Key Stats: Youcanevent on Republic
Number of Investors
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Youcanevent has been selected as a “Top Deal” by KingsCrowd. This distinction is reserved for deals selected into the top 10% of our due diligence funnel. If you have questions regarding our deal diligence and selection methodology, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to Convene, there were 1.9M events and meetings in 2016. This figure only includes gatherings of 10 or more people in a contracted venue. The events and meetings industry in the U.S. resulted in a large amount of spending. Spending in this industry includes planning, production, travel, and other expenditures.
1.9M U.S. events resulted in over $325B of spending in the United States. $120B of the $325B, however, was spent on travel alone. Given these figures and the growing demand for corporate and business events, we can guess that the total market size for vendors in the business and corporate events industry is at least over $200B. Vendors needed for business events include audiovisual, venues, catering, photographers, and more.
Event-planners in this industry must juggle communicating with various vendors like photographers, venue-holders, caterers, decorators, and more. Additionally, these event-planners are potentially negotiating with half-a-dozen different photographers, caterers, and other vendors over various media like calls, texts, and emails.
Needless to say, the process of putting on business events can be difficult for event-planners which is made even more difficult given event-planning teams tend to be small and lean.
Youcanevent is a marketplace that connects event-planners with vendors in the business events planning space. The startup acts as a unified platform for event-planners to find and get in touch with all the vendors necessary to put on an event in one place.
A single platform to communicate with all the vendors needed, helps event-planners streamline and manage the process of putting on business and corporate events. Youcanevent is similar to The Knot. The Knot is a full-stack platform for planning a wedding. The Knot helps couples get in touch with the numerous vendors needed for a wedding along with other services.
The two differ in the verticals they service – Youcanevent is for business and corporate events; The Knot is focused on weddings. Through its community-driven marketplace and vendor-first mentality, Youcanevent has built a platform with promising traction in an industry needing technological improvement.
Why We Like it
- Founders: The founders, Andrius and Antonio, have complementary backgrounds: Andrius Sperque has technical experience and was one of the lead engineers building Samsung Pay in Brazil and Antonio has experience putting on event experiences. This is, however, Andrius and Antonio’s first entrepreneurial endeavor. Although they have some experience in the meetings and events industry, the two founders do not have significant experience in the industry nor do they have experience in the U.S. events industry and should surround themselves with seasoned industry veterans either in full time or advisory positions to bolster management capability.
Additionally, the team has undergone several programs like Sequoia Labs at Stanford as well as the Blue Startups Accelerator Program. These experiences point towards the Youcanevent team potentially showing that others believe in the marketplace they’ve built.
- Business Model: Youcanevent takes a below-market rate fee paid by customers on every transaction. The average event managing platform/company charges 20-25% for production fees whereas Youcanevent charges 18%. In total, Youcanevent has taken in over $500K in transaction fees to date. Although not a SaaS model, Youcanevent has a very scalable product with the bulk of their efforts being focused on the Bay Area at this time, and plenty of room to run in various other cities across the US.
The company serves as a marketplace that connects event-vendors with corporate and business events planners. With the majority of the product built out, the team can spend most of its efforts and capital into growth, marketing, and sales.
- Differentiation: Youcanevent is a differentiated marketplace. Most “competitors” in the events space focus on one vertical, i.e. Peerspace for venues, ezCater for catering, and The Knot for wedding services, Thumbtackfor manual labor to complete various tasks associated with getting an event up and running, and business listers like Yelp that help event managers get in touch with various vendors.
There are also competitors Xing, Cvent, and Aventri that work with corporate entities, but are technologically outdated. Of all of these, the most similar to Youcanevent is the Knot. The Knot connects couples with local vendors (caterers, photographers, venues, etc.), but with its sole focus on weddings.We like that Youcanevent is focused on the broader scope business and corporate events space. The wedding services industry sits at $76B whereas the business events industry is well over $200B.
In a $200B+ category, Youcanevent has plenty of opportunity to become a large business simply by providing a seamless way to tie together the necessary vendor management to pull off corporate events.
We think that although this is a poor representation of Youcanevent’s competitors, the above graphic reinforces Youcanevent’s differentiation in the space. There really is no service out there providing a unified and simple platform to find and communicate with the vendors necessary to put on a business event.
- Customer Stickiness: Event organizers from various companies like Microsoft, Stanford GSB, Deutsche Bank, and many more have used Youcanevent and even returned to use the Youcanevent to help plan an event. Additionally, we believe that the adoption of using Youcanevent is relatively easy and will spread other event organizers easily. Being able to onboard event organizers quickly and easily is a huge plus for adoption rate and we believe the internal value of Youcanevent is fairly high. With all that, we can see other event organizers within an organization begin to utilize Youcanevent as well.
- Market Conditions: In Convene’s annual survey of corporate meeting and event planners, 40%+ of corporate event planners expected their budget to increase.
Additionally, over 40% of corporate marketers believe events to be the single-most effective marketing channel according to Bizzabo. Overall, corporate event budgets and marketing are a huge driver of growth in this industry and so long as market conditions stay constant or grow, the business events industry will remain a healthy market that provides nice tailwinds to Youcanevent’s growth.
In a market downturn, investors should track their investment in an industry focused on business events. Budgets for these types of activities are likely to shrink given these events are less of a necessary business expense. Even in a recession, however, events will happen, but on tighter budgets. Given that, a recession may help Youcanevent because of its ability to reduce cost and better track expenses on a single platform tied to event spend.
The Rating: Top Deal
In light of the poor competition in the space, the experienced team, and early traction, we are rating Youcanevent as a Top Deal. Youcanevent has a very scalable business that we believe can turn a profit. Additionally, the poor competition in this space and Youcanevent’s vendor-first marketplace will create a strong moat for Youcanevent to become a formidable competitor in the space.
Lastly, the exit opportunities are favorable for investors in the short and long-term. We can see a company like Eventbrite acquire Youcanevent to further verticalize their business and consolidate the event-planning industry.
It should be noted, however, that Eventbrite has mainly acquired companies in the ticketing software or registration space. They have made acquisitions for Picatic which was a registration platform for event organizers and ticketea which allows small-to-medium sized event organizers to promote activities and sell tickets.
Given the large size of this market, we can even see Youcanevent eventually growing large enough for an IPO. This, however, is further (7+ years) down the line.
About: Francis vu
An investment professional with a background in private equity and venture capital having spent time conducting investments at VU Venture Partners and Pacific Oak LLC with a finance and management degree from Tulane University.