To celebrate Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (30 November), we’ve profiled Lauren Hall, CEO and Co-Founder of iVvy. Lauren is a passionate technology entrepreneur and has created a software platform and online Events Management marketplace to solve the sourcing, scheduling and promotion dilemmas of events management teams globally. Lauren has built an Australian company with her sights firmly fixed on world domination and has received recognition internationally.
Lauren Hall’s Gongs
Lauren was selected as one of five Australians chosen to participate in EY’s Entrepreneurial Winning Women Asia Pacific program 2016. She is the 2016 Gold Coast Business Woman of the Year and a 2016 Telstra Business Women’s Award Queensland finalist. Recently, iVvy won an iAward, Australia’s leading awards program for innovation in the digital economy, and three international Silver Stevie Awards at the New York Women in Business awards.
Tell us about walking away from your project in South Africa and starting over in Australia.
I originally built my minimum viable product (MVP) in South Africa, the live procurement platform for Meetings and Events. For two years, I invested everything I owned into it. When I commercialised the solution, demand exceeded the capability of the platform. I had to re-engineer for a larger scale, but I needed more funding. I applied to the South African Government for support and was awarded the funds. However, two days after being notified, my family secured entry visas to Australia after 5 years of applying! I had to make a decision. So I walked into Australia, with no job, no money, and no network with my husband and two young boys, ready to start again.
Tough situations are ones in which you grow the most. I have had many. Resilience, tenacity and perseverance are DNA building blocks of entrepreneurs. I have a will to never give up because I believe in my purpose, my dream and my team .
How did you start iVvy?
I started iVvy because whilst organising events, I identified a real problem in the industry. It took almost six weeks to source and secure suppliers when organising an event. This was due to the lack of real-time availability of products and pricing of function space, group accommodation, entertainers, speakers, caterers and audio visual companies. I created a platform where suppliers publish live availability and pricing into our marketplace, direct to Events Organisers. Providing customers instant access to this information reduced time to organise an event from six weeks to six minutes, driving profitability and efficiency. iVvy’s goal is to digitise the entire events ecosystem globally.
What do you love about what you do?
I have the ability to affect global change to bring together a highly fragmented and disparate industry . This drives my desire to pioneer game changing technology that can help millions of people. I work with the most talented and incredible team of people. I also have the privilege of inspiring, motivating and paving the way for women aspiring to lead a tech company into global markets.
What has been the most significant step in your journey?
Finding my Co-Founder James Greig. James’ incredible skills, business acumen and detail in process delivery has shaped our products and positioned our business to be a global leader. Additionally, finding our first significant female Investor Renata Cooper, who has provided us the most incredible support over the last 3 years.
Is there any advice you would like to share about running an international business?
Understand your market and make sure you are solving a pain point. That will truly allow you to commercialise your solution. Do your homework on each market, target customers, and ensure you have a sustainable financial model. Understand what your cost of acquisition is, plot your go to market strategy and hire the right people.
What advice do you have for future female leaders?
The most important thing for women is to believe in themselves. Have courage to take the leap of faith as you are truly capable, confident and can deliver with the right capital, community support and connections. Find a mentor in your field that has done it, and learn from their experiences so you can be the best in your game. Get the right people on your team that help you fly: advisors, board members and investors.
Never ever give up, regardless how hard the journey may seem!
What are your top five brands to buy?
I love Louis Vuitton, Camilla, Carla Zampatti, Porsche and Jimmy Choo.
We’re pleased to report that Louis Vuitton, Camilla and Carla Zampatti are all Femeconomy approved brands, meeting our criteria of 30% of women on the Board of Directors or 50% female owned.
To celebrate Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, share Lauren Hall’s story. #ChooseWOMEN.
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