In case folks hadn’t figured it out already, the company to which I referred in a post a while back was La Jolla-based EVDB. Yes, I know, some people don’t like the space and/or what the company is doing, but I’m in agreement with EVDB seed investor Esther Dyson on this one (and I’m especially fond of Esther having used a semi-colon in her blurb — you just don’t see those often enough in funding press releases):
“Right now, event information is messy; you can’t search for where your favorite artist will be appearing, or the next conference about space travel in Arizona, or anything interesting in Marina del Rey next Saturday. More than that, I expect EVDB will support uses we can’t even dream of, such as competitive intelligence for event planners and hospitality providers, online communities around performers and conferences, event ratings from users…and things we really can’t dream of so I can’t even list them.”
Anyway, EVDB came out of stealth last week at PC Forum, and this week it announced that it had closed a financing round with Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Omidyar Network, and others.
So, why do I like what EVDB is doing? Herewith the reasons:
Most people who are trying to do this are over-regional, over-focused on music and twenty-something events, and are sparse sparse sparse.
Most people are stuck to the dated web-based calendar metaphor. A web-based calendar doesn’t work because any sufficiently comprehensive calendar is so overloaded with data that it is literally unreadable. A better approach is an exposed API for a user-editable service (okay, a wiki) via which people can access & change the data.
Most people are trying to do it themelves and/or relying over-heavily on scraping. The problem is too big to do if you have to pay staff, so the right approach is to goal the blog-o-sphere to get involved, which is what Brian Dear is doing. Similarly, disambiguating and structuring event data is too hard a text-analysis problem to do with a pure spidering/scraping approach, so you need someone doing the heavy lifting of cleaning your data cheaply for you.
- Most people aren’t thinking about how they can make the data useful to people other than people attending or hosting the event. Well, the conference/meeting business is a multi-billion dollar industry in North America alone, and most of that industry is in the … aaaaaiiiie, long tail, which means, as Esther allude to above, that services like EVDB which enable access to data about smaller events are immensely useful for competitive intelligence — and that a host of other applications will emerge just because we have exposed the data.
- Most people want to brand their own site. While being the “Google of search” might seemingly require that, we are already past the point where it makes sense for every new search player to create their own consumer-centric platform. Instead it makes sense to use other search platforms, like A9, or event direct to pre-existing calendars, and pipe data in via APIs, etc.
- Most importantly, it solves a problem for me. I have tried most of its supposed competitors, from the newly-revised Upcoming.org on outward, and the rest of ‘em just don’t cut it.