In April we met Emmanuel Enwenede, Founder & CTO of an innovative new events management platform called EventsCubes and invited him to pitch onstage at Newcastle Startup Week 2018 after being impressed with his passion and enthusiasm for helping others.
Since then, he’s decided to re-develop and re-launch the platform as ‘Oowambe’ with new co-founder Meg Ellis so we caught up with them both to find out more.
1. Hi Emmanuel / Meg, can you please give us a brief overview of your business?
Oowambe is an event management and inspiration platform that allows you to be inspired by real events, book the suppliers you see and plan the whole event with our online event management tools.
We also provide an easy way for event suppliers to have a digital presence, manage team calendars and accept card payments for their services.
2. Who is your target audience and how do you help them?
Our primary market that we are focusing on is the wedding market and 22-40 year olds. We help them by providing a one-stop time-saving solution for event organisers and suppliers.
3. When was the business established, how many people are in your team & where are they based?
Originally established as EventsCubes in 2017, Emmanuel had been working on the project on his own for around a year but was looking for a co-founder when he met Meg at the newly-opened Tuspark Eagle Lab co-working space in Newcastle.
Meg had recently returned to Newcastle from London to set up her own business JETPACK and with her background in celebrity and events management she began working with Emmanuel on implementing an events marketing strategy.
It soon became clear that with Emmanuel’s technical skills and Meg’s creativity, we could create an exciting product so we began to work together as co-founders and rebranded the platform as ‘Oowambe’. We also have a fabulous part-time events co-ordinator Nicole.
4. What motivated or inspired you to start the business?
The inspiration for Oowambe came when Emmanuel planned his sister’s wedding in 2013. He realised there were issues in managing the supply chain of vendors and also planning the event collaboratively with friends and family.
Emmanuel said “After planning my sister’s wedding, I made her a wedding website as a gift which helped them share their love story and handle their guestlist online. It became evident that a combination of wedding websites and tools to handle events management collaboratively as a project, is a viable business when the wedding website I created had 2 million hits in 2 weeks!”
5. Where did you go for help or advice when you first started out?
Emmanuel: I went to the career service at Newcastle University before being directed to Rise Up Newcastle (now ‘START UP‘). I worked with Steve Bowden for about 6 months developing the concept and plan.
Meg: We have recently started to work with TEDCO who are brilliant at supporting us with business startup advice including company structure and legal advice.
6. We think the North East of England is a great place to start or grow a business. Do you agree & if so, why?
Meg: What is not to love about the North East? Before moving back to the North East I had no idea of what the business environment was like. In London it is cut throat, however I have been amazed at the amount of support in the North East. Everyone roots for each other, helps each other find business and there is such an exciting tech startup scene happening with plenty of business support and advisors. The North East’s biggest asset is its’ people. Warm, supportive and hardworking.
7. Have you had any funding or investment to date & if so, where from? (e.g. Angel Investors, VCs, Govt Grants).
We raised £4,000 from a Crowdfunder campaign in Febraury 2018 and are currently exploring other funding and investment options to help us grow the business.
8. How would you like to see the business develop over the coming months & years?
We have big plans. This is a market saturated with wedding websites. We want to do something different as we want the platform to be a source of inspiration for event managers, industry experts and for anyone organising an event. There is huge potential to grow its content, partnerships and reach in to other event markets such as sports.
9. What advice would you give to anyone thinking of starting a tech/digital business?
Do it! What do you have to lose? The enjoyment of working on your own project is so rewarding and fulfilling. You learn so much along the way, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. You will make a few!
10. What business book(s), video(s) or podcast(s) would you recommend?
Meg: I would love to say that I have time to read, but I struggle to read much as I tend to work late. However, I have recently started reading ‘The Lean Startup: How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful Businesses‘ by Eric Ries and ‘Capitalism without Capital: The Rise of the Intangible Economy‘ by Jonathan Haskel & Stian Westlake which are both excellent!