This article was originally published on Mashable.
Events are excellent for building your brand and connecting with your customers. But for all the time, effort and money you put into planning and executing an event, wouldn't it be nice if the buzz started well before and continued well beyond the actual event time?
This is something Ben Hindman discovered when he ran events for Thrillist—he had to reinvent the wheel every time he planned an event. He knew there was room in the marketplace for a better events tool, so he and co-founder Brett Boskoff designed and developed the tool that Hindman needed.
"As we started using Splash more and more, it just became clear that the world needed this," says Hindman.
The result is Splash, a tool that lets brands and individuals alike build online communities around events. Hindman does away with one-and-done events, aiming to extend the lifespan of the event via compelling design and useful (read: not spammy) social integrations.
In the past year, the company has gone from servicing 15 event planners to 60,000 planners. Since its March 2012 launch, Splash has powered more than 70,000 events and captured 2.5 million RSVPs. The site is redefining how people think of your typical event, too—Splash is powering New York City's Talking Transition, a socially enabled activation that's sourcing feedback from New Yorkers for Mayor Bill de Blasio.
With a lean team of 10, the company recently experienced its first month in the black, raking in revenues from ticketing fees (2 percent + $1 per ticket), premium upgrades, and enterprise sales to clients including MLB, Spotify, Facebook, Google and Vespa. (The company also had $240,000 of seed funding in May 2012.)
Splash powers the entire event process, from the invitation and the customizable landing page to event emails, analytics and budgeting. At the live event, Splash can power a social gallery and live feed of the tweets and Instagrams posted at the event, which can be found post-event in a searchable gallery (along with a photo drop). After the event, Splash serves as a CRM tool, tracking every interaction to help brands connect with the attendees and encourage conversation among attendees, now that they have a relationship based on the shared event experience.
"We're seeing brands and individuals alike leverage the power of the shared experience to bring together their community around a cause, a movement or an idea," says Hindman. "Many—usually the best—of these events are not money-makers, but instead are ways to build support through passion and numbers."
Watch the video above to see how Hindman got his company off the ground and how offering a soup-to-nuts product has proven to be a useful tool for your birthday party, your small business, Amstel Light and even the City of New York.