AroundThen enables real-time interaction and engagement at events. Founder and CEO Ken Mawbey, tells EN how the tech firm started as a solution to event networking problems.
Hi Ken, can you tell us how the company started?
The first release of AroundThen was in July 2015 and was borne out of the problem of attending networking events and leaving with a stack of faceless business cards and potential lost business connections.
After a career within high technology businesses, I identified the opportunity to translate leading edge Beacon and Bluetooth technology into an innovative solution to this problem, and so AroundThen was created.
How do you work in the events industry?
We provide a unique solution via our app, which delivers real-time event interaction and engagement for delegates and organisers, and helps to make business networking easier.
AroundThen uses leading-edge Bluetooth beacon technology to help streamline event management – from auto check-in and badge printing on arrival, lead capture and delegate tracking, removing the need for barcode scanners at entry points, presentation areas and individual exhibition stands – a great way to free up resources which can then be deployed elsewhere.
Our integration with Eventbrite enables users to be auto-checked into events in advance on AroundThen, as soon as they register for the event on Eventbrite. Users that download AroundThen after registration will still be auto-checked in when they first use the app.
For delegate networking, AroundThen uses Bluetooth between devices to allow users to view profiles of nearby users, exchange messages and connect. Users can connect and message immediately via the app or up a week afterwards, extending the opportunity for networking.
Powerful management reporting is available providing real-time and historical reporting of Beacon notifications, location check-ins and user profiles.
How do you set yourself apart from competitors?
Like other similar event apps, we provide branded content and key event information for delegates before and during an event. However, our differentiator is the auto check-in and badge printing driven by beacons, which helps improve efficiencies on event arrival. In addition, we can send broadcast messages to attendees giving an additional communication channel direct to an attendee device.
Furthermore, the networking functionality provides delegates with a powerful reason to use the app across multiple events, as well as any situation where there’s an opportunity to establish invaluable business connections.
What are the challenges of starting up a tech company?
Speed is of the essence in tech start-ups. It’s a constant, plate spinning of priorities to ensure none of the various aspects of the business get dropped. It’s all too easy to get heavily focused on delivering a great product, without maintaining a close eye on cash flow, sales and raising investment.
What advice would you give to other start-ups?
Passion, optimism and an unerring belief in your vision are key characteristics of successful start-ups, however this can lead to a blinkered mentality, which has to be tempered with reality and the willingness to adapt and pivot as required in order to maximise the potential of