February 1, 2012
If you’ve ever been charged with event planning – in your job or otherwise – you know it can be an overwhelming and detail-driven process. From conventions and expos to festivals and high school reunions, event planning means having lots of balls in the air, so you’d better be a juggler, right?
Austin-based Whindo is an online event registration service that can help you pull off the big event, no amazing feats required. Whindo actually lets you build an entire event website that can do most of the legwork for you.
Founder Russell Bellow starting building Whindo from scratch three years ago as a side project. At the time, the competitive landscape was sparse, with only a few viable products in the event registration software space.
“I believed there was an opportunity to merge the disparity between existing solutions by combining an intuitive interface, a rich feature set and affordability,” said Bellow.
He left his job in March of 2011 to focus on Whindo, calculating he would be able to launch in two months. Seven months later, Whindo went live, and Bellow became aware that dozens of other entrepreneurs had the same idea.
He likens Whindo’s success story to that of Snapple, who used to proudly belt the anthem, “We’re number three!” But being in third place isn’t too shabby when you’re emerging in a saturated space, several years and millions of backlinks behind the leaders in generating search traffic, as in the case of Whindo.
This saturated space includes event registration sites such as Eventbrite, TicketLeap, and other full-grown competitors. What makes Whindo different is that it goes beyond mere ticket sales to give clients a well rounded event planning solution.
For example, clients get an event website with built-in page templates for event marketing content, including functionality to send email invitations, create custom registration forms and manage attendees. Whindo has socially integrated promotional tools to help customers get the word out about their event. Event websites include plugins for Facebook Likes, LinkedIn Shares and a QR code generator. Whindo also has a mobile/tablet optimized event app for each event website so customers can register for events on-the-go.
The pricing model is competitive and straightforward. Instead of charging a percentage of the ticket price – like the other guys – Whindo charges a $0.99 convenience fee for every ticket sold. Best of all, if your event is free, then so is Whindo.
So far, Bellow has funded the entire project himself, relying on organic growth since Whindo’s launch. He ramped up marketing efforts recently but admits Whindo’s marketing should have been woven into the product’s development from the beginning.
For now, Whindo will have to play marketing catch-up to get on the radar of its target market, who may have already settled into using a competitor for its event registration needs. If it can do so, Whindo looks to offer everything the other guys offer, and perhaps a bit more, but for a flat, no-nonsense rate.
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