Are you attending TedX Tampa Bay or the Tampa Bay Technology Forum's Life of an App event this year? They just got a lot more interactive.
These local events are just two of hundreds around the country that have signed up with new event-organizing platform EXMO. The startup, which is in the national spotlight following a successful public launch on Oct. 9, has roots right here in Tampa.
Founder Todd Goldberg, a University of Florida graduate, credits the local community for his company's recent success.
"The people here are great. Everyone just wants to help everyone,'' he says. "The Tampa Bay community has been extremely supportive of what we're trying to do. They helped open a lot of doors.''
EXMO's Local Evolution
Goldberg had only lived in Tampa for a few months when he attended the third annual Startup Weekend Tampa Bay in November 2012.
"I wanted to meet new people, and I didn't know what to expect,'' Goldberg explains. "I thought it would be really great to have an interactive format to gauge other people's interest in the event.''
Unfortunately, the event didn't have anything like that.
"My pain point actually became the problem that we were trying to solve,'' says Goldberg.
Over the course of the weekend, through discussions with event organizers, "we realized that there was a bigger problem we could solve here,'' Goldberg says. "We could help make events easier to organize and make them more interactive for the attendees.''
EXMO went on to win Startup Weekend that year.
"My goal was to meet three people,'' Goldberg reflects. "I ended up coming out with a company and a huge network -- and that momentum has kind of been the catalyst for all of our success so far.''
Why Get EXMO?
"We are creating a really interactive experience,'' says Goldberg. "We want to really engage event attendees.''
At EXMO-powered events, user activity within the app is showcased on the Activity Wall via TVs or projectors. Popular platforms like Vine, Twitter, Instagram and Twitpics are also integrated via designated event hashtags. These displays essentially turn each event into a real-time photo album and news feed, where attendees can see their feedback appear instantly.
"We do a really good job of making this very social for attendees,'' says Goldberg. "Features like the Activity Wall extend the uses beyond mobile apps.''
Organizers can use the self-service platform's website to enter all of the event's specifics -- speakers, sponsors, schedules. EXMO currently supports Android and iOS devices.
"It's a really great tool for organizers and super simple to use,'' says Goldberg.
Another benefit? Large-scale events can sometimes limit the amount of time attendees have for mingling and networking. Through EXMO, says Goldberg, "Attendees can plan a get-together at a certain event, or form their own meet-up.''
Partnering With Eventbrite
Perhaps the biggest news to come out of EXMO's launch is a partnership with Eventbrite, a major online ticketing platform. Eventbrite users who link their accounts will be able to export events into the app automatically. Eventbrite ticketing, promotion, and sales data are also available through the new integration.
The EXMO team recently expanded to include a few part-time employees. The company, which has been "100 percent bootstrapped to date,'' by Goldberg and co-founder Karl White, is beginning to fundraise "on a larger scale. We're currently reaching out to angel investors across the country to help raise our first round,'' Goldberg explains.
Goldberg calls EXMO's pricing models "exciting. They enable any kind of event, large or small, to use the platform.''
The company charges organizers for the number of attendees who download the app for specific events. Events with less than 50 attendees can use the service at no cost.
"We're trying to do really simple, transparent pricing,'' says Goldberg. "I think what we're doing here is empowering all events to become more interactive in a matter of minutes.''
To find upcoming events powered by EXMO, you must download the app. To add your own, visit the EXMO website.
Justine Benstead is a freelance writer who spends her days walking her dog Chloe in her South Tampa neighborhood, drinking far too much coffee, tweeting and taking photos with her trusty Nikon. Comments? Contact 83 Degrees.