SponsorHub—a marketplace for brands looking to sponsor quality events—closed a $750,000 round of funding late in the summer, when it was about three months old and six employees strong. The startup announced the news today, along with a lineup of industry veterans, entrepreneurs and venture capital firms. CEO Robert Johnston used to coordinate events when he worked at Apple and had some experience producing events in other capacities. “I kept hearing from the big brands was that it was really hard for them to find great events to sponsor,” Mr. Johnston said.
Sponsors are writing checks to get access to the attendees in the room, he explained. But event organizers aren’t always upfront about this. “Most events say they’ll have access to top CEOs and what ends up happening is [these sponsors] write the check, and they show up at the event, and it’s just not the right level of person,” he said.
SponsorHub solves the problem by vetting events, and presenting key information about each event in a uniform style so sponsors can click quickly file through the events, while also seeing recommendations for similar events across markets (i.e. We saw you sponsored this swanky gala, would you like to sponsor this other similar swanky gala?). “We want to give the brands a nice, clean way—within a click or two—to purchase multiple sponsorships,” he said.
SponsorHub is hiring for seven positions, three technical and four non-technical, including a Chief Revenue Officer. The startup has revenue already, Mr. Johnston said. No doubt that made investors and advisors, including Archibald Cox, Jr., former chairman of Barclays America, and Barry Silbert of SecondMarket, that much easier to rustle up.
Investors haven’t been paying much attention to the events industry, Mr. Johnston told Betabeat. But the company has curated “several hundred” events in its database and has a roster of pilot partners, including Morgan Lewis, Thrillist and Silicon Valley Bank. The startup plans to curate the database until it gets to the point where event organizers submit all the relevant information and photos in order to be vetted. “The technology is there, but we’re going to be careful about how we roll it out,” he said. “We could easily scrape 100,000 events off Meetup… but we’re not focused on quantity right now,” he added, concluding: “We’re focused on quality events.”