Cvent Continues Mobile Acquisition Train, Snaps Up CrowdCompass for $10M

Online event management provider Cvent today announced its second multi-million dollar acquisition in less than a week; this time, it bought three-year old Portland-based event app creation company CrowdCompass. The acquired company, which Cvent paid $10 million for, specializes in making apps for enterprise events that allow attendees to orient themselves, network and otherwise make the most of their time.

Cvent’s last acquisition, which BetaKit covered last Wednesday, was Seed Labs, an Austin-based startup specializing in mobile apps for consumer-facing events. Cvent CEO and founder Reggie Aggarwal told BetaKit in an interview that this isn’t a straightforward roll-up of big players in the mobile app event space, but rather a concerted string of strategic purchases aimed at giving Cvent mobile expertise in multiple, distinct areas.

“We believe mobile’s going to be big for events,” Aggarwal said. “There’s a lot of smartphones out there, and if you look at the type of people who go to events, whether they’re business or consumer events, those people tend to also own smartphones.” Since event attendees are already equipped, and have come to expect some kind of extra layer of interactivity in general, it only made sense for Cvent to target mobile opportunities according to Aggarwal.

The Seed Labs acquisition helps Cvent offer the kind of information and activity-stream apps that do well with consumer events, like the X-Games score tracker it recently created, and CrowdCompass helps businesses build apps that feature speaker schedules and maps, along with scheduling and networking tools like one-on-one time-booking tools for special guests. Both offered something unique that Cvent was looking for.

“We’re trying to make sure that we get more involved with the total event experience,” Aggarwal explained about the decision to purchase two companies to tackle these different streams instead of just one, and possibly making up the gap one way or the other with additional hires. “We want to get into mobile, and our view is that consumer and business events, while they have a lot of similarities, are different enough that we thought we’d buy what are essentially the market leaders in both spaces.”

While Cvent wants to be able to offer the total package to event planners, they also aren’t looking to insist only on bundled services. Both Seed Labs and CrowdCompass will retain their home offices in their respective cities, and they’ll also sell their services individually of Cvent’s overarching event planning and management tools. Aggarwal said his company recognizes that customers may already be deeply engaged in other event planning platforms, and they don’t want to make that an impediment to using Cvent’s new mobile app building services.

In our last article about Cvent, we talked about the comeback story the company mounted, going from significant lay-offs thanks to economic weakness, to a $136 million round raised last summer. Now, the company is spending some of that cash building up its expertise in a crucial area, one which could help it sway customers away from Eventbrite (which just passed $1 billion in gross event ticket sales) and others as enterprise and consumer attention turns to mobile. This isn’t the end, either; Aggarwal told us that the company will definitely be looking at other startup acquisition targets down the road, with the end goal of providing event planners and attendees with the best implementations of technology available to them.

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