Melbourne, Australia-based Venuemob, a platform that enables users to search for places to hold their events, announced recently that it closed a $450,000 funding round from Singtel, a Singapore-based telecommunications company. Co-founded by the team behind Crowdmass, a group buying site later acquired by Groupon, the company launched in July of last year and to date has listings from over 200 paying clients.
The funding and strategic partnership with Singtel will help the company initially expand and scale the platform in Australia and later lead to geographical expansion in the Asia Pacific markets of Singapore, Indonesia, and Thailand. “We are looking to expand in Australia and over the year and a bit in Asia Pacific as well,” co-founder Ying Wang said in an interview with BetaKit. “Just coming from a Groupon background where there was a lot of service provided to local businesses…we’re going along the same lines as that.”
The online platform looks to help mitigate the hassle event planners go through when scouting out a venue by offering everything from 360 tours online to venue availability. Once they find a suitable venue they can email the contact using VenueMob and figure out all the details from there. The company also has a concierge service in which a user can input basic information like the date of the event, the number of expected guests and their budget, and wait to receive venue recommendations and have venues contact them.
Venues pay a listing fee that varies between $199 to $299 to be on VenueMob, and the company also receives a commission for each successful transaction that ranges from 10 to 20 percent. Wang said the platform is currently being mostly used by corporate event organizers and for organizing celebratory events like birthdays, but the site plans to expand to weddings and more large-scale conferences.
The company’s U.S counterpart Eventup, which has over 3,000 listings across major cities, also raised $1.8 million in 2012. Other players in the space include the likes of Venuetastic, which is more focused on providing boutique venues listings for smaller scale events, and online event management platform Cvent’s supplier network that looks to provide a similar value proposition for event management professionals. However, geographic coverage and the sheer number of venues available leaves plenty of room for both existing and any potential upcoming startups to play in the space.
Apart from making it easier to be found, VenueMob also wants to help local venues fill up their spaces on slow days to capitalize on under utilized assets through its services. With the funding secured from Singtel and the telecommunications services provider’s footprint across the Asia Pacific region, VenueMob’s expansion plans should come to fruition, however, if it wants to scale, it’ll have to continue adding venues focused on larger events, the ones that leave event organizers struggling to find a space.