Startup EventInsight opens the world of conferences

EventInsight is going fast. More and more convention and trade show organizers worldwide are seeing the benefits the Groningen app offers. The young entrepreneurs behind it are far from finished with the growth.

Many are familiar with it. You go to a conference or trade show hoping to speak to certain people. And just when you need them, they're not at their booth, or there's a group of people around them who want the same thing. "Then you grab the app and make an appointment to have coffee later. It's just one example given by EventInsight founders Bas Krijgsman and Ruben Haring. 'Or you just check who else might be interesting to you and make an appointment with them. That's very easy with the app.'


EventInsight works in several directions. Conference organizers benefit just as much. They can see clearly what backgrounds their visitors have, get insight into which program elements are popular. Krijgsman: "The app also includes a rating tool. Visitors can give their opinion per item, or about the event as a whole. This is very useful for organizers.

This company is a typical example of how it often goes with startups. You start with your nose in one direction, see an opportunity and decide to turn your face in a different direction. In the case of EventInsight, that means turning from an app builder for student clubs to a software vendor in the event industry.

'The software we built is our gold. We worked on that for years,'' Bas Krijgsman says. He is one of the founders of Almanapp, app builder that focuses on the internal communications of student associations. That company still exists, but its successor EventInsight now takes up much more time and energy. "Almanapp's framework works perfectly for EventInsight.

Krijgsman saw the possibilities when he walked around a trade show for tech companies in Portugal. 'There was a company there that was building something along the same lines. I realized we could do something like that better with our software. Ruben Haring joined them and mapped the event market. Conclusion: that's a very big business with ditto opportunities. Construction of the app began at the end of 2017; testing was already underway in early 2018.


'We have highlighted a few USPs that help us firmly,' says Herring. 'The first is that we focus on networking. Many of our competitors are more or less glorified program books. Very important also is that we provide direct feedback from attendees to event organizers. And the third point is that we have now built up a consultancy department. So we take a lot out of the hands of such an organization, and that is what is much appreciated.'

Developing software is no longer the core business of this young company. Which does not mean that the product is not constantly being honed. 'Shake to connect' is one such example. Krijgsman: "You shake your phone, and you can immediately scan the QR code on your conversation partner's batch. Instantly have the information you need to network now or make an appointment later.'


The whole package that EventInsight offers does not just come from its creators. Krijgsman: "That is the strength of our app. We built it together with organizers. By listening very carefully, testing and adjusting, the app has gotten better and better, everything fits better and better with what the market wants.'

EventInsight has already successfully brought the app to more than a hundred congresses in 12 different countries. 'Almost 90 percent of the organizations used us again at the next congress. The app sells itself, so to speak. Yes, we were already allowed to work with really big names, such as Unesco, UMCG, Bosch, KvK, NWO and Afas. And also the VVD congress used the app.' The Groningen startup is working hard on a plan to conquer Europe as soon as possible. In Germany it already has two representatives, in England there is also one. The sales force in Groningen is running at full speed. 'Our goal is to do more than 4,000 events by 2022 and to connect a country every six months.'

Such a rollout costs money. That's why EventInsight specifically brought in two investors. 'People from the business, with whom we sit around the table every month to hone the business plan.' NOM also saw the potential and provided a loan. Krijgsman: 'Thanks to our app! I was planning to speak to someone from Flinc (part of NOM aimed at linking investors to startups, ed.) during the Promotion Days in Groningen, but that didn't work out. Through our app I sent a message and that's how the process started.'

Timing is important here: digitization is also a fact around events. In this, EventInsight is spot on in terms of timing and with the capabilities of its app. Every event will be working with such a solution in a few years. This market of app providers is still small now, which gives EventInsight a good chance to conquer the market.

Klaas Kooistra, Investment Manager NOM

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