Remoteworkadvocate sat down with Hoyin Cheung, Remo Founder & CEO, to talk about his latest successful venture in virtual event hosting that allows a wide-range of businesses to host events around the globe without leaving their home or office.
Hoyin is a serial entrepreneur. His core passions lie in helping businesses grow in a scalable way with software tools. Hoyin has over 7+ years of experience building remote teams and has worked with Fortune 100 companies like Nike, Best Buy, TJ Maxx, SunGard, Cardinal Health, and Kaiser Permanente. He is passionate about creating authentic conversations that drive meaningful relationships in the most human way possible with the help of technology.
RWA: Will virtual events replace live events?
Hoyin: I would say that you’re going to have a mixture of both. However, when you go on Remo, it feels like a live event. What virtual events have provided us is options. Before virtual events, you either decided to attend the event or didn’t attend. Now, with virtual, it’s not a binary thing anymore. You can tailor your attendance based on your personal circumstances. Right now, to attend international events just to get your baggage at some airports takes 2 to 3 hours. International travel hasn’t fully normalized yet. Not having to travel to an event is one of the biggest advantages of a virtual event. I don’t think it’s ever going to replace live events completely. It just gives people more options.
RWA: Virtual events, virtual networking – how has this helped people during the pandemic?
Hoyin: Remo is a platform where you get to jump into different tables at the event. You get a map, and you can see the tables and then double click and move into that table. Each table has people on it, and you can go to that table and talk to people at that table. Remo is great at recreating that feeling of dropping into a conversation, saying hi, and then moving to the next conversation naturally, just like you would do in real life. So, we have been able to mimic it successfully, and people have commented on how freakishly real it is.
RWA: How has this helped people during the pandemic?
Hoyin: We had the idea for Remo before the pandemic. We were trying to solve a problem. How do you create authentic conversations that drive meaningful relationships? We saw an opportunity in the market and virtual events were something people really loved. We developed this product prior to the pandemic. And when the pandemic came along, this is what we focused on.
RWA: What are the major advantages of virtual events?
Hoyin: Cost savings is, of course, number one. Number two is that virtual events are easier to set up. There is less to set up, no third-party vendors, space rental, food caters and all the coordination of a live event that you have to plan. With a virtual event, there’s much less to think about and organize. You can do it all from your home. From an organizer standpoint, you also have much more of a wider reach as far as event attendees. Also, you are able to get more speakers. Some speakers don’t want to travel. So you can book people you might not have been able to book before.
RWA: Some people say that virtual will never replace physical events. I think those are two different things, what’s your opinion?
Hoyin: I think it will be a mixture of both. I don’t think virtual can replace in-person events. In-person is a unique experience and part of the human condition to meet people and socialize. However, I believe there are many situations where a virtual event could achieve more than a physical event, and that’s with people who are a different type of audience. There are actually two different types of audiences. The in-person is one type. Maybe the event is in one city and easier to go to. The other audience might be someone who has kids, works from home, and doesn’t want to travel much.
The problem is when you’re hosting events for business. You want to include people on both sides of those extremes. That’s why you need to cater to both audiences.
RWA: People normally associate remote events with ZOOM or Ms Teams. What is Remo, and how does it differentiate?
Hoyin: Remo is different. Zoom and Microsoft Teams are tools of convenience. They are actually a meeting platform, not really events, learning, or social platforms. They are just a tool. Remo is not just a tool. We actually provide guidance. We provide support. Teams and Zoom are DYI.
RWA: Can we make friends online? Or during virtual networking?
Hoyin: Due to Remo, at least two million relationships have been created. This happens through people being on Remo, swapping contacts, and building businesses together. So, absolutely, yes, you can make friends on Remo, because there’s no difference from meeting people at a live conference. People seeking out collaborations and swapping information is not much different on Remo than it is in real life.
With the right topics that people can come together to talk about, that’s how relationships are born.
RWA: Do remote and hybrid teams use your platform? If so, then why?
Hoyin: We are seeing a lot of companies that are remote that use Remo for internal events and for internal networking. I think that’s really important because companies are trying to build relationships between different departments, and that’s where Remo has been very, very effective.
RWA: What’s your personal journey to growing this business?
Hoyin: Remo has been an amazing journey. We’ve grown so fast. From 2020 to 2021, we grew from zero to 120 people within ten months, and really fast and in a very organic way. I’ve learned a lot. Our work was amazing. There have been a lot of large, large customers that have come to work with us that I would never have imagined. It has been really amazing and really fun. Now, we are going on to the next phase of how do we adapt to this new post-pandemic world. Obviously, there are so many things going on in this world today. How do we adapt to still serve our customers in the best way we can.
RWA: What is your client base?
Hoyin: It runs the gamut. We’re now starting to be more specific on who we want to target. But it does run the gamut. It is a very big, vast, diverse group of customers.
RWA: What’s the sales journey?
Hoyin: A lot of customers come in inbound, or they have attended an event of ours. They want to host their own event. So, it’s been very organic and very natural. People will take out a trial. They will hold an event, like it, and then they buy. And now we are reaching out as well.