When you go to events, conferences and trade shows and it works out well in terms of driving tons of leads and opportunities, it is a good experience. However, when the events don’t work out so well, that can be risky in terms of wasting time and money.
Two former Shutterstock execs, Alex Reynolds and Stefan Deeran, were working together monetizing APIs and computer vision, and having attended some of those bad events, thought there could be a better way to make decisions on what events should be at the top of the list and which company team members should go to maximize return on investment.
“We determined that event marketing is kind of this massive team-wide sport,” Reynolds told TechCrunch. “It involves executives, the sales team, all the different marketing teams, operations and procurement, but there’s no platform or system of record to help with that collaboration, accountability and visibility.”
As a result, he says it’s really difficult for companies to answer basic questions; for example, at which of the more than 30,000 trade shows that happen every year should that company have a presence, and how much revenue did it generate from that event in the past. With the help of Shutterstock’s events and marketing teams, Reynolds and Deeran figured out ways to create processes internally and saw ROI from the channel go up dramatically.
That’s when they decided to examine if that approach would work well for other businesses. They started building Vendulux at the end of 2021, and already have over a dozen customers, including ActiveCampaign, Gainsight and Gorgias, accessing its proprietary database of more than 30,000 in-person and virtual events, including speakers, sponsors and attendee-level data.
Vendelux pulls data from publicly available sources, and is able to show which sponsors and speakers will be at a certain event. Users can also upload information from their CRMs — even LinkedIn contacts — and be able to see every time a company is going to be at an event in the future or if someone from their network is speaking at an event.
The company, which made its public launch this month, is experiencing double-digit month over month revenue growth. Today it announced $2.4 million in seed funding, led by Tenacity Venture Capital, with participation from Earl Grey and strategic angel investors including Shafqat Islam and Avi Muchnik.
The new funding will largely go toward product development and team expansion. Prior to closing the round, the founders were bootstrapping the company. However, Reynolds said it got to the point they were balancing customer calls with building features.
“It felt like the right time to kind of pour gasoline on the fire a little bit and build out the team,” he added. “On the product side, there’s a lot that we want to add, certainly from the integration perspective.”
Meanwhile, Reynolds and Deeran are approaching the company’s growth in three phases: exploration, execution and evaluation. Currently the company is focused on exploration of the event intelligence area, and now with the seed round, it will move into execution.
Once a company knows where to go and who to send, one of the next steps the founders are looking into is ensuring there are enough meetings booked in advance, being able to capture the data that is happening and seeing, in real time, how reps are performing and to measure ROI.
“We think of event marketers as kind of the unsung heroes of these marketing teams who are putting together these massive plans and getting all these people in the right place, but don’t have platforms to help them drive that accountability and visibility,” Reynolds added. “We want to be that system of record and essentially help companies make more data-driven decisions around where they should be going and what it means from a value perspective.”