How EventBoard Utilizes Technology to Influence Behavior Inside Silicon Valley and Beyond
EventBoard has changed the way companies calendar.
It’s a tale as old as time. You and your team have a meeting scheduled. You make your way to the conference room, only to find another team already camped around the table. They just need a few more minutes, they tell you, which in office time means 45. Or didn’t you see the schedule, they ask, and you ask if they are talking about that clipboard on the fridge everyone ignores while reaching for their lunch. Yeah, that one. They totally wrote their meeting on that schedule. And this is a really important project they need to finish. But don’t they know that your project is also really important and there’s only the one conference room? And that you’re under a deadline? And that no, you can’t go to Starbucks, it’s too noisy and your laptop batteries will never last? Can nothing be done about the scheduling anarchy?
“Sharing space in a company comes with a lot of unwritten rules. This problem gets amplified because resource scheduling, like booking a conference room, has no accountability or visibility,” says Zach Holmquist, co-founder of EventBoard. “With EventBoard we want to begin revealing how a space is being used, who is using it and why, and then looking at how we can begin optimizing the space and using that data to begin influencing better behavior.”
Holmquist was working at Neutron Interactive in 2011 when he realized he needed to learn how to develop on iOS or lose out on the massive opportunities mobile technology was offering. Lucky for Holmquist, learning and growth were encouraged at Neutron Interactive, so he was able to experiment and figure out just what his iOS development project would be. Holmquist knew office scheduling was a problem, and with the recent release of the iPad and the increase in mobile capabilities, he felt it was a problem he could maybe fix.
And then, inspiration hit, in that, the most serene and meditative of places — the freeway. “I drew a sketch when I was stuck in traffic on I-215 under a nexus of huge power lines out by the Maverick Center,” Holmquist says.
That sketch was quickly developed into an app and submitted to the App Store just a few short days after the traffic jam epiphony. However, Holmquist soon learned that EventBoard as an App was going to limit the idea’s potential. “We quickly realized it is hard to build an enterprise SaaS product on a platform where the expectation is that everything costs $0.99,” he says. “Once we figured that out, the possibilities of what EventBoard could become were much bigger.”
Holmquist continued to develop EventBoard as a side project at Neutron Interactive, where the company’s owners, Dan Caffee and Shaun Ritchie, allowed 20 percent of his time to be devoted to EventBoard, and actually became the first investors. Holmquist’s project eventually turned into a research and development department, then into its own company, when Ritchie joined as CEO and helped secure $1.5 million in funding from Google Ventures, Zetta Ventures, Marc Benioff, Josh James, and a handful of other investors.
“What EventBoard is today, a cloud-based SaaS Enterprise product, is a wildly evolved product from our humble beginnings as ‘just an app’,” Holmquist says.
EventBoard has changed the way companies calendar. “What EventBoard has done is expose calendar data to a physical location and allow what was previously dark data to be seen,” Holmquist says. “A byproduct of being able to see the data is that it has become a visible agreement of using a space. Companies use EventBoard as a contract and people begin shifting their behavior and following what is on the display. It is an interesting situation where technology is influencing behavior, and we find that concept absolutely fascinating and game-changing in enterprise.”
The company has grown its customer base by 300 percent in the last year, with customers ranging from top names in Silicon Valley to Fortune 500 companies. Often, after a company’s EventBoard trial ends, management will call in a panic pleading to have functionality turned back on to keep their office from ascending into chaos. Many EventBoard customers have even gone so far as to call the service a cultural shift.
The recent $1.5 million in funding has allowed the company to further staff the company and fuel technology and sales. EventBoard has partnerships in the works with some well-known tech companies and is working to open doors at some larger traditional enterprise companies.
“But there is much more that needs to be done as we continue to analyze and discover new ways to make work work for every individual in the company,” Holmquist says. “We want to become a mission critical tool through an entire organization, and surface insights through analytics. By quantifying the workplace and using technology as an influencer for optimization, we can revolutionize how that company views itself and everything in it.”
Chances are, offices all over the world will finally retire the fridge clipboard and prevent any future conference room brawls. All thanks to EventBoard.