We recently sat down with Cvent CEO and Founder Reggie Aggarwal to talk about his journey to success, the lessons he learned along the way, and the future of the industry.
This year marks 20 years since Cvent CEO Reggie Aggarwal founded his startup with a mission to transform the meeting and events industry. The event landscape has certainly evolved throughout the past two decades, with technology defining the modern event experience.
Cvent has grown to over 4,300 employees and has acquired several other companies along the way including, more recently, Social Tables and DoubleDutch. Aggarwal continues to lead Cvent forward as the industry expands and recently shared some valuable insights with us about eventtech and building a successful company in this rapidly changing space.
Here are 4 tips gleaned from our recent interview about how to invest and succeed in the eventtech industry.
Maintain Company Culture
As Cvent has expanded over the years, Aggarwal has maintained a clear strategy when it comes to company culture to ensure that Cvent never loses its core values and mission. He started with one main product offering, which was driven mostly by organic growth, and didn't focus on growing too fast too soon.
Only after 12 years—when the company had built a solid product and customer base and was ready to expand—did Cvent make its first acquisitions. Aggarwal focused on adding products to Cvent's offerings that rounded out the platform and offered the best possible product to its customers. Company culture was particularly important during Cvent's many acquisitions, as bringing on a new company with its own team, leadership, and culture can be a complex process.
Maintaining the culture that Cvent has built is paramount to Aggarwal to ensure a seamless expansion and consistent experience for customers working with Cvent. This includes assessing a company's value system and mission before putting anything into motion to see whether it aligns with Cvent's own. Aggarwal has seen great success in doing so and exemplifies this best practice for growing companies.
Invest in Technology
According to Aggarwal, event technology "is here, it's accelerating, and it's pervasive across the entire event lifecycle". In recent years, technology has supported a growing meeting and events industry and has helped bolster event ROI.
In fact, 62.6% of event planners anticipate that their use of event technology will increase. However, most planners are not technologists or data experts. Aggarwal underscores the importance of technology in modern events and of planners increasing their competency in this area to ensure they are able to leverage tech to enhance their events and meet customer demand.
For companies currently operating in the eventtech space, investment in R&D is essential. Cvent has brought on close to 2,000 new hires in the past two years, with a particular focus on engineers to help drive their product and continue to innovate to better serve their clients.
Aggarwal places a large emphasis on encouraging connection between both customers and employees, which is showcased through Cvent's annual CONNECT event. The latest edition hosted 4,500 attendees and presented an opportunity for customers to meet the entire Cvent team face-to-face, from the client service support team to the product managers to the leadership.
Aggarwal mentions two major benefits of organizing such an event, the first being that it engages and motivates employees, which plays into the strong company culture at the core of Cvent. The event also allows customers to talk to other customers about how they're using Cvent and eventtech in general, which helps spread awareness about available tools and tips on how to use them for different types of companies and event needs.
Cvent CONNECT highlights the importance of live events and is a prime example of how Cvent leverages them to promote event technology—not just their own platform—and to show firsthand how it's changing the event industry.
Remain Open to Collaboration
The eventtech industry is still young, and Aggarwal is enthusiastic about its future and the opportunities available for aspiring entrepreneurs and even "intrapreneurs" looking to drive innovation within their existing companies.
One of the most important pieces of advice he shared for anyone looking to get into eventtech was to make sure new products are built to be part of an open ecosystem. Customers generally want to be able to get everything they need in one place—the adoption of all-in-one solutions actually grew by 27% from 2018 to 2019. This is something that Aggarwal focuses on when expanding Cvent, both through product development and acquisitions, and it's going to be increasingly important as the industry evolves.
Whether developers are looking to build a robust platform or another type of product, it's essential to be able to work with others and include integration capabilities. The eventtech space is constantly growing and changing, with ample room for innovation across different sectors. Moving forward, companies will need to leverage their strengths and expertise when working with others to meet customer demand and create the best possible product.
Cvent has been in the business of event technology far before tech was widely adopted, nevermind taken as a given component of any modern event strategy. Now is an exciting time to get involved with eventtech, and Aggarwal plans to continue to scale with his customers while guiding aspiring entrepreneurs as they shape the future of the industry.