This year, approaching Cvent’s 20th anniversary, Reggie Aggarwal was named the No. 1 CEO on The SaaS Report’s list of the Top 50 CEOs of 2018. The list offers a look into the top industries in the business world and has featured CEOs from world-renowned companies including Salesforce, Slack, Workday, Marketo, HubSpot, Intuit, Shopify, and Tableau. And while this award is a testament to Cvent’s and Reggie’s success, it also puts a well-deserved spotlight on our thriving meetings and events industry.
When Cvent was founded in 1999, meetings and events, which were just as important to company success, weren’t getting the same kind of attention as other leading marketing and sales efforts. The industry was ready for a major shift, an unprecedented evolution. Events were the biggest market you never heard of, and now, the world is listening. By landing the top spot, it’s clear that meetings and events (and the technology to support them) fit right alongside those more traditional solutions that drive organizational success. As it should. In 2016 alone, our industry generated $845 billion in business sales.
The award winners were chosen based on several key criteria. The editor of The SaaS Report, J. Carlos, said, “We scour thousands of nominations for hundreds of CEOs in search of industry leaders that embody energy, intelligence, integrity, build great corporate cultures, and drive company growth.”
At Cvent, we know these are qualities that describe not only our CEO and our more than 3,500 employees, but also our amazing 25,000 customers, thousands of hotel and destination partners, and more than 300,000 global users. How? Read on to find out:
Energy: Passion plays a big part. This company started with passion. A desire to fill a critical need and solve a litany of problems facing meetings, events, and hospitality professionals.
- Our Employees: Nearly 20 years after our founding, eight of the 11 core executives are still with the company. Why? Because their passion for the industry still burns. Our 3,500 employees feel that and are fueled by what we call the Soul of Cvent - six principals that showcase our value system, and our team’s way of thinking. Principles that encourage all employees worldwide to think and act like entrepreneurs (or “intrapreneurs”) to drive the business forward – even if it means questioning our own CEO.
- Our Customers: Cventers are passionate about helping our customers grow, flourish, and take their events to new heights and our customers are just as passionate and energetic. Live events represent the intersection of face-to-face, digital, and mobile and our customers are leveraging technologies that drive deeper connections and make a lasting impact. This energy helps fuel Cvent CONNECT where 500 Cventers spend valuable time connecting face-to-face with more than 3,500 customers. It’s where our clients find “religion” for our product and our people and it’s the power of live in action.
Intelligence: The event industry is fueled by its collective brain power and it’s not for the faint of heart, but we hire the best at Cvent to support the complex needs of our customers.
- Our Employees: At Cvent, we recognize the importance of hiring top talent. A successful business starts with your people, so we’re selective. We hire only the top 1% of applicants. We hire smart people – but not in the traditional sense. We define “smart” as those who are driven by the desire to learn - from their co-workers, their leaders, but most importantly, their customers. Driven by the feedback from our customers, our team is inspired to help deliver the products that make the biggest impact.
- Our Customers: Embracing technology is one common attribute shared by leading-edge thinkers in meetings and events. What was once an industry of entry-level party planners and hotel reservation managers is now an army of event and corporate planners, marketers, and hospitality executives who are earning their place at the C-suite table. They have a deep desire to learn – and they have elevated not only the industry but their professional status in the process.
Integrity: People have to trust you. Period. This means your customers, partners, suppliers, shareholders, and your employees.
- Our Employees: During the dot-com bubble in the early 2000s, we had to lay off nearly 80% of our employees. During those tough times, our people believed deeply in our mission to become the event technology market leader and had to put their trust in the leaders at the helm. That trust is the foundation to our growth and success. Trust from your customers starts with trust from your employees. We believed in each other – we were open about communicating both the good and the bad. The discipline that we had back then as a 25-person company continues to serve us well today across our global organization. Our people are the DNA of Cvent, and they remain our greatest strength.
- Our Customers: The event industry is all about trust. It’s a business of making face-to-face connections and establishing relationships based on a handshake. And these relationships are not strengthened between the lines of a contract, but by the care and concern you show for their ultimate success. That’s why, from keeping our word on new product releases and listening to our customer’s feedback, to creating a platform constructed with data security top of mind, we’ve been able to earn the trust of our customers.
Culture: Adaptability is key. In a fast-moving, ever-evolving industry, standing still means you’ll quickly be left behind.
- Our Employees: Part of the Soul of Cvent is to be an intrapreneur and to be direct. This is their company, and we want them to act like it and make decisions that way. We encourage them to take chances – to take risks. The industry moves too quickly to fear failure. Because of this culture, we have many individual Cventers to thank for some of our biggest product and customer enhancements that we have made over the years and it’s why, 20 years later, we’re still innovating and at the top of our game.
- Our Customers: Our customers are constantly pushing us to improve, and we thrive under that pressure. Both planners and hospitality professionals demand the best systems and tools, and their feedback is key to our culture and to our products. It’s why we continue to expand our client support team of more than 1,000 employees.
Growth: Sometimes magic happens. You never know where the economy will go. There are unpredictable highs and lows, but in the past 20 years, the meetings and events industry has exploded.
- In 2016, 1.9 million meetings were held in the U.S., generating $845 billion in economic impact (Events Industry Council). That growth in the industry helped Cvent survive near-bankruptcy in the early days and expand since at an incredible rate. Now, with offices in 16 cities on 4 continents, our rate of expansion isn’t slowing down (we’re adding 1,000 team members this year alone) — it can’t if we plan to keep up with the needs of our customers. Their momentum is our momentum. And we’ll keep up — that’s our promise.
Reggie’s award represents more than one person’s individual achievements. It represents more than one company’s growth and success. It’s a reflection of a thriving industry and inquisitive, thoughtful customers who are the very best at what they do. It’s the result of nearly 20 years of hard work and dedication to our customers and their growth. We don’t do what we do alone. We’re all in this together. We once had to beg for attention, had to shout it from the rooftops. But now, the event industry has arrived – and the industry is playing in the big leagues. We look forward to the amazing heights face-to-face meetings and events will reach in the years to come.