The momentum is surging for Sacramento-based Webconnex as nonprofits, race organizers and others look for an easy, affordable alternative to giants such as Eventbrite.com and Active.com.
Longtime readers of this column will recall that Webconnex partners Eric Knopf and John Russell started out by building a registration platform for organizers of 5K runs, bike rides, endurance races and the like. In 2008, though, nonprofits asked them to create an online application that would let them process donations. The duo politely declined, suggesting they use products already in the marketplace.
The nonprofits didn’t like the cost or requirements of those apps, however, and after several more appeals, they brought Knopf and Russell around. Webconnex now offers a suite of registration, giving and ticketing platforms to for-profit and nonprofit entities: RedPodium, which registers participants in sporting events; RegFox for conferences, retreats and other events; GivingFuel for charitable giving; and ticketspice for general-admission concerts or events.
“We last met you (in December 2012) when we’d just passed the $100 million threshold for our customer volume,” Knopf said, “but we are on track to probably reach $400 million this year in total volume. Our growth doubles every 10 to 12 months.”
While competitors such as EventBrite and Active.com sought venture capital money to expand rapidly, Knopf and Russell say they are happy with their organic growth. Their offices remain on Capitol Mall, but they have expanded their space and amenities. They now have roughly 6,000 customers, up from 2,000 at the end of 2012. Their client list includes such blue-chip names as Google, the American Red Cross and Stanford University, but because the solutions are affordable, they also appeal to smaller entities such as Fleet Feet, county fairs and others.
“We’re at a point now where we’re really gaining momentum,” Russell said. “What’s fun to see is when I go to register for an event, and it’s our software, or I go to make a donation and it’s our software.”