Through the keyhole: eola one year on

by Daniel Steele

Hundreds of phone calls, two tech events, a tonne of embarrassing attempts at sports, one award and 14,600 lines of code later

What’s up everyone, I’m Alex, a recent intern joiner at eola who’s helping out on the growth side, and I wanted to get an idea of the history of eola. One year ago, the founders of eola had the vision of making the world of adventure sports far more accessible. A lot has happened in this relatively short amount of time (as you can imagine!). I’ve managed to pull founders Callum and Dan aside from their busy schedules to reflect on eola’s exciting first year.

Good morning guys, starting from the beginning, what was it that caused you to start eola and tackle the outdoor industry?

Callum promised he wasn't posing!

Answer (Callum CEO): Morning Alex, the simple answer is, frustration. Over my life I have tried loads of adventure sports…and while I love them all, they were generally a real challenge to book… After leaving my last start-up, I was looking forward for inspiration and where to go next. One of my friends mentioned something similar about their experiences, and from there the first ideas for eola started to take form. Over the summer I spent a lot of time researching adventure sports and booking facilities, and it quickly became clear that something needed to be done. From there, eola was born.

That’s awesome! Sounds like a fun and busy summer. What was your vision for eola?

Dan buzzing at standing up for the first time!

Answer (Dan CTO): I’ll take this one! Our vision was and still is to make it so that an instructor at an activity centre will be able to rock up in the morning and just need to do one thing – check eola. eola will tell them exactly who’s coming, when they’re coming and if they need to perform any manual actions. I want to automate as much as possible and give them all the info they need so that they can spend more time outside enjoying their sport and less time indoors bookkeeping.

eola homepage now
Look how beautiful our homepage is!

I know I’d prefer to be outside surfing or horse riding than being inside! So since last summer, what major changes has eola experienced?

Answer (Callum CEO): Originally, we were planning to just build a straight marketplace, aggregating activity centres and looking to drive more traffic to them. However, when we started talking to the centres, we realised the majority of them didn’t have the ability to take online bookings, and if they did, many were struggling with outdated legacy software. We discovered that to bring the centres together, first we would need to provide the foundation; a modern booking platform which would allow them to easily manage their activities and tours online, while enabling multi-channel bookings.

That must have been quite a challenge to implement, and so what have you learned from your experience in the last year?

Answer (Callum CEO): Where to begin! It has been such an incredible journey working on eola for the last year. Every day we are talking to fantastic people, and learning new things, and it is a wonderful place to be...In a start-up, there are always a million things that need to be done, so you must be ruthlessly efficient with your time and ensure that all of you are aligned and moving together. The eola team has been truly incredible, and it feels like the way everyone is working together, no obstacle is too great.

Digital DNA
eola at Digital DNA 2018

I’m sure that there are big plans that you are working towards together, but what has been the highlight of eola’s first year for you Dan?

Answer (Dan CTO): There have been so many Alex, but for me it was the first day we took bookings. We didn’t just take one, we took 5! It was late eve and we were in the pub (naturally) so we pulled out our laptops in the crowded bar area, and sat grinning while watching our internal eola bot message us as the bookings flowed in.

Well, thank you very much for sparing a couple of precious minutes with me and I’m sure that there are plenty of big and exciting things in the future for eola. I certainly am looking forward to working here and I’m really excited to see where we go!

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