This week HeadBox turns four.
Alongside excitement, birthdays bring a certain amount of nostalgia with them so I’ve taken a look back on the whirlwind that has been the last four years, reflecting on what we’ve achieved as a team. The highs, the lows and a look to the future.
So, how did it all begin?
2015: Launch Pad
Four years ago, HeadBox was born as an online marketplace for inspiring meeting, offsite and event spaces. Our tagline was “Sharing Inspiring Spaces” with a clear vision to “bring people and spaces together to make brilliant things happen, everywhere.” The concept was simple, we wanted to streamline the way that corporate and SME bookers discovered brilliant venues for their work-related events and provide them with a simple website where they could book and pay online.
And so HeadBox, the UK’s first transactional marketplace for meetings and event venues, launched in Beta with 1000 Spaces across London at the end of 2015. We marked the occasion with a fantastic launch party at Banking Hall in the City of London on 13th October, with four00 of our new clients.
2016: UK Expansion and Three Dimensions
In early 2016 we focussed on two main objectives. Further expansion across the UK and driving demand to the HeadBox marketplace. By the end of the year, the team had grown to 10 and we had expanded to Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and Liverpool, making it quick and easy to book a Space in 5 major cities across the UK.
As demand started to build, we began to attract multiple bookers from the same organisation and we uncovered a wide range of problems with venue finding and event planning that happens at a company-wide level. And so, the initial idea for HeadBox Business was born, a tech-based solution for entire companies and organisations to manage their entire meetings and events programmes.
We then launched HeadBox 3D, our state-of-the-art virtual venue tours that allows anyone to experience a site-visit from the comfort of their own desks. This is now used by the likes of Gordon Ramsay Group, Mandarin Oriental, London Zoo and many more. To date, we’ve created 1300 virtual tours across Europe and that number is still growing.
We raised €1M in funding led by Egora Holding which allowed us to further invest in our HeadBox Business product and build on our corporate client list that began with Dentsu Aegis Network and Domestic & General.
Throughout the HeadBox journey, we’ve always been extremely focussed on understanding our customers’ problems so that we can create digital tools and software that solve them. This was at the very core of the HeadBox Business product in those early stages and still rings true today.
2018: Ones to watch
2018 was a bumper year as we expanded even further north to Scotland launching Edinburgh and Glasgow. We were shortlisted for The Sunday Times Tech Track “Ones to Watch” and we reached the heady heights of #23 in the Startups 100, up from #74 just two years earlier.
We then raised £4M in investment led by Guinness Asset Management to drive our European expansion plans and started to invest in localising our products ready for 2019.
2019: Things get pretty exciting
This year HeadBox has grown to a 60-strong team in our Shoreditch office across sales, marketing, account management, customer success, operations, product and tech. In March, we delivered a rebrand as we had outgrown our initial brand positioning defined solely by our single marketplace product and so our new brand DNA was born. We’ve continued to develop and iterate our products to solve the problems for bookers, businesses and venues taking us one step closer to reinventing the global events industry through technology.
In April, we launched the marketplace in Ireland with 800 venues across the country and in September, we welcomed the first two members of our Irish team who will be based in Dublin. Expanding into our first new market has of course been a learning curve. There’s a huge amount of work that goes on behind the scenes of launching in a new market and we’re getting to know a whole new set of customers.
The HeadBox platform is now ready to go global, with the necessary infrastructure for language, currency, tax, and legal, to launch in any city in the world in two weeks. The team has worked incredibly hard to make it happen, and our next step is to launch in the Netherlands very soon. I’m in no doubt that this next step will present its own unique challenges but it’s also very exciting.
Something that has remained constant over the last four years is our obsession with our customers. Aiming to solve our customers’ problems has meant we’ve been laser-focused over the last four years, building products with that aim always at the forefront of our minds.
It means that having started our journey as an ecommerce marketplace for events we have now become one of the UK’s fastest-growing event tech companies helping major corporates digitally transform their meeting and events programme.
Every day, we unlock brilliant events for bookers, companies and venues through “humankind event tech” – a combination of our proprietary software, outstanding customer service and events expertise enabling us to deliver an end to end enterprise solution.
But first, some celebrations at Proud Embankment, because every birthday needs a party.