[ Shortlist founders Gretchen and Jason Goodrich. ]
Editor's Note: See all our Excelerate Labs coverage here.
WHAT: Allows conference organizers to create an online and mobile app that recommends sessions to attendees and people to meet. Meant to be used before and during an event.
App integrates with registration sites like Eventbrite; that data becomes the basis for Shortlist profiles of every attendee. Exhibitors can use Shortlist to offer deals to attendees. Users can sync their Shortlist profile with other social networks to see if anyone they already know is attending the conference.
LAUNCHERS: Gretchen Goodrich, COO. Jason Goodrich, CEO.
WHY: It's hard to track down the people you actually want to meet at big conferences. Networking should start before the event. Conference organizers want people to network, but connecting like-minded attendees isn't their first priority. The conference space has massive inefficiencies that has attracted other startups [ see our profiles of Balloon and Welcu ].
WHEN/WHERE: 2011 / Chicago.
BACKSTORY: Gretchen and Jason attended SXSW in 2010 with the goal of making connections. They realized they spent a bunch of money and time to go to the conference, but once they got there, they didn't know where to begin.
The company was initially called A Space Apart and helped people at events find and communicate with each other. At Excelerate Labs they realized they needed to focus on one market.
"The big lesson of Excelerate is if you want to grow your business you have to focus focus focus," Gretchen says. "Focus or die. You've got to find a market that's screaming for this technology."
BUSINESS MODEL: Currently free to event organizers and attendees. Exhibitors pay to offer deals through the app. Gretchen says they are still working out the share Shortlist will get.
COMPETITION: Conference Companion, Schhmooze, Yasmo Live, Tonchidot's Domo [ see Domo's LAUNCH conference presentation ], foursquare.
ON COMPETITION: "There are people who sell apps to the organizers, so they are building these either custom or semi-customized apps to organizers to create a 365-day community surrounding that event," Gretchen says. "I can't imagine wanting to hear about a particular event 365 days a year. We go the other way. Shortlist is a launch pad. It's sort of a temporary place to come together, do this networking and then take those connections you make back into the real world and to social media sites."
CUSTOMERS/GROWTH: A dozen event organizers used 1.0 version. Shortlist is in talks with the Association Forum, which represents 2K national associations.
GOAL: "What we want to do is help people have the best experience that they can at conferences and find exhibitors rather than just wandering," says Gretchen. "The vision is for this to catch on at conferences and trade shows and expand to other types of meetings and shows so that wherever you go, if there's a Shortlist event there, you have fantastic tools for meeting people."
ON EXCELERATE LABS: "It's been incredible," Gretchen says. "I can't really use enough superlative adjectives to describe it. Exhausting comes to mind. There's a reason they call it an accelerator."
WHO BACKED IT: Excelerate Labs and New World Ventures.
RAISING: Not disclosed.
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 6.
Attendees can log on to the Shortlist-powered event website to see a list of other people attending. Users can sort the list from A-Z or by popularity and top recommended.
Attendees can use the app to browse through exhibitors in the same way: alphabetically or by popularity and top recommended.
Attendees can view the agenda and star interesting events. They can access their choices from the star icon.
1. "5 Steps To Conquer Any Networking Event" (Lifehack, March 15, 2011)
2. "Put Yourself on the Map: A Social Media Guide for Places, Part One" (Eventbrite, August 29, 2011)
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