When the coronavirus pandemic hit, turnover plummeted to practically zero. However, it is also thanks to the coronavirus that EventInsight was saved. Law alumnus Bas Krijgsman, who had a run-in with the police as a teenage hacker, has turned out to be a master in making necessity a virtue.
The company’s turnover is now half a million euros per month – 10 times what it was just before the coronavirus pandemic started. You could say that things are really taking off at EventInsight. Established in 2017 by Bas Krijgsman (29) and Ruben Haring (28), an industrial engineering and management graduate, the company is seeing growth around the globe, with new customers in Canada, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand. The crew now totals 35 staff, and there are always job openings.
This is all thanks to ‘Let’s get digital’, a virtual theatre in which large events that cannot take place physically due to the coronavirus are held online. Visitors are met by a receptionist, can socialize with acquaintances and can even turn up fashionably late. ‘There is even a button to visit the toilet,’ says Krijgsman. The software was recorded in the MartiniPlaza event venue in Groningen, using native speakers from the UK, America and Germany to make it as realistic as possible. With a licence, users can book the online theatre for one event, with support services. The music festival Eurosonic Noorderslag took place entirely via EventInsight, as will the media-related part of the Eurovision Song Contest in May. Krijgsman says that employees talk proudly about the well-known people who have taken part in online events.
‘Let’s get digital’ is the brainchild of Bas himself. To develop the idea, the whole team – along with partners, dogs and even a baby – went into quarantine in Drenthe in spring 2020. At the time, EventInsight sold an events app that people could use – through filters and feeds – to meet other like-minded people, for example at conferences. Krijgsman didn’t worry too much when sales of the app, which has also been called a business version of Tinder, ground to a halt due to COVID-19. Quite the opposite, in fact: ‘Don’t blame the situation, but see what you can do differently’, is a motto that he has applied more often. For example, when he, as a young computer nerd, received a community service sentence for hacking, he decided to make better use of his talents and start his own business. A few years later, Krijgsman hoped to conquer the world with a digital yearbook that he created for the student association Vindicat. However, he ended up wasting 100,000 euros that he raised in a crowdfunding campaign because the rest of the world wasn’t very interested in his product. But this taught Krijgsman a lesson: first do your market research.
With some savings from a small business in personal data, he started EventInsight. Krijgsman is technical director and iOS developer and one of three in the management team. Although he is a director, he doesn’t look much like one: he has no interest in expensive cars and chic clothing. ‘We don’t earn a big salary either, or take anything from the profits. We are just enjoying the adventure and want to have the freedom to grow. I would rather invest in new projects and the best people than cash in on our success.’
This article has been taken from our alumni magazine Broerstraat 5. Text Ellis Ellenbroek.
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