Keys to Financial Success for Attendease: Capital Efficiency and Non-Dilutive Finance
TIMIA Capital recently announced a $1 million investment facility for Attendease, a Vancouver BC-based event management technology company. Following the announcement, the TIMIA team caught up with Attendease CEO, Todd Heintz, and Marketing Growth Manager, Julia Sousa, to find out more about where the company came from — and where it plans to go next!
Attendease’s Growth Journey
Attendease provides event teams with powerful event management software that serves as a foundation for all event planning and execution tasks. The Attendease platform is tailored to corporate event teams of all sizes, centralized or dispersed. It helps teams plan, manage, and execute any corporate event — regardless of whether it is big or small, online or in-person.
Established in 2004, Attendease began its journey working closely with corporate events teams to build solutions to fit their unique needs. The company evolved from being a services business to become a full recurring revenue SaaS business. Today, Attendease boasts customers like Adobe, Autodesk, SXSX, Mattel, and NBC.
“Growing a SaaS business is really tough,” said Todd Heinz, CEO of Attendease. “If you’re doing it right, getting to $2 million in annual recurring revenue (ARR) should take a lot less time than getting to the first $1 million in ARR.”
The subscription side of Attendease’s business has grown between 50% and 100% annually for the past four years and is continuing to see strong growth in monthly recurring revenue (MRR).
Making Events Uneventful for Organizers
Even before the global pandemic, being an event manager consistently ranked as one of the most stressful jobs in the world. That’s why Attendease’s mission is to make events uneventful for the event organizers.
“Our platform has a lot of automation and other functionality to make life easier for event organizers, removing any friction or unnecessary steps,” said Todd. “It’s easy to clone events, create event series, and manage everything — from the registration, websites, email communications, session scheduling, etc. — all within the Attendease platform.”
As most events moved online during the COVID-19 pandemic, Attendease supported its customers in their switch to digital events.
The Attendease platform always had the ability to integrate with web-based video tools like Zoom and WebEx. However, Attendease is preparing to launch major new virtual event capabilities in the platform that tie together the core event management and event delivery functionality. “Customers want an integrated experience versus using disparate systems and we’ve always prided ourselves on creating customer-driven products,” said Todd.
TIMIA’s investment will help Attendease accelerate the sales and marketing efforts for this new complete platform offering.
Building a Spirited, Fast-Acting Team
While Attendease has operated a distributed employee model for over two years, there is no shortage of culture or collaboration.
“Our team is very diverse, with employees who are from all over the world, and have faced different challenges and upbringings, contributing to our culture,” said Julia Sousa, Marketing Growth Manager at Attendease. “From the outset, our leadership team has been great at facilitating social interactions for our remote team. During the COVID-19 lockdown, the leadership team continued to foster this community spirit, while also encouraging employees to support local businesses such as hosting remote team gatherings where staff ordered food from favorite local restaurants and enjoyed some virtual social time.”
Attendease prides itself on having a collaborative team and a flat structure. The leadership team is actively working to formalize some of their inherent culture initiatives. “We’re starting to invest more in things like employee training and development, objective-based variable compensation, and formalizing more flexible work options,” said Todd.
Julia commented on how the leadership team acts fast to react to external issues as they arise. “When the Black Lives Matter movement gained traction, Todd acted immediately to mobilize our team and communicate our company’s support.”
Acting fast is inherent to how Attendease operates. “It’s just what we do,” said Todd. “We make decisions, document them, and mobilize quickly. Rarely do we suffer from analysis paralysis.”
Capital Efficiency is a Core Business Practice
There is a perception that the event management space is crowded. There are a lot of players in subcategories like attendee experience management, beacon technology, and so on. However, there are just a handful of platform players in the space.
“We’ve had to become incredibly capital-efficient to get to a point of profitability — partly out of necessity, but also out of preference. But that’s something I’m really proud of. We’ve gotten to where we are today with minimal outside money. Now we’re on a really good trajectory, we’re profitable, and we’re ready to move to the next stage of growth.The learnings we took from being capital efficient sets us up for success in the long term.”
Every day, the team examines the company’s capital efficiency. “Knowing when to pour money into sales and marketing versus into product development and vice versa is very important. I liken it to playing chess. We need to think several months ahead and move the budget and resources around to prepare for what’s next.”
Letting Growth Strategy Drive Funding Strategy
“Not every business should seek out venture capital,” advises Todd. “We prefer to grow our business in a sustainable, deliberate way, creating value for our customers and value for our team organically, whenever possible.”
“I’m not against VC funding but it didn’t make sense for our business. And that forced us to be really capital efficient and source other financing mechanisms. I think the idea that only companies that get that venture funding are successful is being challenged today.”
Why Revenue-Based Finance from TIMIA
For Attendease, non-dilutive financing from TIMIA made more sense than venture capital.
Venture funding doesn’t guarantee success. For Attendease, the addition of smaller, non-dilutive capital injections as we grow organically makes sense and keeps everyone’s expectations in check,” said Todd. “This approach allows us to continue on our strong growth path, add capital incrementally, and ultimately still win in the long run.”
Attendease is ready to continue on its deliberate, sustainable growth path and we’re delighted to partner with them as they continue their journey supporting event marketers with reliable event technology.