Eventbase Raises $8 Million from Madrona Ventures to Accelerate Growth

Vancouver’s Eventbase Technology announced this morning it has raised a US $6 million round of financing from Madrona Venture Group.

This investment will further accelerate growth of their mobile technology platform company, which doubled in size and revenues in the past year, according to the Canadian company.

This is not the first Vancouver investment for Madrona. Among Madrona’s portfolio are BC’s Indochino and RewardLoop. Paul Goodrich, managing director at Madrona Venture Group, will join Eventbase’s board of directors.

In 2014, Eventbase raised $2 million in Series A funding from the team at South By Southwest, the first ever investment from the newly formed SXSW Tech LLC.

Much of the company’s success has been in the enterprise event app market, where it delivers the official event apps for customers including SAP, Microsoft, HP, Cisco and Salesforce. Other high-profile customers include events like South By Southwest (SXSW), Sundance Film Festival, and the Vancouver, London, and Sochi Olympic Games.

RELATED: Eventbase is hiring in Vancouver

“Events are inherently mobile, and brands are constantly upleveling their investments in their mobile offerings,” says Jeff Sinclair, CEO and co-founder of Eventbase.

“As the leader in apps for premium events across enterprise, conference, trade shows and consumer events, this new funding will allow us to build on our groundbreaking technologies, locking our position as the preferred choice for the world’s top brands,” he added.

“Events let companies cut through the digital noise with their customers and partners. They build brand and loyalty,” said Paul Goodrich, managing director at Madrona Venture Group. “Eventbase has an innate understanding of how mobile devices and technology can shape our experiences of events. Their success in creating rich experiences through mobile apps for attendees and event organizers, is unrivalled and we are excited to work with them as they continue to transform the event experience.”

Sometimes, Attending Epic Music Festivals is Just Part of Your Job

Common advice to technology companies is to get out of the building and talk to the people using your product.

When you work at Vancouver-based Eventbase, that means going to some of the most high-profile meetups in the world, including this week’s Squamish Valley Music Festival.

Attending such events as an employee of the company that designed the event app, you may witness 100,000 people using your design.  “There’s a great reward to seeing your technology being used first-hand,” said Eventbase cofounder Ben West.  “A big part of being a creative technologist is seeing your work being appreciated.”

RELATED: Eventbase is hiring in Vancouver

Eventbase is an event app platform that has powered the apps used for SXSW, the Calgary Stampede, and the Olympics. The company includes among its employee perks its Ticket to Ride’ program, which gives every employee in the company the opportunity, once a year, to choose and attend an event for which Eventbase has developed the app.

Employees attend their chosen events as an Eventbase ambassadors, and the company takes care of the travel, accommodation, and passes.  If you’re into music, there’s the Voodoo Music Festival in New Orleans or Austin City Limits, among others, to choose from.  If you fancy film, you can get a pass to Sundance or the Tribeca Film Festival. If it’s tech you want more of, then you can go for SXSW or OSCON.  The events are not limited to North America. Also available are passes to the Isle of Wight Music Festival in England and Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in the south of France. 

Part of the motivation underlying the program is to give every employee the opportunity to experience their product in the wild.  Apart from the surge of motivation and morale they can get from watching their technology be used, attending the event gives the ambassadors experience as a user of the app and first-hand knowledge of how other event goers feel about the product, which inevitably leads to ideas for improvement.

West said, “We feel very strongly that everybody at our company should be able to experience sizeable complicated events from a first-hand perspective to see some of the challenges that you encounter as an attendee at a complex event where you have to make a lot of decisions really quickly on how you’re going to spend your time, and do so in a place that is likely unfamiliar because you’re in a city that you haven’t been to before.”

Of the ambassadors who attend, West said, “Once they come back, they really feel much more invested in our technology because when they’re on the ground there, they see people using our apps and often we’ll have tens or hundreds of thousands of people at these events.”

He continued, “So when you come back, you feel responsible, you feel proud, and it gives you insight into the perspective of the people using your technology as opposed to being distant from it.”

Ticket to Ride originated after Eventbase started to grow and create apps for more complicated events, with the co-founders, sales, and marketing staff attending and returning from each event with fresh ideas for improvement, for overcoming specific technical challenges using their technology, or for new features that could bring a higher level of enjoyment to the event organizer and attendees.  It made sense to open the opportunity to the entire staff, including the technologists working on product, as they get to gain new, valuable insights, and look forward to a life-affirming event. 

With the demand that exists for highly skilled technology and design workers, Ticket to Ride also provides a differentiator for Eventbase when it comes to acquiring talent.

West said, “We want to be able to attract the best and brightest, and a paycheck is only a part of that equation.  I think people want experiences, and after they are making a certain amount of money, it’s the experiences in life that are really memorable.  We’re in a unique position as a company that provides technology for events to be able to provide these great experiences to our staff, and have it be part of the learning experience, and part of the culture.”

West continued, “We’ve always wanted to create a company where everybody is afforded really great opportunities and really feels rewarded and really enjoys coming to work.  So I think it’s important to us to convey that to the market that it’s cool technology, it’s a workplace where you’re going to get to do great things, and that the team there, from the people who have been there for years to the newest faces coming through the door, are going to be a big part of the family, and we want to make sure that they feel respected and rewarded.”

“Eventbase is a company where you can build something, and find yourself in a crowd of ten thousand people watching one of your favorite bands, and you’re having a great time personally, and looking around seeing all of these thousands of people using technology that you built or designed the week previous is really what it’s all about,” West said.  “It’s those kinds of experiences that separate a job from a career.”

You can check Eventbase’s current job listings on the Techvibes job board.