Almost $280 billion is spent each year on corporate events in the U.S., and brands are spending more and more on experiential marketing. With this comes a growing industry of supporting services – fabrication shops building pop-up structures, new types of entertainment for hire, and of course traditional categories like florists and caterers who are innovating their services to be the first call for that next Google gig. The event planning industry is expected to grow faster than average over the next ten years. But currently there isn’t a technology platform that facilitates this market of people planning corporate events and with the venues and professionals on whom they depend to make their event a success. As a result, both sides rely on frustrating Google searches (or website SEO) and word-of-mouth to do business. The Vendry is building the platform where corporate event planners will find inspiration and hire the best agencies, venues and vendors they need for their events.
Founder Daphne Hoppenot '10 (a member of the PEC Alumni Advisory Board) shared the story as to how The Vendry came to be. "I was planning my wedding and couldn’t believe how hard it was to source and manage vendors (it was in France so the typical American sites weren’t helpful for me). I found myself navigating Instagram to find the vendors I needed - for example going to an Instagram account of a wedding planner whose aesthetic I vibed with and seeing what florists she'd tagged, then reaching out to them. At the same time going to all these vendor websites I saw that they consistently marketed themselves via event galleries of their previous work. What killed me is that I saw they were spending so much time uploading these galleries to their website, but it was done in a way that was highly un-optimized for Google search."
Hoppenot figured out a way to build a platform that allowed event businesses to upload their work that was optimized for searching and would bring their work the most visibility possible. As she dove more into the event industry she became very excited about the potential opportunity within corporate events and the growing experiential marketing industry so she chose to focus her attention there. "What's really fun about corporate events is that there's a really, really wide range of events that are hosted from a small influencer PR dinner, to a funky Coachella activation, to a huge sales conference," said Hoppenot. "Lots of businesses that cater to these budgets don't have anywhere but Instagram and their own website to market their services so we've gotten a really good response from the supply side of the market."
As a Princeton alum, she says: "I really owe my career to Princeton because I ended up getting my first job - at Yext, which at the time was a startup, through one of my Princeton classes. I'd have to say that being in New York has allowed me to stay in close touch with both the faculty at Princeton and the alumni network. There's a strong sense of support and community from Princeton that will stay with you your whole life, and I've benefited greatly from it both personally and professionally." When asked what advice she would give to the college-age her, she replied: "Stop being so afraid of failure or not making enough money and start being afraid of living an uninteresting, predictable life."
For more information on The Vendry, visit thevendry.co.