Event Startups Are Getting Hot

Not sure if you’ve noticed but lately event startups are getting a lot of press attention for their outstanding results and staggering investment rounds.

There was a time where the occasional startup offering basic services such as registration would pop up without gathering too much attention or investment but that time seems to be over.

Social networks are devolving their strategic efforts to improve their events sections.

In the same fashion, investors are realizing that events are a natural extension of the online social interaction and capitals are flowing in.

But let’s have a look at how this phenomenon started and evolved over the last years.

The First Wave

When I started to pay attention to events startups back in 2006, Upcoming was the hottest place where to promote your events, Eventbrite and amiando were just starting off and the industry was dominated by Excel spreadsheets and expensive event management software.

The first wave clearly showed what were the skills needed to succeed and what products where going to achieve critical mass.

At the time, Upcoming had been recently acquired by Yahoo. The service was then left to itself with a sad announcement of an iPhone app and a redesign that lead up to silence of over a year.

Eventbrite (Disclaimer: Eventbrite is one of our sponsors) recently announced a $50M round of funding and double ticket sales for 2011.

amiando got acquired by Xing for $13.6M.

Previous bubble’s near-victim Cvent, raised $136M and revamped its service to offer suppliers networks and RFP services.

The New Wave

The new wave is made of those services that realized that events needed more than registration platforms.

I’ve been amazed to witness the growth of services like Plancast, which started off with a seed round of $800K, or Lanyrd, who recently got backed by YCombinator, one of the most influential venture funds around.

I also loved to see services like Eventasaurus raising their first round of angel investment.

Just a few days ago Eved, a venue/supplier marketplace based in Chicago, raised $9.5M.

In Conclusion

The event industry is offering unprecedented opportunities for businesses starting up.

Whether you are an investor or you have a powerful idea that will disrupt an often flat environment, there has not been a better time to get started.