As the event technology renaissance continues, numerous companies are reshaping the event industry whether it's through apps or AI. Here we look at six event startups to keep an eye on as we move forward into 2018.
Guest post by Katie Sawyer of Eventbrite
Event technology is going through a renaissance. From event apps to artificial intelligence and virtual reality, there are countless companies shaping the future of the industry.
So how do you recognize the event startups that will become big players? You look to lists like Crunchbase and AngelList, publications like TechCrunch and VentureBeat, and you listen to the word on the (digital) street.
Here are the top six event startups you should keep an eye on next year.
Event startup to watch #1: Concierge EventBot by Sciensio
Buzzwords: AI, chatbot
Out of Salt Lake City’s quietly booming Silicon Slopes comes Sciensio, a startup founded just last year. Sciensio’s Concierge EventBot won the SISO.org Best New Technology award for 2017.
The Concierge EventBot uses artificial intelligence and text-messaging technology to provide on-demand information to event attendees. Users can SMS text the bot for information — anything from basic FAQ answers to scheduling details.
With a lean 3-person team, the innovators at Sciensio are still at the very beginning stages of startup mode. But industry experts are expecting big things.
Event startup to watch #2: ToneDen
Buzzwords: automation, digital ads
ToneDen’s technology helps automate social marketing for events, artists, and brands. Los Angeles-based ToneDen is tiny, but founders have managed to raise 1M dollars in seed capital so far.
With 93% of marketers using Facebook to advertise on a regular basis, it’s a competitive platform. ToneDen’s app capitalizes on data from social platforms Facebook and Instagram to hone in on targeted audiences and give event marketers an ad advantage.
This event startup also makes it easy to convert ticket-buyers online with tools to automate the process of creating ads.
Tip: ToneDen is an Eventbrite Spectrum partner, so if you’re an existing Eventbrite organizer, it’s very easy to install the app and get started making your ads work for you.
Event startup to watch #3: Kindful
Tennessee-based Kindful is a cloud-based donor management and fundraising solution for event organizers. Established in 2011, the company acquired Populr in 2015 and has been steadily growing since. Kindful currently has a healthy dose of Series-A funding (over $3M).
Kindful enables nonprofits and fundraisers to use one hub for all their reporting and analytics. Users can get go from the big picture of their fundraising efforts down to the minutiae, and access the dashboard in real time on mobile.
This event startup’s potency as a technology is amplified by its integrations with many leading online tools like MailChimp, PayPal, and (ahem) Eventbrite.
Event startup to watch #4: Animoto
By the end of this year, video content will represent 74% of all internet traffic. Animoto makes it easy for anyone to create pro-quality video on a computer or mobile device. For event creators, this is a powerful way to create enhanced digital marketing for less expense.
Animoto is a Series-C late-stage venture firm in NYC with a team of under 100 employees — at the moment. The company has received attention from many tech publications recently. Last year, Venture Beat noted that: “While it has largely flown under people’s radars, this 10-year-old company is already cash-flow positive and has amassed more than 17 million registered users, with 100 million videos created.”
Animoto’s commitment to democratizing quality video makes it a company to watch (and use) for event creators.
Event startup to watch #5: Umbel
Austin-based Umbel is an early stage venture with a whopping 32+M in funding for its data management platform. Last year, Umbel acquired Lodestone Media, and the company is growing fast.
Marketing to brands in the sports and entertainment industries, Umbel’s tool is geared toward helping event creators better understand and grow their fan bases. Umbel aggregates attendee data from multiple sources, removing duplicate information. An easy-to-use dashboard enables you to segment attendees by demographics such as household income and purchase behavior.
Tip: You can connect your Eventbrite account to Umbel to create profiles of people who’ve bought tickets to your events on the platform. Umbel will then acquire more third-party data on those users.
Event startup to watch #6: uSens
Buzzwords: virtual reality, augmented reality, robotics
Founded in 2013, uSense has gotten a lot of buzz in just a few short years. This virtual and augmented reality company made a big splash at CES 2017. (That’s a major industry conference showcasing the latest in technology devices.) And the team just raised $20M in Series A funding for their SuperReality approach.
As an event creator, why should you care? Because uSens is one of the first companies to combine augmented and virtual reality technology. Their “Fingo” product is a hand-tracking device has sensors that help users interact with objects in a virtual world and still have a tactile experience.
According to The Artillry, a new publication covering this emerging tech, “There will be a half-billion AR-compatible smartphones by the end of 2017 and 4.2 billion by 2020.”
While these startups help build the future of event technology, don’t let your current event tech stack fall behind. Learn how to upgrade your technology in How to Use Event Automation to Scale Your Business.