OneLobby is a young tech company based in Halifax that provides a social platform for attendees of large conferences, helping them to make meaningful connections with other attendees and presenters before, during and after the conference.
Having launched the company last year, Smith’s social media platform has already been used by six different events, and the feedback from the conference and participants has been great, he said. The conferences have included a major tech conference in Ottawa in January and PodCamp in Dartmouth, also in January.
The company has enough traction that OneLobby is one of 10 startups presenting at Plannertech conference. The event May 15 at the Heartland Brewery in the Empire State Building is being billed as a chance to meet “ten companies changing the event planning landscape and providing new ways for your clients to get the most out of their events.”
OneLobby lets people attending a conference learn about who else is attending and then connect with one another. They can recommend or post feedback on various functions, discuss topics being debated at the conference and track down people with similar interests to themselves.
“We’re presenting the idea and the technology,” said Smith, sitting in his favorite coffee shop. ``We have four minutes to present and then we have the whole night to network and mingle.”
The U.S. exposure will be helpful as his sales so far have been in Canada, and the company does have competitors operating in the U.S. and U.K.
Smith is now working on developing the platform so it will provide organizers with a report on each event at a conference – how many signed up, how many attended, what the feedback was.
Smith is very much in bootstrapping mode and has begun his company with $38,000 in capital, which he received from the Centre for Entrepreneurship, Education and Development, Business Development Bank of Canada and the Canadian Youth Business Foundation.
He is now hoping to raise a seed round of about $250,000 and to hire a chief technology officer.
“I know what I need to do to be commercial ready,” he said. “We’re not there yet but I’d say we’re three-quarters of the way there.”