When Attend.com, formerly Attendware, received $1 million from .406 ventures last June, the event tracking and sign-in software startup was all of two people sitting at Starbucks trying to grow a business. Eleven months later, and the company has grown to 21 employees, now taking over nearly the entire 11th floor of Fenway’s Landmark Center.
“It has been quite a whirlwind,” acknowledged Attend.com Co-founder and CEO Greg Skloot. “The product has scaled dramatically.”
The now 23-year-old started the company after graduating from Northeastern, where he previously served as president of the university’s Entrepreneurs Club. Every meeting, new students would pour in, and keeping track of the growing attendee list became near impossible. As any good entrepreneur knows, however, what one calls a problem is actually opportunity.
Skloot partnered with fellow Northeastern graduate Drew D’Agostino to create what Skloot calls “an event planner’s best friend.” Or rather, “the HubSpot for events,” an ultra-simple all-in-one software tool.
Through Attend.com, users can plan, produce and improve their events. The software allows for customers to set up online registration, send email invitations, print name tags at the event, as well as receive text messages when VIP guests arrive. When the event is over, users can review Attend.com’s trademarked “Event Success Metrics.”
Skloot said the team has started shifting their focus and zeroing in on data. “Attend is around unlocking some of that historically hidden data around the ROI of an event,” he explained, sharing a few examples. “What time during the check-in process of an event do the most people check-in so I can properly staff that?”
Questions like that are what fuels the Event Success Metrics, which put a spotlight on the events that drew the highest attendance and revenue, as well as help users dive deeper into attendee demographics.
“You just have to go out and try.”
For added convenience, Attend.com has also gone mobile. The startup recently revealed a free, upgraded iPad and iPhone app that let coordinators easily manage the registration process during an event from their mobile device. Through the app, users can access real-time event statistics to see who’s coming, who’s already there and how the room breaks down, whether by company name or table number.
Northeastern, United Way and TUGG are among many that have started using Attend.com. To continue getting customers on board, Skloot said they realized earlier in the year they needed to “seniorize” the team.
“You don’t know what you don’t know,” explained Skloot, referring to their decision to bring more seasoned entrepreneurs on board. John Donnelly, Attend.com’s current chief revenue officer, joined the team with more than 20 years of experience, which includes time spent at a company acquired by Cisco and another acquired by Nokia. Jim McDonough helped lead Mashery to a successful acquisition by Intel before joining Attend.com as the VP of Sales.
But, how does one, at age 23, even attract that kind of talent to his or her company?
“You just have to go out and try,” Skloot said, claiming he and D’Agostino focused first on building a minimum viable product, creating whatever they could with very little resources. “Don’t think you need a big budget or years of crazy results, you need just enough traction to push [the company] over the edge.”
After seeing Attend.com’s quick success, it’s clear Skloot is on to something.
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