How much of your company’s workday is claimed by meetings of questionable value? Who spends the most time in them? Could your organization’s conference room space be put toward a better use?
You may not know the answers to those questions, but Salt Lake City-based startup EventBoard—a Utah company that launched in 2014 with seed backing from the founders of Salesforce, InsideSales, and Domo—is making its business to find out.
EventBoard's meeting management system combines any Apple iPad tablet with cloud software that tracks and displays metrics like when meetings are scheduled, what resources (such as videoconferencing equipment) are available in specific rooms, who usually shows up late (based on digital check-ins), and how long sessions actually last compared with how long they’re scheduled to run. Participants log in and out of meetings manually, or the system can be set up to track people automatically through room sensors or beacons in their company ID badges.
On Wednesday, the company disclosed $6.5 million in Series A funding led by Greycroft Partners with Origin Ventures to build out even more analytical insights that help eliminate useless gatherings and make better use limited office space. “People meet every day and with meetings becoming an increasingly bigger part of employees’ working hours," said EventBoard co-founder and CEO Shaun Ritchie. "It’s important to make them as productive as possible.”
How much longer are people spending talking to each other rather than delivering against product plans or strategic initiatives? EventBoard cites figures suggesting that average amount of time employees spend 35% to 50% of their working hours in meetings. That’s a substantial amount of time. There are also a lot of conference rooms in the United States, easily more than 7 million, according to the last time Wainhouse Research tried to count.
So far, EventBoard’s technology has been embraced by 1,100 companies including insurance giant MassMutual, hospitality company Airbnb, ride-sharing concern Uber, messaging startup Slack, media and entertainment powerhouse Disney, and social network Pinterest. The application can be integrated with existing calendar systems (Google Apps, Microsoft Exchange, and Office 365) for scheduling purposes.
But the conference room is already crowded with similar solutions. EventBoard’s competition includes established companies such as Crestron and Steelcase, both of which sell similar, but proprietary products. What makes EventBoard’s approach unique is its ability to offer insights that are centralized in a cloud service, so they can be seen by managers across the entire company not just one location.