See Talia Mashiach turn a simple idea into a thriving business

Entrepreneurship arises from the strangest of places.

For Talia Mashiach, founder and CEO of Eved, her winding path began shortly after she accompanied her musician husband to a meeting at a hotel where he hoped to generate more referrals for his band.

“I come from a technology background,” she says. “But I love thinking about business models. I had done some back-end technology work for his band’s website, and he figured I could help with some ideas that would lead to more business.”

The meeting didn’t go as planned.

“I went with him, and the hotel executive said, ‘Well, we don’t just want to confirm bands. Our people waste so much time manually handling logistics and dealing with these multiple suppliers, can you handle everything for us?’” Mashiach says.

Mashiach didn’t know anything about that business, but she did understand how to deploy technology-based solutions.

“When I looked at it, I really saw a supply chain play, which has been done similarly in other avenues but just not in the events side,” she says. “I couldn’t get over how manual everything was, and how many logistics and how many times things needed to change. So we came up with this idea.”

Smart Business sat down with Mashiach, who was named to the 2009 class of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneurial Winning Women, and talked about the roots of innovation for her 50-plus employee organization.

Q: What were the early applications you developed at Eved?

I saw a big opportunity in the long run but knew we needed to start with being able to come up with a model in which we would put people in-house in the hotel. We would create technology that managed the supply chain and assets, between us and what we call the whole sales squires, the actual people who have the products — the band leaders, the florists.

The hotels had become channel partners, so when their clients came to the hotel and were looking for something, they’d say, ‘OK, anything you need outside of rooms and food or beverage you go to Eved for.’

I put a plan together to really scale this company by creating an international platform that would bring all the members of the event supply chain online to be able to communicate through an online marketplace.

Q: What do you offer in products and services for your clients?

Primarily, Eved is a meeting and event marketplace that allows supply chain members to communicate and trim back (on expenses) with one another. There’s about $150 billion spent on offline communications and transactions in the U.S. market alone. A lot goes on in the middle — from ground transportation management to restaurant reservations — and that’s really what our software platform is about.

Q: What is an example of a business challenge that your organization faced and the solution you used?

What most people don’t realize is when you bring out this hybrid technology, you are trying to change behavior. … You have to understand and create business processes, as well as the technology support for those business processes. It’s not so much training — how to click, where to click and what to do within the software. … It’s about reaching out, personally, and working with them on how to use our software to better change their business practices and grow their companies.

Q: What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned and how do you apply that to how you run the company?

The greatest lesson I’ve probably learned is from a mentor who taught me that everything in life, but especially in business, is relationships with other people. Whether it’s managing people, whether its sales, whether its clients, it’s taking the time to understand who those people are, what makes them tick and what’s important to them.

Q: What are your plans in terms of growth?

We’ll continue to figure out the best ways to create experiences for clients and (how to) use the technology to best service them. As a technology platform, we see tremendous growth opportunity. There’s so much out there. … People don’t realize that when somebody does a conference, (they) are touching so many different businesses, so we have to bring them all onto the platform.

And then there’s a lot of growth internationally. While we have international members already, they have to serve the U.S.-based companies. We haven’t even scratched the surface of the opportunities there.

How to reach: Eved LLC,