- Vesa Walden is a founder of Opens, a software for event management and planning.
- The Finnish entrepreneur has been working as a professional event producer, artist manager, event lecturer for over 25 years.
- The complexity of event planning has inspired Vesa to build his own teamwork platform. Opens allows its users to easily plan events and manage the team.
ITKM: At what stage are you right now?
Vesa Walden: To date, Opens has had about 420 events and about 132 venues established. Interestingly, there are event professionals but also amateurs among our users. The same things apply to all events regardless of their size. Our yearly revenue is about €100,000 at the moment.
Opens is offering three products for its users:
Tell me a bit more about each of your products?
Open Event is our main product at the moment. It is a teamwork platform for event organizers and is designed to meet the needs of the production team. Team members can export any implementation-related documentation to the system, or they can use event planning tools in the software. For example, event scheduler and tool for drawing a floor plan. It is important for the event organizer to be able to rely on having all the information in one place according to the same structure at each event.
Open Venue is a venue service for events organizers. The event organizer usually needs detailed information about the venue and tools for planning the event. Nowadays, it is difficult to get this information because it is behind different people. The Open Venue software allows the event organizer to see all the details in one place and get a real-time view of the event plan as far as the venue is concerned. The software also provides integration of venue data to Open Event’s users.
Open Shop is a by-product created at the request of customers. It is not really a software, but an online store for selling stands and space reservations online. We are not currently developing and selling this product. We only maintain functionality for our users.
We are currently focused on developing Open Event software. It is also suitable for the venue, so we decided to focus our resources on it. Organizing an event is at the heart of everything, so it is easier to add functionality for a different purpose when the core is in order.
How many people do you have on the team?
We are still a small team. I am the founder and the salesman. And, I don’t have any technical knowledge to build software, so I hired a team of three developers from one software house.
For those who have a business-idea and no programming skills, we recommend giving a try to Builder.ai, a human-assisted platform that enables users to create a software without coding.
So that’s an interesting situation. How do you decide which software house is better than others?
To build this kind of platform, you need some very good developers. Initially, I started with a team of junior developers and it didn’t work out well. Then I changed the team and hired more experienced programmers, after this, we were able to move on with the software.
How did you explain to them your idea without having the knowledge of programming?
I’m a producer. I just told the developers that I need to go from point A to point B with my product, and how exactly they do this I don’t care. That’s the point. Surely, we made mistakes, but we learned from them. At the moment I am happy with my team.
What’s the delivery model for the Opens software?
Clients pay yearly – it’s the SaaS model. There is an option for customers to buy a software license for one year and then share it with colleagues. So you can even split the payment.
I understand, but if I’m an event producer, and I buy a license from you. My friend is Craig Smith. He’s an event producer at Sony. So I buy the license, and then he can use the same license?
Yes, but you will be the one who owns the database.
Got it. Are you going internationally already?
Opens software is already available in Finnish and English. I believe we are ready to take the first steps towards internationalization later this year. So far we have product development customers in Finland. The fundamentals of organizing events are the same everywhere, so I believe that our customer base outside Finland will grow rapidly as awareness of Opens grows.
You know this is the first software of its kind. Professionals usually use Excel sheets, PowerPoint or something like that to manage the event planning.
So do you have any competitors or this is a blue ocean with almost none?
I think it is a blue ocean. I haven’t found anything like that in the market. So after testing the platform, people usually say that they want to marry me!
Cool. This is what we need!
If you want to learn more about the Opens software, join the masterclass, or start a trial period, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.