As the COVID-19 pandemic becomes more manageable and life returns to normal, families have made plans to reunite with loved ones near and far. Family and friends are now using the Evite invitation app and website to make arrangements for real in-person gatherings and reunions.
“One of our users, a grandmother who hadn’t seen her grandkids in a long time, got together with them around one of the kid’s graduation,” said Victor Cho, CEO of Evite, the leader in online event planning. “It was such a poignant, tears-of-joy-filled moment. To think that Evite was the tool they used to set it up for when the grandmother could get out of lockdown and connect with her grandkids warms my heart.”
Evite is used to this kind of thing. Evite has been making celebrating face-to-face easier and more memorable for their 100+ million annual users and guests since 1998. As the world’s leading digital invitation platform focused on bringing people together, they offer thousands of free and premium customizable invitations that can be sent by email or text message. In their lifetime, Evite has sent nearly 3 billion invitations.
After changing from an ad-based model to an e-commerce and direct-to-consumer (DTC) focus, Evite saw their business picking up in early 2020. Buoyed by early results, Evite planned for additional cloud capacity and entered into an agreement to build out their channels. Then the pandemic started. Many companies lost internet traffic as business activity slowed. Event and travel-related companies were acutely impacted. Evite saw their traffic decrease to one-fifth of what it had been before the pandemic. Party invitations and demand for their other online event-planning services waned.
To get over this speed bump, Evite needed to reduce their spending and wait out the pandemic. However, they had additional capacity and needed a way to deal with the costs and scale back the infrastructure they couldn’t use at the moment.
Additionally, Evite had to make reductions in force–like many companies–during the pandemic. They also needed to decrease the number of productivity app licenses to align with their workforce.
Working with Google Cloud and SADA, Evite was able to scale back their infrastructure. With a Google Cloud Platform (GCP) infrastructure consisting of Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), Cloud Datastore, Pub/Sub, and other solutions, Evite went from processing 60 GB of data per day to 12 GB. Google Cloud and SADA were able to accommodate Evite’s scaling down by being flexible with the company’s commitment.
“SADA came to us at the start of the pandemic and asked, ‘What’s happening with your business and how can we help?’ I had never heard that before from a technology company. They really wanted to understand what we were going through. That’s the mark of a great vendor.”Victor Cho | CEO of Evite
In addition to Google Cloud and SADA’s flexible arrangements, Evite found other ways to save. SADA showed Evite how to use GCP tools to optimize resource consumption. The Technical Account Management team at SADA also provided information for saving on infrastructure over the medium term. This enabled Evite to scale infrastructure up and down with end-user demand.
For productivity apps, Evite was also able to take advantage of the scalable nature of Google Workspace, which offered flexibility as the size of the team changed. “Google Workspace’s cost structure scaled down as we reduced our usage,” said Cho. “Now as we’re aggressively adding headcount, the flexibility of Google Workspace to adjust upward in real-time is incredibly valuable.”
As a result of their work with Google Cloud and SADA, Evite has come out of the pandemic stronger than before. Thanks to the flexibility of Google Cloud and SADA, Evite was able to reinvest in the business. With products such as unlimited virtual parties, e-gift cards, party planning services, and their traditional invitations, Evite has experienced triple-digit year-over-year (YoY) growth. The company has now become profitable with 80%+ of its revenue coming from e-commerce and DTC services hosted on GCP.
“We enhanced the customer experience by embedding virtual parties,” said Cho. “Sentiment products such as video greeting cards also had great uptake during the pandemic. Since you can’t go to a birthday party in person, at least you can send a video card. These are just some of the key categories and product lines that are growing 100% or more year over year. This was made possible by the combination of the scalability of Google Cloud and the flexibility of our agreement with SADA. It aligned our cost structure with the level of business activity.”
Additionally, Evite’s development team has come to rely on SADA for their consulting on GCP configurations. “We’ve had multiple instances where we needed to evaluate some GCP settings to reduce costs or consume less processing resources,” said Cho. “SADA has been a great vendor for help on those occasions.”
Looking to the future, Evite also sees that Google Workspace figures in their plans for growth.
“As a former Microsoft employee, I am pleased to see how much functionality Google Workspace supports. Our day-to-day workflow happens on Google Workspace. Google Drive is where all of our core documents sit, and Google Meet is our standard video conferencing system. I can run 95% of my business on these cloud-based productivity apps. I’m one CEO who has become a Microsoft Office-to-Google Workspace convert.”Victor Cho | CEO of Evite