Editor’s Note: Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.
InGo, a company based at 2500 Wilson Blvd in Courthouse, helps bring people to events by analyzing social media activity and finding friends that would also be interested in attending an event. It then gives people the option to invite these friends to the event.
InGo runs a widget on registration pages for events. When someone registers for a large conference or festival, the InGo widget gives people the option to sign up using their Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn profiles.
Once the registration is completed, InGo shows users who else is attending the event, and allows people to filter through the guest list by their social media networks. Then InGo gives a list of friends that would be interested in going and allows users to invite them.
“It is the future of events,” said CEO Michael Barnett. “It is the future of marketing.”
By inviting friends to an event, social media marketing for the event is more personalized instead of “ads and spam,” Barnett said.
“It seemed so natural to say if we’d get people to invite each other, we’ll grow the event,” he said.
InGo has helped grow attendance numbers for multiple events, Barnett said. The company now serves more than 500 events across the globe and works with 18 out of the top 20 event companies in the world. In addition to its Courthouse office, the company also has offices in Milan and London.
“One of the things I didn’t think we expected is that we’d have events on every continent as young as we are,” Barnett said.
The idea to start InGo came from companies telling Barnett that they were have trouble getting attendees to come to their events, he said.
“The challenge [for events] is how do I find you? How do I discover you? That’s what we solve,” Barnett said.
Social media was the natural answer for Barnett, and a personal invitation from a friend to attend an event grabs people’s attention more than an email ad or even an ad on Facebook, he said.
“You can imagine if you get an invitation from a friend that says I’d really like to see you. You’re going to pay attention,” Barnett said.
Invitations are personalized for each different social media type. A Facbeook invitation would be a post on the attendee’s wall that tagged the friends the person invited. Invitation’s can also be sent through LinkedIn and Twitter, and the social media sites are used based on the event. Twitter is popular with photography events, Facebook is used best with social events and LinkedIn is great for industry conferences, Barnett said.
“The entire system works because it is very genuine,” he said.
The company works with large events with millions of attendees, Barnett said. He has his eye on helping increase attendance at music and film festival South by Southwest.
The event needs more paying attendees, Barnett said, and InGo has a solution for them.
“it’s such an exciting show and a great fit,” Barnett said.