At ArcticStartup, a good chunk of our attention is focused on Arctic15, our yearly conference for the Nordic and Baltic startup scene. Getting the word out about our event, promoting good conversation and networking during the event, and providing lasting value are hot topics on our mind. Conferize, a new Copenhagen-based conference and event platform looks like a promising service for the whole event industry.
Conferize just officially launched its public alpha last Thursday, although it has been live in pre-alpha stage for some time. Put simply, it’s one point of destination for all things related to conferences. The service helps you find conferences based on your interests, helps you find people who are attending which events, it helps you follow speakers and industry leaders so you can always stay in the loop.
“You shouldn’t attend conferences every second month, you should attend one everyday,” says Conferize CEO Martin Ferro-Thomsen. “We look at conferences as sort of the latest filter of the latest developments or the best ideas of any industry, anywhere in the world… Now all this stuff is liberated from the black box and has come online.”
That may scare event organizers, but one thing Ferro-Thomsen says he learned from his time at Issuu, the online magazine publishing platform, is that putting things online drives interest and complements offline sales, rather than driving people away.
When you first log into Conferize, you find a list of events going on in your region according to the interests you choose, as well as your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn friends that are already on the service. If you find a really interesting conference (like the Arctic15 on Conferize), you can see a list of people attending the event, as well as a drill down of the speakers and the program.
Aside from alerting people to, and driving people to an event, the service also takes care of the “during” and “after” of conferences, by providing a single source of tweets, pictures, and video, as well as providing a better hub for finding attendees and networking afterwards. Conferize follows the content produced at the event in real time, so if you’re unable to attend a conference you can still get a better sense of the discussion happening on Twitter and other platforms.
Another nice touch is that Conferize has it’s own conversation functions built into the service, which by offering more than 140 characters allows for more nuanced and meaningful discussions. The chat function also provides threaded conversations, so actual conversations can be followed, rather than lost tweets and replies.
Conferize has some idea of who and what you’re into, so within that huge outpouring of information it can try to find the top stories and conversations taking place at the conference, and relate it to you better. Right now Conferize is just a web-based tool, but a tablet and mobile apps are next up on their roadmap so attendees can get the most out of their conferences.
For monetization, Conferize offers a freemium model for conference organisers, who can get some additional features out of the platform. Ferro-Thomsen points out the value here is that much of the conference business is paid for by sponsors, who are paying for the right eyeballs to see their sponsorships at the events. Conferize provides a way for event organisers to hit the right demographics and bring people to events through targeted advertising, rather than just leaving fliers at other events, or advertising in niche publications.
On top of that, event registration is also a clear path to bring in some money as they grow to become a more central hub.
It’s a huge industry in need of a centralized platform than Eventbrite. According to Conferize CEO Martin Ferro-Thomsen, the conference industry has twice the total economic output as auto manufacturing (Including anything from a seminar, to academic and professional conferences, as well as tradeshows). That results over 1 million events on a global scale a year, many of which are unknown or inaccessible to potential attendees.
You can see a very basic implementation of how Conferize broadcasts and stores content generated by conferences by checking out the Arctic15 page from last year, where there were about 1 300 pieces of content delivered from over 300 attendees. You can also check out the upcoming Arctic15 page on Conferize, here.