SEO optimization built in. We use TruConvert to record mouse movements on our website and better understand our users’ behavior. Recently, we also experimented with AI and its use in content creation. We use WordHero for that, and so far, we are amazed at what one can achieve with this tool! Brandox helps us share our marketing materials and images within the team, using context rather than just file names. SwipePages helps us with building landing pages for our ads campaigns. And there is more, I don’t want to overwhelm you. 

In sales, we use Pipedrive to keep track of all our leads. We also use Albacross to better understand who is interested in Eventee. That tool never ceases to amaze me. Using Albacross, you can see which company visited your website. It is extremely useful when you have a B2B startup. For mailing, we use Mailchimp, but for sales, we use Snov.io. Find That Lead and Hunter.io are also tools we use on daily basis. And I mustn’t forget to mention Loom, which helps us better engage with our leads.

Then, of course, we use standard tools such as Google Drive, Gmail, etc.

When it comes to management skills and processes, that is the area we are still improving. The whole company is running on agile processes. But as an early-stage startup, we keep learning and pushing ourselves to deliver better results and better cooperate within the team.

What is your hiring policy/process and how do you retain your employees?

Roman Mastalir: Well, we are a smaller team, so there is not that much to share yet. In my opinion, what is more, important than hard skills is a culture fit. I hire people I have something in common with, people I could go to dinner with without feeling uncomfortable. That is something I have been successful at so far. Let me explain why.

When Covid hit our country, we were only three weeks from bankruptcy. I asked my team to cut the salary to 50% and help us survive for six weeks. To my surprise, all of them agreed without hesitation. We were all pulling together, we didn’t want to give up, we wanted Eventee to succeed. I have never been more proud of my team. Thanks to them, we survived, adapted, and now we are growing 600% year over year in revenue.

How are you funding your growth?

Roman Mastalir: Even though Eventee was funded by an Angel investor in 2020, we are currently profitable and looking for other opportunities to boost our growth. We are in talks with several VC funds, discussing Series-A rounds. 

Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?

Roman Mastalir: We try to do things differently, so it’s a little bit difficult to point out who our exact competitors are. Attendify or Swapcard could be considered as possible alternatives to Eventee.

We do not plan to stay in the game, we plan to ace it. 🙂 Our market is usually very rigid. What we do is bring a subscription-based SaaS model to the paywall-hidden industry, which is usually pay-per-event or pay-per-feature. As we are originally a tech company, we have a huge advantage over our competitors in the quality and capability of our apps. We may not have the same amount of features, but those we have run better. One example, I was shocked that having live polling and live questions using Socket technology is not common, and some of our competitors use dated technology. Sadly, customers realize that too late.

So far, we have played the game really well. We have customers such as the British Government, Oxford, Stanford, Cambridge, SAP, TomTom, Forbes, and many more. The most exciting thing is that all of them are our organic customers!

Tell us a customer success story of yours?

Roman Mastalir: One of our first customers struggled to get feedback from their attendees. Usually, only around 10 out of 500 visitors reply to their email and provide feedback. When they started using Eventee, they got 80 reviews during the very first session! By the end of the day, they got hundreds of reviews, which was a huge success. Since then, they have used Eventee for every single event.

Your final thoughts?

Roman Mastalir: I thought I’d share with you something I learned the hard way. Having a good product is not enough. It is also crucial to have good marketing. Way too many early-stage startups spend all their time only on perfecting their tools, but you should always start with an MVP and invest time into marketing as early as possible. And you don’t have to spend a dollar for it. You can build your community, be active in your niche, or answer questions on Quora – you got the idea. In 90% of all cases, people are not buying your product because they don’t know about it. Invest at least 50% of your time in marketing.

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