Get to know a Toronto startup: Event Holler
Remember when you had to stand in line to order tickets for a concert? Then, the days of overnight campouts and line jumpers were replaced by the heart-pounding action of online ticket ordering systems, made popular "thanks" to Ticketmaster. Now, you're lucky to even get a ticket unless resorting to your favorite local scalper, or trusting the dubious posters on Craigslist or Kijiji.
Meet Jamil Khan, a successful entrepreneur who runs his own web development company in Toronto. Jamil is hard at work attempting to disrupt the online event management space with his latest creation, Event Holler.
I know, I know. With words that are distorted, slanted, and upside-down, you secretly love the fun of deciphering the CAPTCHA before placing an order--it's almost inevitably become its own sport on the side. If that wasn't enough, don't forget the roughly 50% mark-up due to the incredible naming irony of "convenience fees." I think most people agree that it's time for a ticket ordering revolution--and Event Holler agrees.
I had the chance to catch up with Jamil at INcubes to learn more about his idea, and how people around the world are turning to Event Holler to host their event.
Why did you start Event Holler?
Imagine planning an event and the venue doesn't sell out, or in the worst case scenario, no one shows up. Event Holler was built to fix this problem. Organizers can use our event management platform to list an event and tap into local promoters. Promoters are the big differentiator here, as anyone can sign up, link their social media accounts and start immediately promoting local events. Organizers can quickly get the word out on a local event without any additional effort. The pricing model is also extremely competitive as organizers can use the platform for free while immediately tapping into hundreds of promoters within their city with no upfront cost.
Where did the idea for Event Holler come from?
After doing our research, we determined that the real problem is not the event management software but the ability to bring people to your event. Getting the word out is very expensive for artists, musicians, and other performers. The event space was lacking an efficient and inexpensive event promotion tool and that's why Event Holler was born.
How does Event Holler actually work?
We give event organizers a completely free event management and ticketing system. They can use it to post multiple events, accept payments, let attendees print tickets from home, and more. On top of that, we give them access to promoters in their city, without any upfront costs. On the promotion side, people can become promoters in a matter of minutes and start promoting events manually or by letting our software do the work.
Event Holler is the first on the scene with a no-cost offering for paid events. The ability to leverage each promoter's social media connections to get the word out and sell tickets fast is one of the most unique features in the market. Gone are the days of worrying if your event will fill up or sell out--the promoters take care of that for you.
Let's hear more about these promoters. Are they just regular people who sign up to the site? What's their incentive to promote an event?
Yes, they are regular people. You don't have to be a social superstar. If you have 5 friends in your Hotmail, you can still become a promoter. Promoters also get a percentage of the ticket sale, which is pre-determined by the organizer.
Tell me about the business side of Event Holler. Where does the revenue come from?
Although the event management system is totally free, we take a percentage of the commissions from ticket sales done by each promoter.
How many people work within the company, and what's the vibe like around the office?
We are a small team of 6 people working out of INcubes, one of Toronto's top accelerators, located at King and Spadina. Our typical day ranges from VIP invitations to high-end parties, to paintball events from our clients. So, by its nature, it's fun to work at Event Holler.
What's next for Event Holler? Any big plans you can reveal?
I'll let you in on one. We are in the process of developing an advanced seat allocation system where venues can design their own space and price the seats differently for each event. We are really happy with some of the traction we are seeing; it's only going to get better from here!