Earlier today I had the pleasure of speaking with Kevin Hartz, the head of Eventbrite, a very cool company that’s making it easier for long tail event organizers to organize, manage, and promote their events. Awhile back I wrote another post about whether online invitations are broken or stale. Eventbrite is the first company that I have seen that is really doing something cool in the event space and solving an important problem for event organizers.
Kevin and the team started Eventbrite several years ago to meet the needs of event organizers. In talking about the “long tail of events”, the Eventbrite is not targeting the StubHubs and Ticketmasters of the world – there are plenty of good solutions for large, professional organizations who do large volumes of transactions in the primary and secondary ticket market. However, it has been a very long time since anyone has launched a credible solution for smaller event organizers who want to project a professional image but don’t have the resources to pay for expensive web development or manage complicated solutions. Aside from Eventbrite, the most commonly-used event organization tools for small groups that need to collect money and manage registration are Acteva and 123signup. Having used both tools, I can say that both are functional but feel very old — the interfaces haven’t been updated in quite some time and neither tool allows the event organizers to customize the look and feel or presentation of their events to the degree that Eventbrite does.
Eventbrite has most of the core features you would want as an event organizer – the ability to create an event, manage attendee information, promote an event, communicate with attendees, and collect payment. They offer a free and a premium service, with a lot of the core useful features being available in the free version. In talking with the team and browsing the directory of events that are using the Eventbrite platform, it’s clear that it is a very horizontal service. I found everything from chess tournaments to social networking conferences using the service.
However, the main reason I chose to speak with the team at Eventbrite about their service is what I will call the inbox text. I actually started seeing invitations from Eventbrite-powered events, which is not something I can say for any of the other services that have set out to attack the personal/social arena dominated by Evite. I think the reason for this is simple — for an event organizer, publishing an event via Eventbrite does not require any fundamentally different behavior when received by guests.
I like the Eventbrite service and hope to get the opportunity to use it in the future. I’m glad to see some real innovation in this space.