Starting Up When The World Is Shutting Down

people silhouetted in an apartment building

It’s no secret that now is not a good time to be in the travel or event industry. COVID-19 has done a good job of putting a stop to most things. As a result, I’ve had several people ask me why I’d keep going with a business based around group events right now. I’d like to give a few reasons why I think it’s important.

Nothing to Lose

As a pre-seed startup that had just started beta testing, I didn’t really have much to lose. There’s a few ongoing costs, but I’m extremely lucky to not have employees to pay or users to retain. The road is going to be longer, for sure, but taking a detour doesn’t mean you turn around and go home. In some ways having to take a bit of time to reorganize is good for a startup. Facebook might have made “Move fast and break things” a popular mantra for tech companies, but good technology, and a good company, sometimes needs to take a moment to stop and reflect on what they’ve done and where they’re going. I’ve been lucky to have the flexibility to do just that.

Bringing People Together in the Moment

Drover was created with a radical idea in today’s technology, that success is based on how little time people spend using our product. Ideally, Drover’s users will feel confident to check the app for the information they need and then be able to put their phones away and enjoy their in-person experiences.

I won’t deny that I got nervous when events and gatherings were moved online and people started saying how easy and great it was to have everyone on a video call. But then we realized something was missing. Social scientists began explaining that it’s not just you -- virtual social events just don’t work for the human brain. Sure, we might feel more comfortable doing a few more things online in the future, but nothing can compare to being there.

Unabashed Optimism

Like anyone else who has started a business, I’m an optimist. That optimism extends beyond my own company. I firmly believe that with all of us working together we’ll find ways to overcome our current problems. What exactly those solutions will look like, I can’t even guess. But there are people working around the clock, and for that I’m thankful. Sadly it might not be in time for some startups. My heart goes out to my fellow founders who are in the process of making some tough decisions. But as ideas people, I’m also looking forward to the new startups those founders build to meet our new problems.

Looking Forward

That is to say, yes, things are probably going to look different when this is over. But what’s different is totally up to us. For my part, I want to keep working and preparing for the moment when people want to come together again.

To that end, I’d love to hear what’s on your mind as events slowly start opening up. What would make you feel safer? What are you particularly looking forward to? How can Drover help you get the most out of events? Please feel free to email me at kathleen@droverapp.com if there’s anything on your mind. One thing about being so early-stage is that I can still be pretty agile. I’d love to make sure I’m building a product that fits your needs now. After all, at its heart Drover is about building flexible technology that makes events as stress-free as possible. More than ever, we need to be able to relax and enjoy our time together.