Silvio Regis studied MSc Masters in Innovation, Creativity and Leadership (2016), known as the MICL. He’s transforming the events booking space in Brazil with Evex, and we skyped him to find out more.
Tell me about your time at Cass!
It was great to study at Cass, even better than I thought. When you look for a Masters you have an idea of how it works and what it will be like but the MICL surprised me! I also tried to get in involved in extracurricular activities like City Starters and the City Spark workshops. I tried to enjoy every moment as much as I could when I was there.
What did you do after?
I delivered my dissertation and graduated in September 2016. I spent one more month in London and then I moved back to Brazil. I actually had the idea for this before I graduated, and as a result I did my dissertation on it. The development started during my degree because I recognised the potential of the idea and invested some time developing it as well as developing partnerships whilst I was still in London.
One key partnership was with a company in India which was in charge of the software development for the platform. That all meant that I could start growing the business straight away when I landed in Brazil. Well, first I met my family and friends! Then my business partner and I just continued working on the idea.
How did you come up with Evex?
When I applied for the Masters I already had big dreams and some ideas. Then when I was new in London as an ordinary Brazilian I was looking for people to play football with. I found an app that matches you with other people who also want to play. So I asked myself, why is this sort of thing only for football, can’t it be for other things like events, and other non-sporting activities?
Then I remembered a previous experience where I had to organise a Christmas celebration in Brazil and I had trouble finding a venue and it took a really long time. Putting these two together I realised the problem I could help solve. So I decided to do the prototype as my dissertation and found there was a big potential for this concept.
What actually is Evex?
Evex is a booking platform for venues and services for events in Brazil. You can go to the platform and enter information like the date, the type of event, and the number attendants and the platform returns to you a list of good venues for your specific event. Additionally you can also find services like a photographer, videographer, sound equipment hire and production. Our aim is to reliably find you everything you need for your event easily and quickly.
What’s been the biggest challenge?
There have been many challenges, day in and day out! At the beginning the challenge was to develop the product. It was hard to find good professionals here where I live and in general the process takes lots of time. When things move slow patience is required. It took us a long time to get a good product because we were concerned with the design and functionality and wanted to test all the details before launch. We launched it one month ago and we’re very proud of the product result.
The next challenge is commercial. Initially we did a good job but there are two sides here, the suppliers of venues and services on one side and on the other side are the event organisers. It’s been challenging to connect with suppliers to bring them to the platform before we even launched, to get them to trust us. We currently have 40 great suppliers under contract with another 90 in the process of listing. Next up we have to work on how to bring event organisers to believe in us and see us as reliable partners and that Evex is a a better way to organise events. We don’t charge fees to the organisers and we’re doing marketing and commercial campaigns to make this happen.
Do you have any advice to share?
If I reflect and go back to those decisions I made related to MICL and moving to London, I’m really happy with all those decisions. If I had to choose again I would choose the same, and I feel very lucky to have done it. I’m always very excited to talk about my masters and my one year in London. My advice here is to be out of your accommodation as much as possible meeting people, going places and and experiencing the unique life moments the UK offers.
With the business I’d definitely do stuff differently now. Maybe I would make different decisions around product development to speed it up. Actually, my partner and I have a vision of doing this not just for events but for making ideas come true. Thus we are about to launch our second product related to creative experiences in Salvador and we did the prototype in only two months because we learned such a lot from the previous process.
From a business perspective I’d say to focus on designing the minimum viable product (MVP) rather than creating a lot of features, so that you can start out and test the idea. We’re doing this second product with minimal coding focussing mostly on design and functionality in the first instance.
What does the future hold?
Talking about our current goals, the plan was always to use Salvador, which is a big city in Brazil, for the initial kick off, but the end goal is to spread to other different parts of Brazil. We want to launch our second version of Evex in three or four months with the functionality that venues and service providers can list their offers through an online portal without our input. That will mean we can scale up faster and better. We are also launching an app on Apple and Android, so we’ve got a second push coming soon to start to spread over Brazil.
Hopefully I can also come back to London to meet up with Cass and keep in touch with people from the MICL. We have a WhatsApp group and it’s good to maintain those relationships. Two months ago I came back for graduation and I visited the City Launch Lab and spoke to Alex there and other people doing start-ups. It’s good to keep in touch and exchange ideas, so I want to keep doing that.
Finally, it’s the quick-fire question round!
Favourite place in London: Southbank
Favourite holiday destination: Slovenia
Must-check every day website: Nowadays Evex.co to check the best venues and services for events in Brazil. I like Endeavor too for entrepreneurship content.
Dream travel destination: Maldives
Cheese or chocolate: Can I choose both cheese and chocolate? Plus a glass of wine and good company!