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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Sudent founds innovative event organizing tool

Published: April 19, 2013
Section: News

Most Brandeis students are involved in many groups and activities, and know firsthand the challenges of planning and promoting a large event without being certain of the amount of people that will actually attend. This is where Ethan Stein ’15 and two of his high school friends, Gabriel Schwartz and Nathan Shams, saw an opportunity to make the event planning process more efficient and successful.

Their online startup, EventLeaf, is focused on transforming the experience of hosting and attending events, and addresses “the three major headaches of planning ticketed events” according to Stein: financial risk, promotion and marketing, and organization and administration.

Financial risk is a problem for every event because event planners run the risk of selling too few tickets and falling short of profitability. “Before EventLeaf, the event host would take hundreds or thousands of dollars out of pocket, put it toward the expenses of his event, and pray that he sells enough tickets to be profitable. With EventLeaf, the event host can know in advance whether his event will be profitable or not,” Stein said.

The host determines the costs and target profit, posts the event to the site, and utilizes the “all-or-nothing crowdfunding model” to finance the event. If they sell enough tickets to reach their financial goal within the timeframe established, the attendees’ credit cards are charged, the monies are transferred, and the event happens as planned. If, when the funding period expires, the host hasn’t sold enough tickets to cover the costs and make a profit, the cards are not charged and the event is canceled.

“With EventLeaf’s all-or-nothing model, we offer guaranteed profitable events—either the host makes money, or the event doesn’t happen,” Stein said.

The second common problem is promotion and marketing. “No event planner or institution is excited by the prospect of surrendering whole chunks of their treasured profits to promoters, nor are they dying to do the marketing legwork themselves,” Stein said.

As a result, EventLeaf has a built in marketing platform called Leaf Rewards. When one pledges money to an event, they receive their own unique URL that they can promote by sending to anyone. For every person who pledges money through that URL, they get a leaf. Leaves correspond to different rewards, determined beforehand by the event host. “With Leaf Rewards, every attendee becomes a promoter—giving the event host access to social demographics he would otherwise have no access to and helping him sell more tickets more quickly,” Stein said.

The third most difficult problem in planning events is organization and administration. Independent organizations do not generally have the luxury of administrative bandwidth like offices and secretaries, making it difficult to collect money, manage marketing efforts, and track progress. But with EventLeaf, “the hectic experience of event coordination, promotion and money collection is organized onto a uniform platform where the host can easily manage their event.”

“Our infrastructure is intimately crossed with Facebook and other social media, guest lists are converted seamlessly into printable PDFs, and money transfers happen effortlessly by virtue of our website’s partnership with PayPal,” said Stein.

“With, the risk of losing money is virtually eliminated, marketing becomes a non-issue and the various aspects of management are dramatically simplified. promises to revolutionize the way we host and attend events,” he said.