This series is dedicated to learning from event experts on various topics. We cover event technology, meeting design, and much, more more! Today, we are pleased to interview DAVID AUBESPIN, CEO of Topi.
First of all, please tell our readers about Topi – what is the company all about?
Topi is a networking solution that connects everyone at events. Most people spend time, money, and energy to attend events and meet great people. This is not easy in a huge crowd. Topi helps people break the ice by suggesting conversation topics to groups of people who have common interests. We try to keep it fun and not do too much. Topi offers landing pages for your attendees, and basic services such as agenda, bios, sponsors and exhibitors pages, etc. within a native app as well.
What were the 3 keys to getting the company off the ground – where did you invest your time?
1. Understanding what people do in real life. I didn’t want to build a technology for the sake of technology. As I said we want to do as little as possible and let human interactions work their magic.
2. Understanding what people do on their mobile devices. It’s important not to reinvent the wheel. Adoption of event apps is usually quite low, because not only is it hard to get attendees to download yet another app for a single event, but it’s also crucial they understand the app right away.
3. Customer support! We may be seen as a tech company, but this is a people industry. Customer who trust us with their business are given a lot of attention. Everyone at Topi receives feedback and help requests from customers so we not only can reply as quickly as possible, but also learn what the pain points are and fix them.
I know you participated recently in the fabulous Social Good Summit hosted by Mashable. Please tell us more!
I must admit it’s a good feeling to see Melinda Gates, Edward Norton, or Alicia Keys in your app. It was a great crowd who really engaged via Topi. Mashable is a fun partner to work with as they’re not afraid to try new things. I want to give a shout out to Kristine, who is now at Twitter, for initially picking Topi as the best solution for Mashable.
You also recently participated in Social Media Week. Why did you decide to participate as a brand and how did you strategically approach it to reap the rewards you were looking for?
We do not believe in “one app for one event” in general. It is too hard to try and convince attendees to install an app they will probably delete right after the event. Social Media Week has four events a year, so their participants actually keep using the app in between. I also love the technical challenge of having to support thousands of simultaneous attendees chatting with each other. Lastly, only two logos are on the Social Media Week app. Microsoft, and Topi. We can live with that.
What is your latest and greatest feature that you don’t want people to miss?
We launched our Beaconnected program last month. It is a turn-key solution for planners willing to venture into the beacon world. It was most recently used by BizBash NY, where David Adler used our Beaconnected program to launch “BizBash Live Prizing”, a day long scavenger hunt during which attendees collected prizes if they were at the right place at the right time.
Finally, what is your favorite app?
Wunderlist! I believe in task lists, I always try to free up my mind for thinking instead of trying to remember. Wunderlist is simple, syncs up with a desktop version, works offline. It just works. It’s a good example of an app that kept it simple and gets the job done, something we always try to emulate.