Each year, I go to a lot of conferences. For each and every one I fumble around at the last minute to figure out the schedule, who’s going to be there, etc. When I get there, I trade business cards that I’ll probably never look at again just because there are hundreds of them and no good way to order that information. The logistics surrounding just attending are a pain. And it’s a much bigger pain when you’re helping to actually put one together. Enter Bloodhound.
Bloodhound is a new mobile app launching today that aims to alleviate the pains of conference-going — for both attendees and those participating. One simplified way to think about it that investor Dave McClure likes to say is that it’s a “realtime ‘Where’s Waldo’ for conferences”.
It’s actually a little surprising that one app hasn’t caught on in this space yet given the pain points. Most people see to either use the more general location services like Foursquare or more broad event planners like Plancast. Or worse, event organizers increasingly try to get you to download their own custom-built one-off app for their conference. These are annoying because you usually have them on your phone for one or two days and then delete them forever. So the prospect of keeping some potentially valuable data is nada.
Bloodhound focuses specifically on large events/conferences in aggregate. They want to be the one app you use for each one. To make that happen, they give anyone (ideally an event organizer, but it can be just an attendee too) a simple web-based tool to add an event to their directory. Once you do this, you can input more detailed information or if it’s publicly available, Bloodhound will look for it to build out a comprehensive event area for their app.
Once the information is in the app, the app shines as a way to access and trade information leading up to and at the event. Did you meet someone there that you’d like to connect with later? Instead of trading business cards, why not use the app to follow them on LinkedIn and/or Facebook. Or you can just shoot them a pre-populated email with your information with one click.
Bloodhound also focuses on realtime recommendations for things you might like at a particular event. For example, if it knows you’ve attended an event earlier in the year with certain types of vendors, it may recommend that you check out certain sessions at the event you’re currently attending. They can do this because they’re more than a one-off app.
As you might imagine, these recommendations as well as connections are also interesting to the exhibitors at the events. Meanwhile, promotion of the events themselves within the app will be interesting to conference organizers. There’s certainly potential revenue to be had for Bloodhound down the line.
The company has been testing their apps in private beta for the last six months at a handful of events. Currently, over 300 events are using Bloodhound, with over 1,000 expected next month. Today will see the launch of their iPhone app, as well as basic Android and BlackBerry apps. They’ll also have a full mobile HTML5 site — this is key since they don’t want just a certain percentage of conference attendees with one type of device to have access.
The startup has raised $250,000 from McClure’s 500 Startups, Jason Portnoy, and Jay Weintraub. The founders are Anthony Krumeich, Rick Fulton, and Patrick Dugan.