Bizzabo, which provides a free self-service platform for event/conference organisers and a free app for attendees on iPhone and Android, has secured $1.5 million in funding to open a U.S. presence, hire and expand. Investors include Israeli figures such as Kaedan Capital Group; Gigi Levy; Prof. Yair Tauman; the AfterDox angels group and additional American and European angel investors. Pre-seed round investors (all Angels) also participated in the current round.
Founded in 2011 by Eran Ben Shushan, Alon Alroy and Boaz Katz, Bizzabo faces a crowded arena. There’s (deep breath) CrowdVine, Presdo, Oleapark, Shpare, Schmooze, Eventasaur, Omyconf, and to some extent Lanyrd in this space, as well as location-based networking apps like Highlig.ht, Sonar, Ban.jo and Intro. However, we’ve been impressed by Bizzabo’s interface and execution thus far. It’s also entirely free to organisers and attendees, and ticks a bunch of boxes for events.
Conferences that have used the app so far include the high-end MLOVE ConFestival in Berlin, VC conference NOAH, and in-house events by Qualcomm.
With Bizzabo, an event organiser can create an instant mobile social network for attendees prior to the event date. They enter the agenda and speaker profiles of their event and update information live, with the ability to push-notify changes to the event – a really important feature which conference organisers and attendees will find way more useful than the paper based schedules we all have to suffer with.
Attendees in turn only need one app which covers any event, rather than several apps for each event, and see which events are upcoming among friends.
The app cross-references your LinkedIn profile with other event attendees and identifies who will be the most beneficial contact for you. Attendees can message each other inside the app and it keeps a database of people you met at each event. Conference attendees can network on the app before the event but then check into the physical location of the conference, while event organisers can set a private code for people to use the app to prevent others from ‘virtually’ attending without paying for a ticket.
There’s also an “Offers” feature to allow exhibitors or sponsors to create Groupon type offers and generate business leads. We think this will be a very interesting model for the startup to pursue.