// case study 003
Using software to solve events at every level: creating, organising and enjoying.
Ruby on Rails
What started out as a cashless events solution, today Howler is in a class of its own: an end-to-end events technology platform that brings together event organisers, vendors and customers for super-organised, super-enjoyable events and experiences.
What is the most annoying thing about events? Arguably, it’s finding out there are no ATMs nearby or standing in long queues as food and drink vendors struggle to find small change. Together with Platform45, Howler has changed this, and more.
Today Howler is most well-known as an RFID cashless event solution and one of South Africa’s success stories in the fintech space. It’s an end-to-end events management app that makes life easier for event organisers, their vendors, and event-goers. It was also the first in South Africa to allow event-goers to top-up cash on the go. But that’s not how Howler began.
Like all great origin stories, Howler began with a dream: to become an “event discovery” portal where people could sign up and be served a stream of upcoming events tailored to their likes and interests. It would be a community of like-minded party-goers and festival-lovers and conference regulars. Which is a noble end-game... but where to kick-off?
That’s where Platform45 came in. Based in the same building as Howler, what started as a relationship of convenience has become a case study that demonstrates the power of collaboration.
In late 2016, the Platform45 team began work on Howler. It started out as a rebuild of an existing web application, and the goal was to have it up and running in time for the 2016 Rage Festival, a massive student event that takes place along the beach fronts of South Africa’s east coast at the end of each school year.
Designers, developers and product owners from both parties got around a table and mapped out the web application’s features, how they would be rolled out and when.
Safety is a big concern for parents of students who attend Rage, and as the festival’s cashless partner, Howler issued each Rager with a wristband that acted as a virtual wallet and contained emergency contact details. Howler went live just in time, selling thousands of tickets in a matter of hours with zero hiccups.
"One of the coolest things we’ve done is automate the settlement process. Customers get their wristbands and vendors get a device that tracks sales. After the event, within 72 hours we’ve settled with both the customers and the vendors - something that usually takes a week or two with event organisers or event management apps. This makes vendors especially happy, because they’re cash businesses, and often have to pay upfront for an event and wait weeks for their payout. With Howler, it’s down to three days."
Howler has evolved to become an end-to-end events technology platform and the only 360-degree event solution in Africa:
Easy for organisers to market their event, sell tickets, issue wristbands, pay vendors.
Easy for vendors to load menus and prices, swipe cashless cards, access their earnings.
Easy for customers to buy tickets, load cashless cards, top-up, get refunds.
As features were added and the scope of the project grew, Howler hired their own developers who became part of the team, working alongside the Platform45 developers and working from our offices. Recently, Howler also added a Quality Assurance member to their team.'
"Howler is great because it’s pure collaboration. Both teams understand the problems, and our client trusts us to have their product’s best interests at heart. We glean daily insights from constant feedback."
// case study 006
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