This week I'm proud to highlight the success of SparkLabKC Class of 2015 graduate company PopBookings, founded by Erika Klotz and Scott Hanson. PopBookings connects event staffing companies with qualified talent in their market and provides the resources to manage them. They allow their clients to save time finding, booking, scheduling, and paying qualified, pre-screened event staffing professionals. Their platform has made event staffing simple in the up-and-coming experiential marketing and event space.
This past April, PopBookings opened their seed round with $100,000 from a local investor, which will allow Erika and Scott to continue developing their platform and providing solutions to their expanding customer base. I had the opportunity to speak with Erika about this exciting achievement and how she and Scott are achieving success after the accelerator program.
Taking the Right Steps
Motivation and drive are the keys to success in the startup world, and the PopBookings team came into SparkLabKC not just with a great idea, but a work-ethic that we knew would lead to exciting things. Informed by their experiences running a local modeling agency, Scott and Erika saw a need for a platform that could improve the existing process of managing talent for events and set out to build it. They spent their time at SparkLabKC taking advantage of every resource at their disposal to prove their concept and build their business. Erika reflects that,
"It was about us taking advantage of what SparkLab had to offer and the resources they have available. Really, from day one, working hard to make those connections and to test and prove concepts of the business and really work on getting traction during the program. We were able to get a couple of beta customers on board to give us feedback and at the end of the program our concept was more than just an idea."
By using the resources that SparkLabKC offered to the fullest degree, Erika and Scott were able to turn their idea into a reality and learn how to continue developing their business in the future. Their hard work is paying off now.
A "Surreal" Moment
In April of 2015, PopBookings landed a major investor who kicked off their seed round in a big way. That first investment is a huge vote of confidence for the team, and paves the way for more investors to come on board. When their investor signed on, Erika says,
"It was surreal. That’s probably the best word to describe it. You know, we thrive off of people believing in us, and giving us that first check and putting his faith in us really pushed us to do even better and to move even faster."
With a major first step achieved, Erika and Scott got a major infusion of energy and enthusiasm for their product. This investment spurs PopBookings into a new phase in their growth.
Looking to the Future
When it comes to the future of PopBookings, Erika and Scott are rightfully optimistic. Erika says that they hope to finish their seed round in the next few months. They continue to pursue local investors and are also considering options outside of Kansas City. I have no doubt this talented and motivated team is heading for even bigger things as they grow.
Their initial $100,000 investment provides the ability to accelerate the development of the PopBookings platform, create a mobile interface, and continue to meet their target customers needs in a fast-growing segment of the market. Erika notes,
"The reason we were raising capital was a speed-to-market strategy and to speed up development. Our MVP was proof of concept and we had a list of features that we had real customers telling us they wanted to see, but we didn’t have the manpower to get it done fast. So, to beat our competition and to make this go a little faster, we needed some growth capital. We also want to stay ahead of our competition by going mobile. Right now we’re web based and that will increase revenue but we need to be mobile. "
The PopBookings team's first-hand experience in their market, coupled with an in demand service and extraordinary drive leaves us with no doubt that this is the first in a series of exciting developments for the company. Opening their seed round with an outstanding investment is just the beginning. Congratulations Erika and Scott!
(image by T. Maxwell Wagner)