ExpoPlatform are changing how organisers and attendees experience events. Their software provides unique services to all parties of an event improving the experience of organisers, exhibitors and attendees by bridging the communication gap between the parties. They have used LawBite for contracts and advice, with a particular focus on their commercial software contracts between themselves and the events' organisers.
1) Tell me about yourself and your role in the company?
While working on my PhD in Computer Vision at Surrey University I started as the CTO of ExpoPlatform where I'm in charge of product development, alongside sales but really because of my background I work mainly on the technical side, developing the platform.
2) How long have you been trading and where are you based?
We started the company towards the end of 2013 and begun building the software, which took around a year. We started in Guildford but we're now pretty decentralised. We have people working for us across several locations; London, Cambridge, Brighton, Milan... with an engineering team in Kyiv, Ukraine... without modern technology we wouldn't be able to exist in this way for sure!
3) And what does ExpoPlatform do? Tell me what makes your product great.
We saw there was a huge gap in the market for good software for events so we spent a year developing the technology and had our first pilot in Dubai, which was a success. We now work in several countries with events in the UK, Italy, India and the Middle East. Software makes being global easier.
Fundamentally, our product overcomes two key problems with events and their software. Firstly, events software is very outdated both in terms of the way it looks and the typical jobs it performs. Secondly, our software actually caters to the community that surrounds an event. In our minds a big event is like a meeting that takes place once or twice a year and we facilitate the social interaction and communication between its participants before during and after the event. In this way we're trying to change the way people view events to give it a real presence within the digital realm.
4) What are your goals as an organisation?
At the moment we're focussed on UK market but also targeting the Italian market as well, which is a natural fit for us. We've also been exploring partnership options in India, which is very exciting as a vast and mostly untapped market.
5) What challenges have you experienced in the Tech industry?
As a B2B product, it means we have a long sales cycle so managing that has been one challenge. Also whilst it's great to be able to use our software to across borders, we're also having to speak in different languages, write our contracts in different languages and have our website copy translated into different languages too, which has been quite tricky!
6) When it comes to dealing with the law and lawyers, what is most important?
Expertise and price. You need to feel that the person you're talking to is an expert in the area you need. They need to be able to communicate effectively their work and ideas in a way you understand as a business. Since 90% of legal queries are pretty standard, you don't want to be charged a huge amount for that standard work - especially as a start up!
I have actually worked for a law firm previously within their litigation department. We were charging huge amounts of money per hour so I completely understand that the industry is stale and embroiled in a very traditional model. They have a 'captive audience' because people are used to paying high prices for legal work.
7) How did you hear about LawBite? What made us stand out from the crowd?
Initially I heard from someone at the Surrey incubator - we were looking to hire our first employee in the UK so we needed an employment agreement and a share option agreement drafted too. We looked at other options initially before you were recommended but they were quoting crazy prices. We actually spent a lot of money on a shareholder's agreement before finding you - this could have definitely been better spent on the business! Now every time there is a legal query - you are my go-to place. So far our experience e has been very good.
8) What has LawBite done to help your business?
Recently we have been dealing with your software lawyer Amna and we've had a few different queries with her but they have all been related to formulating our commercial agreements with the events themselves. At the moment we're providing the software for the upcoming International Festival of Business, which is hosted in the city of Liverpool & UKTI. However, because it's a public entity the contract and its negotiations has been particularly complicated, although not completely unfamiliar given my legal background. There were a lot of points that weren't clear and what Amna has done has provided us with the best possible deal for us with them and they've had to compromise on clauses that were less favourable. We now feel safe that we're covered and that we've got the best possible outcome.
More generally, you've made us feel secure with the contracts that we've now got in place. They are something that everyone agrees with and has given us the peace of mind that our business is protected. I feel very confident in the advice we've received.
9) Overall why did you enjoy working with LawBite?
I like your electronic submission system and the uniqueness of LawBite. The fact I can do everything in one place and online is great - I can just go in and submit an enquiry - it's so convenient! No more to-and-fro or lengthy email chains.
Everybody is very helpful and friendly and that's been a big factor of the enjoyment too. What surprised me is that Amna submitted changes to a document at 9pm - no law firm would do that! They are so much more flexible in how they can work compared to a traditional model.
I think what you guys are doing should have been done earlier and I think what you're doing is going to change the industry.
Thank you Mykyta!
Lizzie Knight, Head of Marketing, LawBite
ExpoPlatform - http://expoplatform.co.uk