Op-Eds Startup Launches

Case Study: How an Event-Tech Startup Has Made the Most of Quarantine

With nearly one-fifth of the global population on lockdown, there is almost no industry or individual that has gone unaffected by the Covid-19 virus. However, in a time where everyone is trapped in their homes and often banned from large gatherings, the event industry – along with travel and restaurants – has been hit particularly hard by the economic shutdown. With no revenue coming in for the foreseeable future, many businesses have closed down, including event-tech startups that support these events and gatherings. 

Not Rebus. This Colombian startup, which normally helps event organizers garner additional revenue through ancillary sales using AI, took their extra time at home to launch four new products within a single week. As co-founder and CEO, Juliana Villalba put it: “We decided to do what startups do best: solving problems.”

Here’s how you can use these new systems:

1. Digital Events: Tax season is not just at hand in the US; Colombia is currently in the throes of essential board meetings that require more than just a video conference. These boards, which are required by law in Colombia, must comply with regulations regarding quorums and member signatures, even while everyone is staying at home. How? 

Rebus launched Digital Events, a platform that integrates video conferencing, online voting, and digital signatures to ensure that companies can proceed with their required meetings. Within just days of launching, dozens of C Suite executives signed up for the service to avoid losing precious time while working from home.


2. Live Events: Performing artists are also struggling to make ends meet as concerts and events have been canceled for the foreseeable future. While many artists have taken to social media live streaming to continue connecting with their audiences for free, Rebus has launched a live event software that helps these performers sell products and reward fans at the same time. 

Using their signature AI prediction software, Rebus provides fans with options to purchase band merchandise, exclusive records, and even personalized gear. And fans who participate in online shows during the pandemic can be rewarded with backstage passes or VIP tickets when live concerts are rescheduled. 


3. Social Distancing Pop-Up Store: This product supports small business owners and specialists whose work has been put on hold while everyone waits out the virus. Juliana explained that this platform works like a “Masterclass for small businesses,” where plumbers, hairdressers, painters, and chefs can upload video classes to make ends meet and help out people stuck at home without services. 

These business owners will also be able to sell their products through the platform and users will see options based on the AI algorithm. 


4. Drive-Thru Testing: Perhaps most notably, Rebus has put its platform to use to help schedule and organize drive-thru coronavirus testing in Colombia’s largest cities. Inspired by South Korea’s massive testing for the virus, resulting in rapid eradication, Rebus created a program that can help users schedule a drive-thru test to avoid lines and long wait times. Users with an appointment will also have a QR code that acts as a permit at police checkpoints that enforce the quarantine.

Already the governments of Ecuador and Panama have reached out to find out if they could implement similar technology in their cities. Hopefully, this rapid testing will enable these countries to quickly stamp out the spread of the virus within its main epicenters.

Startup founders are taught from the start that their companies must learn to adapt or fail. While few businesses might have predicted what has happened over the past two months of 2019, Rebus has shown that even event companies can reinvent themselves in the face of crisis. With a fresh $415K investment under its belt, Rebus has quickly made the most of a tricky situation, hoping to give back to the Latin American battle against coronavirus through its digital platforms.

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