Roman Mastalir

About Roman Mastalir

Eventee is a mobile app for in-person or hybrid events and conferences. It engages attendees with interactive tools, connect them through networking, and much more. ​ After thorough research, Eventee came out as the best mobile app for our needs. And we are looking forward to using it to increase engagement and improve the overall audience experience at our event. ​ In this interview with Roman Mastalir, CEO at Eventee, we are getting insight into the team behind Eventee and how they overcome the challenges of the Covid Crisis.

About the topic

Expodia: Hello Roman. First, thank you so much for your time and for the partnership with Expodia for the innovative Digital EXPO 2023. Can you tell us about yourself, where you’re from, and what is your technical background?

Roman Mastalir: I’m from the Czech Republic. From Brno. I started my first company during my university studies. It was a development studio. We were developing mobile applications for our clients all around the world. Frankly, I have been a technology enthusiast my whole life. A huge geek. As you can see behind me, there is a shelf with Lego Star Wars fighters.

Expodia: Oh yes! I can see it. For the readers, I will insert an image to the Interview.

Roman Mastalir: One of them is the TIE Fighter and the other one is the X-Wing. The X-Wing is the “good guy” and the TIE Fighter is the “bad guy”. 🙂

As I was saying, I’ve been a geek my whole life, but I’m not smart enough to be a developer, haha. Back in the time when I was studying business and management, I got in touch with a friend who was studying to become a developer and told him we should start making iPhone apps together. We agreed that he would handle the development part and I would take care of the design and all the marketing stuff. A few months later we released our first application. We’ve earned around $5,000 from it, so it was some success. It was a very simple application called “alcohol tester” – you just put all the drinks you drank in the app and got an estimation of your blood alcohol content over time.

Our next project was a game for iPad which was quite successful as well. We earned around $22,000 from it. But none of this was a serious business for us, we were just playing around during our university studies.

Expodia: The moment you earned your first paycheck? Was it then the starting point, yourself saying this is the future of my career, I want to go with my own company in this direction of app development?

Roman Mastalir: That’s a very good question. Yes, I think that doing what you truly want is the most exciting thing, and that’s basically what we experienced with our first two applications.

The not so sunny part of my professional life was custom development. It was quick money, but very difficult to maintain. I put my energy and all the skills into somebody else’s application and I couldn’t find the joy in it because I didn’t feel appreciated. In short, doing something of your own and for your own customers is totally different from doing something for your clients’ customers.

Expodia: When did you make the switch and then continue, maybe, with your own company? 

Roman Mastalir: I established my very first business once I finished high school. More precisely, I got a freelancer licence. So, I was an entrepreneur with a freelancer license since I was 19 years old.

I did some small stuff before the biggest leap – the first app development with my friend. In my opinion, we started our “company” the moment we released it. But we didn’t want to create a real company right away because it was administratively difficult back then. So, we postponed it till we finished university.

Expodia: Let’s talk about Eventee. And again, thank you so much for your cooperation and for the partnership. I think this will be bringing a lot of value to our exhibitors and visitors to communicate before and after the event. We will be able to broadcast and live stream our keynote speakers. How did you come up with Eventee? And have you done it by yourself or with a partner?

Roman Mastalir: Eventee was just a PR stunt to promote our development business. We worked on this small project for two months. It was a very simple tool compared to what Eventee is today, haha. Thanks to Avast, who called us like three days after the first event and asked if they could use our app too, I realized that there might be something special about it, and so we kept it as our side project. We were not working on it full time at the beginning, we only devoted ourselves to it during breaks between the custom development contracts. That changed in 2019 when we decided to close the agency and focus fully on Eventee.

Expodia: In 2020 we had the COVID-19 crisis and Eventee is specialized in events which I think is the Best “Non white label white label solution” as you said correctly before. What was the challenging part of COVID-19?

Roman Mastalir: The COVID times hit us very hard, and we were close to bankruptcy. Basically, when we decided to close the agency and continue with Eventee, we had to downsize the team by half, and we were running it only with our savings. We made some money, but not enough to cover all the costs. However, we had a promising business plan that predicted that sometime in the first half of 2020 we should start to be profitable, which was our aim. At that time, we were looking for investors for Eventee as well, so everything was quite okay. There was still income that covered some part of the costs and the remaining amount was payed from our savings.

The turning point started with COVID, I think it was the end of February 2020 in the Czech Republic.

Expodia:  In the Czech Republic, we had the first Lockdown on the 15th of March 2020. 

Roman Mastalir: Okay, so it was the middle of March. We had enough money in our bank account to sustain our business for three weeks only. At the same time, all our customers asked for refund because they were struggling since they did not get help from the government. Back then, nobody knew what was happening and it was quite a mess.

Eventually, I asked my team if they could cut their salaries down by 50% to help us survive. And they all said yes without any hesitation. So big kudos to my team!

This way, we were able to extend the three final weeks to six weeks. We immediately started working on the lifetime license business model and offered it to all our former customers and leads. This helped us get enough money to cover costs for the next two months.

Expodia:  You mentioned Investors. What happened with the search? 

Roman Mastalir: Fun thing is, in March we were like one maybe two weeks away from the signing of the investment agreement. But due to COVID the investor said “sorry guys, but investing in an event company does not seem like a good idea now”.

Despite that, I couldn’t let go. I proposed a new deal to the investor – here is the list of KPIs, if we meet them by the end of 2020, we will proceed with the investment process. We did not only meet the KPIs, but surpassed them. So, by the end of 2020, Eventee had a new angel investor.

Expodia:  You have a strong and fantastic team. Because they decided to take 50% of their salary just to invest in the company and keep them alive. Sometimes you find the luck in the bad luck. Any positive Aspects during Covid?

Roman Mastalir: It was the worst thing that could happen to us. We are currently on a very strong growth path, and to my opinion, we lost two years of our live because of COVID. This significant growth would be here two years ago. Instead, we had to split our focus and create a version of Eventee that supports virtual and hybrid events. It’s a big weight we are carrying with us because of the pandemic.

Expodia:  We talked about 2021, and now we have 2023. How big is your team now and where are you located? I see you as an American brand, but I see also the office entrepreneur. Can you tell us more about the current status of your company?

Roman Mastalir: Before COVID we had a small presence in New York because Eventee was accelerated there. We kept visiting our small offices there, but since COVID, we are back in Europe. Our office is in Brno in the Czech Republic. Currently, we are a team of ten people.

Expodia:  What can the exhibitors and attendees expect from Eventee as the app? From your perspective, what are the benefits? 

Roman Mastalir: Based on our research, around 80% of all attendees use our mobile application during the event, and what they care the most about is a simple and easy-to-understand agenda. So, that’s the most important feature. It may seem silly, but the biggest benefit of Eventee is that you have all the necessary information in the palm of your hand. To me, it’s amazing that you don’t need any papers, you can have all the information in the app. You can engage with the event organizer, with other attendees, and exhibitors. That’s, in my opinion, the strongest aspect of Eventee.

We are all minimalists, I believe. And I would put my hand in the fire that Eventee is the easiest and the most beautiful event app on the market. What matters to users the most is how easy and comfortable it is to use the tool and that is why we are not trying to bring all the features in the world to Eventee. Instead, we try to keep it lean.

Expodia: You are focusing on putting quality into the features, which I can confirm. We talked, before our meeting, about your roadmap and that you have a big list of planning. What would you describe, in short, as the vision and mission of Eventee in the near future? 

Roman Mastalir: In the near future, we aim to be the no. 1 in-person solution on the market in terms of customer satisfaction. We focus mainly on engagement during the event, we do not focus on ticketing or marketing communication after the event. Basically, we strive to be the best choice for everything that happens during the event. Better networking, better engagement with partners, etc. And once we achieve this, we plan to focus on other pain points that event managers are facing when organizing events. 🙂

Expodia: If we were to meet for coffee a year from now and talk about what Eventee has already achieved from it. What would you tell me?

Roman Mastalir: I don’t want to go into details, but there is a strong demand for some features we are currently missing, such as improvements to our networking, advanced user management and more. It would be nice to speed up our development process and be able to release those most requested features in a year.

Expodia: Wonderful. Our readers and also our exhibitors have also the chance to meet you at the innovative Digital EXPO on the 27th of July in the Prague Congress Centre. What do you expect from the event?

Roman Mastalir: I consider feedback to be the most valuable aspect of attending your event. I’m looking forward to seeing how your attendees are using the app because, for me personally, it is the most important thing – to see what are the needs of attendees and how they enjoy using the app. At the end of the day, that is the best way how to push our product forward.

Beyond that, it would be nice to meet new investors as we plan our series-A round. We are break even for the last 12 months, and it seems like a good time to skyrocket our market strategy.

Expodia: For the readers, you have the chance to meet Roman in person at the Innovative Digital EXPO, not only to share your feedback in person at the event. Roman, thank you so much for taking the time and giving some insights about Eventee. 

Roman Mastalir: Thanks to you Armin for this interview

Mr. Roman Mastalir was interviewed by Armin Khani.

You can use and meet Eventee at the Innovative Digital EXPO 2023.


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