Coeo's hybrid solution has been a success during Corona times

The business idea was sprung from climate anxiety, a lot of experience of distance meetings and over twenty years of digital business development. In 2019, Anders Gunnarsson founded the company Coeo - a hybrid solution which blends together physical and digital meetings. Enter Corona pandemic and he is now the CEO who has done the unusual and removed his phone number from the company website.

- The industry is tossed upside down, we have not been able to take care of all the clients calling us, says Anders.

On this particular day, Anders and his team just livestreamed a conference about social innovation from Väven in Umeå, Sweden. The topic could not be more fitting. Anders' innovation to offer a completely different experience than the traditional meeting platforms that are offered by the big web companies, got to a flying start. During the first year he has gone from being a sole proprietorship to hiring four co-workers and will soon be hiring the fifth.

Coeo is Latin for "to meet" and the physical meetings came to a halt with the breakout of the pandemic. By then, Anders already had Coeo up and running.

- We got a boost when the conditions for meeting changed overnight. At the same time, we notice an increased competition in areas where we felt that we were early on the market, but now more have noticed that there is a need, Anders says.

Enhance the experience

Coeo is a web-based platform which streams high quality sound and picture. Anders wants to enhance the actual experience outside the livestream and take advantage of the Conference in a different way for the participant and organizer. With Coeo, the participants and speakers can interact in a password protected web service.

- When the livestream ends, it doesn't have to be the end. How can we engage the participants further and build on their knowledge? By offering all the material and then some. When you go to a Conference, four rooms can be active at the same time, but you can only be present in one of them. But by digitalizing everything the whole package will be available afterwards and if you easily can go through the streaming, even if the whole programme is eight hours, we notice that people want to participate. We often see how people register afterwards or come back and continue to watch and discuss, says Anders.

Very rapid development

Anders has worked with digital development since 1997 and the IT boom in Stockholm and has since than gotten a lot of experience from different start-ups as well as twelve years of distance work from Umeå towards multiple customers. 

- I have a general habit of thinking of different tools for distance work and have always searched for new ways to collaborate with people, he says.

Several of Anders' friends were diligent Travelers and participants at conferences around the world, even though they might not have wanted to due to the climate impact their participation contributed to.

- It is usually researchers who has a demand to go to conferences, it could even be in their contract to go to North America to meet with other researchers. These thoughts about creating better digital solutions came to me through the climate issue and then when Corona hit, we got a boost, Anders says.

Have you had any leaps in technology development this year since Coeo started?

- Absolutely, it has been a rapid technology development where we, together with many others, are breaking new ground. Even the clients are doing this for the first time, so there are many needs to be met.

Coeo also offers to find new ways for a business model where the organizer can make a profit from the digital event.

Who are your customers?

- It is pretty mixed, everything from science conferences to tech, to a hip-hop dance contest which was really fun and different. We had a lot of participants, whole school classes that were sitting in different cities and watching the competition together. In Luleå there were forty people watching the livestream on a cinema screen. In those situations it is good to be able to stream in high quality and offer a nice experience.

Need to employ more

He describes himself as a founder, CEO, developer, web designer, administrator and receptionist. The only problem is that the day has too few hours.

- For me the main focus is development right now. I don't, unfortunately, have time to answer the phone and I have removed my phone number from our website. We need to come a bit further with the Product before we can go international and scale up. We are working on this by employing more people, Anders says.

He believes that our newfound digital need will remain even after the pandemic. The demand is there, and he thinks there will be a lot of experimenting, and you need to keep up.

- Revenue has increased from zero to "break even" with the assignments this autumn. It feels great to have reached that point with such a Young company. We are looking to bring in some money to accelerate. So far, we have not had to bring anything in, it has all been done with our own resources. But the demand is so big that we are talking to a group of investors to be able to be on board when the train takes off. We strongly believe in our product and also in the opportunity to go for it, he says.

Read more about Coeo here!


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