Eola: The Revolutionary Experiential Booking Platform
“Working with the Greenlight Program has supercharged our ability to scale and raise investment by providing a powerful, carefully constructed program which empowered us and greatly expanded our knowledge, and giving ongoing support and advice long beyond the end.”
Eola is a B2B booking and management platform for experiential businesses that focuses on providing a beautiful, easy-to-use cloud application which is as powerful on mobile as it is on a laptop. Dedicated to speed, simplicity, and efficiency, their technology is designed for an industry which is dominated by poor connectivity and mobile activity.
Having taken part in the Greenlight programme here at Capital Enterprise back at the beginning of 2018, we wanted to catch up with Eola to see what progress and successes they have gone on to make.
The journey to Eola began out of frustration. Having worked in high growth tech startups the team found that their weekends were spent mostly inactive, partaking in continual repetitive activities such as going for drinks and the gym. For co-founder Callum, this changed one weekend when his flat mate dragged him for a weekend to Scarborough to go surfing. This experience was incredible and changed the way he viewed free time.
After leaving his first start-up Callum spent a lot of time looking into why people didn’t do more of these activities and pretty quickly he saw a struggling industry. He came across a few problems, particularly that the outdoor experiential industry relied heavily on email or phone bookings, making it difficult for customers to find and book activities as more often than not the businesses are running a session and cannot be near for any inbound communications. This meant experiential businesses struggle to thrive.
Co-Founders Callum and Dan came together as a team in the Summer of 2017. They spent the next few months talking to as many businesses as they could including instructors from all over the country, different customers and sports enthusiasts all to better understand the industry. The next steps for Eola were to create a MVP and the following March it went live. 5 businesses trialled the product over the summer months and it turned out to be hugely successful with 1,000 customers taking part in activities from booking through Eola’s tools. All 5 businesses who trialled the product absolutely loved the technology.
A major challenge that Eola faced was this timeline. It was only after 18 months of bootstrapping that the team managed to close their first major round. Originally the plan was to raise just on the back of the technology. However, it quickly became obvious that they needed to prove the technology was effective first. Therefore, the summer of testing the MVP was critical to the development of the product.
Eola joined the Greenlight programme in March of 2018 and described the experience as ‘utterly invaluable’. It changed their perspective on investment and how to go about raising it. The Greenlight workshops led the team to be able to see both parties in the process of investment and assisted with pitching practice; particularly with building confidence in the teams storytelling ability.
Even since the programme ended the team describe the mentors as continuing to be ‘supportive and friendly’, with always responding to emails about the challenges the team are facing. Callum describes the advice received as always ‘sharp, concise and on-point’ and that he has ‘never met a team so capable of remembering every little thing about the team and the business, and able to dig to the heart of issues so effectively’.
Since their time on the programme Eola have gone on to great success. A few things notable to mention is the full commercial launch of their booking and management platform across the UK, Europe and Australia, the full automation of the technology without needing any intervention from the team and they have closed their first major investment round which has ensured a long runway to develop and scale the technology. In terms of success with customers, Eola are continuing to go from strength to strength. More than 1,000 customers have gone through the booking system and 100% of their online reviews have been 5 star with direct quotes from customers stating that the system is ‘life changing’ and ‘easier to use than Google’.
Looking into the future, the team aim to be the obvious place for any experiential business to manage their centres online and to start taking real-time online bookings. Alongside this the team want to integrate with platforms across the sector to help enable them to maximise their revenues by having real time availability and bookability. And, us here at Capital Enterprise hope they continue to recommend the programme to other businesses who are facing challenges.
We look forward to keeping in touch with Callum and Dan and their expanding team into the future and wish them all the best.