Place matters — and even as we have become more digital and more mobile — where you are makes a difference. It could be argued that atmosphere makes a party — the particular music, lighting, decor, and of course — venue. One startup has made it possible for you to have your next company gathering outside of the boardroom, and instead in a Hollywood Castle.
In 2011, Eventup co-founder and CEO Tony Adam had the idea for renting out spaces that already exist.
“We had this idea for renting out homes for weddings, and we realized there was something there. But when I started doing more research, I realized how hard it was to find a venue for any sort of event — whether it was a birthday party or a conference for a company,” he said.
“I realized there was a big need here. Not just homes for weddings, but any single event location from a banquet hall to a restaurant to a bar to an art gallery. To really cool lofts and estates. I had thrown a couple of conferences myself — whether I was the producer or helped produce the event — I knew how painful it was to actually find a location.”
Eventup serves as a single site for all party-planning needs — it has a variety of unique and unknown venues listed, so a user never has to search the Internet or dial phone numbers to book a place for their next gathering.
Adam led online marketing at MySpace from 2010 to 2011, and before then worked at PayPal.
Efficiency is part of his startup’s structure. The operation is fairly lean with only 22 employees, handling multiple national accounts. They also create efficiencies for both the venue renters and for party-planners.
The party-planners get a one-stop shop for venue selection in multiple cities.
“To be able to take a process that can take days upon weeks, and turn that into a simple 10-minute process — to me that was the vision right there,” he said.
The opportunity for the venue-owners is also great, as they can list their properties for free on the Eventup site. The service is helping property owners to make money on underutilized assets — such as an estate not being occupied for much of the year.
“It’s using an asset that’s completely unused and giving it a revenue source. We have one venue — we’ve made $40,000 for him in the last 6 months. We’re already at the point where we’re making tens of thousands of dollars for people.”
As they’ve progressed, the startup has discovered the core of their business — a place where they can help the already overwhelmed.
“Our core helping is when it comes to corporate. While the birthdays and all that are really cool — and we still help people with that, with corporate — for an exec admin, planning an event is a fourth job that’s been added to her plate. Or an HR person. They’ve got all these jobs that are added to their plates, and they don’t have time to plan. So being able to work with us, where we’ve created this free concierge-like service, you call us and let us know what your event details are and we’ll find the space for you. To them, that’s gold.”
Eventup has already helped plan events for Google, Yahoo, and Dun & Bradstreet, among others.
Some of the venues offered for rental include:
The Devoe House, former home to Marilyn Monroe; Villa Sophia, a home used in television show “Entourage;” Al Capone’s former home in Miami; and aHollywood castle.
Perhaps most striking about the Santa Monica-based startup is how fast they have scaled since their launch in February of this year. After offering Los Angeles a new way to plan events, they scaled to San Francisco, New York, Chicago, and Miami in less than a full year of operation.
Adam has plans to launch in other U.S. cities before 2012 is over. As for 2013, his goals are centered on the rest of the U.S.’s metropolitan cities — he’d like to see Eventup in every city, offering not just a variety venues, but a full concierge service — offering valet, floral, photo, and other additional amenities.
“I know that Eventup is changing the way people book and plan events. We ultimately want to be the comprehensive venue marketplace, but, further than that, the comprehensive marketplace for all of your event needs, a one-stop-shop, if you will.”