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5 Startup Ideas to Help the Event Industry

By Julius Solaris

Here are 5 startup ideas for those who want to start up a technology business solving problems for the event industry.

Ideas event startups

Whenever I present at technology events I am always asked what is the next big thing.

I don't like that.

I don't believe in buzzwords or fashion when it gets to tech. I am a fan of innovation and lateral thinking.

A successful entrepreneur is able to pull things together and provide a solution to real problems. The thing is that I see many problems not addressed. And that is a shame.

Several entrepreneurs or techies address the usual problems all over again. They do not look at ways to solve new issues organisers face.

This is why I decided to give away 5 ideas for those who are thinking about a product or service for the event industry.

If these startup ideas will become successful is not for me to say. I am pointing out problems that need solutions. Dear start-upper, how you solve these problems, what technology will you use or whether you will be profitable it's up to you.

In some cases I may have missed companies who already provide such services. This is entirely possible as my reach and search capabilities are limited. If so let me know and I will amend the article.

Startup Ideas

1. Speakers Crowdsourcing Platform

In my presentation 10 Event Trends for 2013, I pointed out crowdsourcing speakers as a trend for the year.

I've presented those slides around the world over the past year and I asked my audience at each event to vote for their favourite trend. This was consistently the most voted around the world.

There is no dedicated platform to crowdsource speakers. Yes you could adapt existing technology, but this is not what I am saying here.

Event professionals want such platform. They want a system where registered attendees could vote for speakers. Something similar in features to SXSW panel picker.

I can't believe there is no specific service offering a solution to this growing problem.

2. Collaborative Planning

There is much talking about involving attendees in the planning of the event. While the idea above is a good example of involving attendees, there are few providers offering tools to share bits and pieces of the planning process.

While I've witnessed several apps on Facebook to pick dates and share budgets, these solutions are usually targeted to informal parties.

I want a suite of tools that can help me to involve attendees in making decisions in regards to planning the event. This can be polling, but also voting, venue scoping, ticket price setting, sponsor sourcing and project management.

If there is a complete solution in this sense, point me to it!

3. VIP Check in

Whenever an influential person on social media checks in at my event, either via means of traditional desk registration or via social networks (i.e. Foursquare), I need to know.

It's been a couple of years now I've talked about the strategic importance of new VIPs. If you ignore what I am talking about this article is a good starting point.

I want to know if this new breed of influencers has checked into my event. I want my staff to know if a socially important guest has checked in. That can alter my registration process, that can trigger a message to my social media team to engage with them online.

4. Social Media Monitoring for Events

I want a social media monitoring tool specifically designed for events. I don't want a Twitter tool. I don't want a Facebook tool. I want everything. I want it to be realtime.

I want direct engagements tools within it a la Hootsuite (workflow and bulk scheduling). I want the idea above to be embedded in it.

This is by no means new, but most implementations are geared towards marketing. The tool I have in mind is a customer service tool that event social media managers would use. It is a tool to provide a service, not to sell products.

The hospitality industry is based on providing unique service experiences. I want a tool that helps me delivering a unique experience via online customer service.

5. Your Problem

Now that I have the attention of techies, I want you, dear event pro, to tell them what is the problem you haven't found a tech solution to.

Use the comment section to express your frustration in finding a tool that solves your challenge.

In some cases you will be helped by others if the service exists. In other cases you will give someone a good base to start up in the event tech industry.

So speak up your mind!

about the author

Julius Solaris
Julius Solaris is the editor of EventManagerBlog.com, he is an international speaker, author and consultant.
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  • Well, what I was thinking is something about how to take advantage of the LIVE events online. I think people would more appreciate live streaming of events with a chat beside ala UStream or JustinTV exclusive for events.

  • James Wight

    Nice post, and these are only 5 ideas, so many more of course! Re: point 3 Web Summit allows you to find friends and see VIPs and friends who are attending through a Facebook plugin, but this would be far more powerful if it scraped data from all the social channels, eg. Google+, Twitter etc. as well – I’m also surprised a decent crowdfunding/crowdsourcing events related platform isn’t live and kicking yet either… not just speakers, but venue, pricing etc. This is what can truly disrupt quite an archaic, legacy driven industry.

  • Seth Adinkra

    An interesting post you have there Julius. Its hight time techys within this industry build solutions that solves the actual problems many event organizers face which includes these 5 areas. I’m more interested in the Collaborative Planning idea: Imagining a single platform where i can delegate parts of an event planning process for others to be involved. This will really be cool. Also thinking of it being more on the mobile side….

  • Dominic Johnson

    We (Miramedia) delivered item 1 for UBM (then Miller Freeman) about 8 years ago. It was for an eBusiness forum and it worked fantastically well.

    I think it must have been before it’s time and I’d be happy to dust it off again if a client is willing to sponsor it.

    It collected delegates using a vague conference programme. It asked the question “out of these options, what do you want to see when and by which company”.

    The delegate information collected in the back-office. The Event Organiser then designed the programme and slotted the delegates into the sessions.

    The conversion rate (it was a free to attend event) was excellent – mainly due to the amount of buy-in the delegate had. Each session was in a specifically sized room and therefore well attended.

  • Frank Schnur Jr

    I’d like to see a strong tool for measuring the ROI of an meeting or event. Something that evaluates if the meeting reached its objectives in the short-term and the medium term.

    On the bright side, I’m glad to see solutions for ground transportation like Pow Wow Smart starting to take hold in the market.