Bizzabo co-founders Alon Alroy (L), Eran Ben-Shushan (C) and Boaz Katz (R).
(photo credit: BIZZABO)
Budding entrepreneurs, eager to establish their own start-ups, often set their sights on penetrating multi-billion dollar industries. Capturing just a single percent of the market is all that is necessary to make a small fortune.
The global business events industry, in particular, is valued in excess of $1 trillion, bringing together more than 1.4 billion participants annually, according to an October 2018 article published by The Events Industry Council and Oxford Economics.
Yet despite the colossal sums invested by corporate marketing teams in organizing conferences, with average chief marketing officers allocating 24% of their annual budget to live events, their ability to measure their impact is limited.
Unlike the precise data offered by digital marketing and online sales, companies have struggled to gain insights into the benefits of networking and corporate exposure at conferences.
Identifying the need in the market, Boaz Katz, Alon Alroy and Eran Ben-Shushan co-founded Tel Aviv-based event technology company Bizzabo in 2011, aiming to manage, measure and thereby grow professional events.
While today they name leading companies including Microsoft, Capital One, Forbes and the Bank of Ireland among their customers, the three entrepreneurs first had to educate the market that it was even possible to measure events.
“If you are ahead of the curve in understanding the need of that big industry, then it’s a huge risk and you can die along the way until the market matures,” Katz, the company’s chief data officer, told The Jerusalem Post. “It took about five years to crystallize the value of the market, but we were in the right place at the right time to leverage it. Other start-ups that went into competition with us built the industry. When there is a boom of start-ups, there is usually something good about it.”
Bizzabo’s cloud-based platform provides companies with a wide range of tools for creating events, but also places an emphasis on gathering data from conference-goers regarding areas of interest, possible customer touch-points, and sessions attended, enabling much more specific marketing activity and greater sales.
All customers receive an account manager to build an event strategy targeting individuals before, during and after the conference in a personalized manner, backed by relevant data and insights.
“There is no question as to whether this is an industry anymore, and there will be clear winners,” said Katz. “Everything can be done in-house, but it’s a matter of cost, tension and focus. There’s a boom on software as a service (SaaS) because someone out there is building the best tool for your event management needs. If we’re doing our job well, the business usually runs more events.”
Despite Bizzabo’s growing list of customers, some 85% of companies remain “greenfield” using in-house solutions for their event management needs, Katz said, until, that is, they become Bizzabo customers too.
“There is still a huge need to climb the stairs of market education,” said Katz. “We’ll prove the value to companies and help them understand.”
Even as the world becomes increasingly digital, a Bizzabo report revealed that the number of companies organizing 20 or more events per year increased by 17% between 2017 and 2018. The vast majority (95%) of senior marketing say in-person events provide attendees with a valuable opportunity to form connections in today’s online era.
In April, Bizzabo secured a $27 million Series D funding round, bringing total capital raised to date to $56 million. The company, which has doubled its workforce two years in a row, now employs 110 workers in New York and Israel, and is continuing to grow.
“We’re in a good place,” said Katz. “The market understands that it needs us and we can keep growing sharply. We’re not planning to double our staff again, but we’re definitely planning to double our revenue.”
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