Posted on June 8, 2018 by staff

‘TripAdvisor for events’ in second crowdfunding bid

‘TripAdvisor for events’ in second crowdfunding bid

Toby Heelis and Alan Newton
Toby Heelis and Alan Newton

A cloud-based search engine designed to disrupt the corporate events industry today launches its second crowdfunding campaign as it looks to dominate new markets.

Eventopedia is behind an ‘intelligent’ cloud platform which allows event organisers to find venues globally and uses the latest technologies to make the search and selection process more efficient.

Launched by co-founders Toby Heelis and Alan Newton in January 2015, the platform is already being used by worldwide hotel chains including the likes of Hilton, Marriott and Hyatt, as well as independent venues like ExCeL London or Wembley Stadium.

“We felt that the technologies available in the market at that time perpetuated existing industry problems – so we both set out to make a change and create a solution that would prove disruptive,” Newton told BusinessCloud.

“We wanted to transform the industry and make it a lot more productive.”

London-based Eventopedia raised £128,000 through a crowdfunding round in 2016 and secured $120,000 worth of Microsoft sponsorship in 2017.

It is now hoping to raise at least another £150,000 through its second crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs.

Newton said the entrepreneurs decided to go down the crowdfunding route for a second time after finding it difficult to secure the cash from venture capitalists – particularly at the early stages of a start-up journey.

“You have to be delivering significant revenue to get the buy-in from a lot of British or European investors,” Newton said.

“I think they are a lot more conservative compared to the Americans who focus more on the bigger vision, the team and the market opportunity rather than just what revenues you’ve delivered to date.

“We spoke to a number of traditional investors and it was clear that there’s a real interest in the business but they want to come in at a later stage when our revenue is more advanced.”

Eventopedia currently allows event organisers to search over 28,000 venue spaces in 12 global destinations.

The money will be used to support its goal of increasing the number of event spaces on the platform from the current 28,000 to over 100,000.

“We’re expecting to have 100,000 venues on our platform within the next 12 to 18 months,” he said.

The start-up is also using part of the proceeds to invest in improving the user experience with additional tech innovations including voice search and chatbots, both of which are currently under development.

“It all comes down to productivity and value creation,” Newton said.

“People talk a lot about millennials and, like ‘disruption’, it’s a phrase that’s thrown around a lot and encompasses a very broad group of people.

“The younger generation are starting to utilise voice and chatbots a lot more and many of them are in the industry as event planners – so it’s just about giving planners and venues the tools to make their jobs easier and fit in with the way they want to work.”