A Q&A with Bloodhound co-founder and CEO Anthony Krumeich. The San Francisco–based company was founded in 2011 and closed a $4.5 million Series A funding round in mid-January. Previous to the Series A, Bloodhound raised $250K in Seed funding (in 2011). Investors include Subtraction Capital, FF Angel and 500 Startups.
SUB: Please describe Bloodhound and your value proposition.
Krumeich: Bloodhound is looking to change the way business is done at events. We want to take a very unsexy and outdated industry and make it better. The motivation is really to help make quality connections between people trying to do business. By recommending personally relevant people to meet, companies to do business with, and information, Bloodhound connects the online and in-person business worlds.
SUB: Who are your target markets and users?
Krumeich: Organizers, exhibitors, and attendees at events like trade shows, conferences, conventions, and more.
SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition?
Krumeich: Lead retrieval solutions and other event apps like Bizzabo, CrowdCompass and Zerista.
SUB: What differentiates Bloodhound from the competition?
Krumeich: We have a complete and holistic offering. Not only do we have the event app that’s free for event organizers, but we also offer a lead retrieval solution for exhibitors called Retrieve. Retrieve allows them to connect with attendees, follow up with them and qualify leads right from their smart phones.
SUB: When was the company founded and what were the first steps you took in establishing it?
Krumeich: We launched to the public in September, 2011. First steps were to set up a Board and start wireframing ideas.
SUB: What was the inspiration behind the idea for Bloodhound? Was there an ‘aha’ moment, or was the idea more gradual in developing?
Krumeich: It was very gradual. We were interested in the potential to use data coming from mobile devices to help personalize the interaction people have with the world around them. Events were a perfect place to start—so many meaningful interactions and insights are happening offline, and unstructured. We could make this smarter.
SUB: How did you come up with the name? What is the story behind it?
Krumeich: I was giving a presentation at a conference and used an expression about “helping people track things down like a Bloodhound.” Afterward we thought, “hey…Bloodhound. That’d be a great name for what we’re doing.” Getting the domain was another story.
SUB: What have the most significant obstacles been so far to building the company?
Krumeich: We serve a three-sided market, with event organizers, companies that exhibit, and attendees, who all need to get a lot of value from using our platform. It’s a very complex space to be introducing technology into that can satisfy the needs of all these groups.
SUB: You just raised $4.5 million in Series A funding. What are your plans for the funds?
Krumeich: This new round of funding allows us to iterate on the product more aggressively. We are going to hire more amazing people, move into a new space that will be able to hold our growing numbers, and keep going to as many events as possible. They’re the best forum to see our product in action.
SUB: Why was this a particularly good time to raise more outside funding?
Krumeich: Our growth over the last two quarters of 2012 was phenomenal. It was a direct result of launching our lead retrieval product, which helped perfect our distribution model. We had explosive growth for the first time.
SUB: How does the company generate revenue or plan to generate revenue?
Krumeich: By charging exhibitors for Retrieve. Usually, exhibitors are locked into buying expensive, clunky badge scanners for each event they attend. Our pricing model gives them the freedom to pay only for the leads they need and nothing more. This kind of pricing model has never been done before in the event space, so it’s a pretty cool offering.
SUB: What are your goals for Bloodhound over the next year or so?
Krumeich: Get to a critical mass of events using Bloodhound in a variety of industries, and driving a lot of engagement and repeat usage.
Bloodhound – www.bloodhound.com