Quick question, have you ever been to a great conference website? Like one that really gave you a great impression of who's going, what to expect from speakers, and one that gives you a great idea of what's the buzz and content during the event? Some are better than others, but the industry really doesn't feel like it's really pushing the envelope of what's possible in 2013.
"Conferences are a content producing industry that has no effective digital strategy on that concept. That's where our media background from Issuu is coming into play. Just like publishers that are building good content, we want to help share conference content and get the word out," Conferize CEO Martin Ferro-Thomsen tells ArcticStartup as they announce a solid €1 million seed round.
"We've got some really good investors that believe in us, and it's wonderful to be working with people that have made their own money, and are excited about what we want to do. Now we can finally start executing on a bigger scale."
The team sees their solution providing the most value to events in the 100-1000 attendees range, and rather than this being a replacement of conference's website, Conferize is going for integration. "We think organizers should have their own website. Thats where your brand is, and so on. What we want to do for organizers is that we really want to focus on the community, social stuff, and content," says Ferro-Thomsen.
Event organizers have good reason to plug into their service, as it can help extend the event's lifecycle, and helps advertise and bring people back to events. Additionally, their Highlight Player can be used in full-screen glory during an event to share what's happening.
The solution isn't just for event organizers, however. One problem they're solving is that a lot of the time you'll see a great speaker at a conference, and would like to see them again. To help follow who's going to be on stage, they've built a widget for speakers to put on their blog or personal website to let people know where they can find and hear the thought leaders in their industry.
One issue with this widget and this speaker focus is that speakers often are often the first to find out about an event before the real details of the event are shared with the public. Rather than hoping that speakers will update their Conferize profiles after the event organizers hop on Conferize, the company allows speakers to submit an event in a form they say is super simple and takes 30 seconds. Once Conferize gets the basic details, they find out and fill in the rest of the event details to build the event page, and then notifies the speaker. This same form can also be used for organizers and attendees.
While the event is popping, Conferize also shares the buzz going on at the event in their Highlight Player, which by pulling in all relevant hashtags from around the web. The data pulled can come from YouTube, Vimeo, Vine, Instagram, Path, Twitpic, Yfrog, Twitter, Slideshare, SpeakerDeck, Prezi, Issuu, Scribd, and DocStoc, for example.
With the funding they'll be expanding their team from just three developers to help promote and flesh out the product.
To see an example of Conferize, check out the buzz around Social Media Week Autumn 2013.