What is the biggest issue that local event organizers--health and family fairs, sports events, and so on--have? Los Angeles-based Planana (www.planana.com) found out it's getting sponsors for their events. Anna Sergeeva is co-founder of the company, and tells us how the firm pivoted from its former life as trueRSVP, focused on event RSVPs, into instead helping event organizers round up sponsors.
What is Planana?
Anna Sergeeva: What Planana does, is it connects sponsors to events, where it's more than just their logo on a banner. Planana is a reward platform that has perks like benefits, such as discounts to tickets to attendees who engage with their brands.
How did you decide to switch over what you were doing and launch Planana?
Anna Sergeeva: After we raised a round of funding from the Tech Coast Angels and USC, we spent a few months really getting to know the events space. We talked with organizers, walked through events with them, and planned events ourselves, to understand and find the problem. We found the opportunity which we're now targeting, which is the sponsorship market. It's really fragmented and difficult for organizers to get quality sponsors, and find sponsors to connect with. So, we pivoted from focusing on RSVPs to Planana.
How does Planana work?
Anna Sergeeva: We launched into public beta around two months ago. Through that, organizations can post their events, work with sponsors, and provide information about their demographics and locations. Sponsors can find events in locations that they want to be in, and find quality events through our platform.
What kinds of sponsors would use this?
Anna Sergeeva: We see that consumer product goods companies, anyone trying to reach people, use the platform. The kinds of events are fitness and health events, and family and mom-targeted events.
When did you figure out this was a bigger problem than what you were originally targeting?
Anna Sergeeva: It was January of February when we realized this was the big opportunity. There wasn't an exact point, it was just through interviewing dozens of planners that we figured out that this was the largest pain point.
What's the biggest thing you've learned so far as a startup?
Anna Sergeeva: I think it's really important to listen to your customers. As entrepreneurs, you like to say you work for yourself, but you really work for your customers. We've made a conscious effort, once a week, to get out there and talk to people that use our platform. That type of feedback has helped us develop a lot as a startup.
Finally, how are things going so far?
Anna Sergeeva: It's going really well, and we're absolutely excited about the traciton that we've gotten so far.