What's New: Snappening.com

February 8, 2012
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Welcome to What’s New Wednesday, where we profile local startups—and the entrepreneurs behind them. This week, we meet Crystal Grave, who launched Snappening.com in April.

Type of business: Online event planning resources

Address: P.O. Box 2765, Indianapolis, 46206

Phone: 520-1352

E-mail: info@snappening.com

Website: www.snappening.com

Founded: April 2011

Owner: Crystal Grave

Owner’s background: Grave, 34, has a marketing degree from the University of Indianapolis, an MBA in finance from Butler University and 15 years of experience in sales and marketing.

She got her start as a promotions assistant (and then VIP coordinator) for the World Mardi Gras entertainment complex, then moved on to positions with the Indianapolis Star, Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and Music for All Inc.

An admitted “type A” personality, Grave said she wanted the personal challenge that came from building a business from scratch.

Most recently, she spent nearly five years as business development manager at law firm Barnes & Thornburg LLP, leaving to start the company she’d been planning since 2009.

“I thought if I didn’t do this before I turned 35, it was going to get too scary,” Grave said. “So I forced myself to go out and be scared.”

Why started business: During her corporate marketing days, Grave occasionally was called on to help orchestrate special events—and realized the process often was an “enormous waste of time” because there wasn’t a single source of information on local venues or event planners consumers could turn to for help.

So she set out to provide a comprehensive, searchable online database.

Graves convened focus groups to solicit input on the idea, and “took them along” as she developed the business. She even let focus groups pick the name and tag line—“event planning, in a snap”—despite her own misgivings.

“I’m glad I didn’t let myself stand in the way,” she said.

Grave also assembled a stable of “partner” organizations she consulted with and hired to handle specific tasks like programming, search engine optimization and website design.

And though she remains sole owner of Snappening, she said their input was invaluable.

“As an entrepreneur, one of the biggest things you lose in the short-term is a leadership team—somebody else to bounce ideas off of, someone to poke holes in your logic,” she said.

Competitive advantage: In less than a year, Snappening.com has compiled information on 1,600 event venues and 90 event planners—the most comprehensive database of its kind in central Indiana, Grave said.

Grave said her knowledge of and connections to the central Indiana event marketplace also is advantage, helping Snappening keep its databases updated.

“It needs a human being who knows what’s going on in the city,” she said. “Snappening was built with end users in mind.”

A basic listing is free, but venues and planners can pay for “premium” services—prices are tiered based on size—that include online tools and promotional efforts.

“We want to help our clients be remembered all year long,” Grave said.

Consumers can search for free or pay for premium subscriptions that allow them to create their own event pages and photo galleries, receive multiple quotes simultaneously and accept online RSVPs.

Startup cost: $350,000

Funding source: Personal savings, SBA-backed loan

Potential problem and contingency plan: Even the most comprehensive database isn’t worth much if no one searches it. So Grave has spent time and effort “creating reasons” for people to come to Snappening.com.

Super Bowl XLVI was a golden opportunity. The company built at least three special online landing pages tied to the big game and compiled a venue guide to help out-of-town planners navigate the Indianapolis market.

Grave said the website had record traffic on Jan. 23—the day after the New York Giants and New England Patriots secured their spots in the NFL championship—and signed on several new clients in the weeks leading up to the festivities.

First-year goal: Grave aims to establish a “strong relationship” with at least 10 percent of the central Indiana venue and event-planning marketplace—signing them on as underwriting partners or serious prospects.

She hopes to parlay Snappening.com’s Super Bowl win into additional business in Indianapolis and eventually elsewhere. But she knows it won’t be easy.

“You’ve got to work it,” she said.
 

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  • Great Site!
    If you plan meetings and have not checked out Snappening.com you need to do so, today. Also, if you have not met Crystal you need to do that as well. She is one of the most pleasant and knowledgeable business owners I have ever met! Great Job Crystal!!
    • Thanks Craig!
      Appreciate all your kind words of support, and am glad to see users enjoying our site. Always feels good to have something work out the way you intended.
    • A great resource!
      Finding a venue for an event is a time consuming task. Snappening allow the user to send a "blast" to several venues at once cutting hours into several minutes. This is a great resource.

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    1. why oh why does this state continue to elect these people....do you wonder how much was graft out of the 3.8 billion?

    2. i too think this is a great idea. I think the vision and need is there as well. But also agree with Wendy that there may be better location in our city to fulfill this vision and help grow the sports of hockey and figure skating in Indy. Also to help further develop other parts of the city that seem often forgotten. Any of the other 6 townships out side of the three northernmost could benefit greatly from a facility and a vision like this. For a vision that sounds philanthropic, the location is appears more about the money. Would really like to see it elsewhere, but still wish the development the best of luck, as we can always use more ice in the city. As for the Ice growth when they return, if schedules can be coordinated with the Fuel, what could be better than to have high level hockey available to go see every weekend of the season? Good luck with the development and the return of the Ice.

    3. How many parking spaces do they have at Ironworks? Will residents have reserved spaces or will they have to troll for a space among the people that are there at Ruth Chris & Sangiovese?

    4. You do not get speeding ticket first time you speed and this is not first time Mr.Page has speed. One act should not define a man and this one act won't. He got off with a slap on the wrist. I agree with judge no person was injured by his actions. The state was robbed of money by paying too much rent for a building and that money could have been used for social services. The Page family maybe "generous" with their money but for most part all of it is dirty money that he obtained for sources that are not on the upright. Page is the kind of lawyer that gives lawyers a bad name. He paid off this judge like he has many other tine and walked away. Does he still have his license. I believe so. Hire him to get you confiscated drug money back. He will. It will cost you.

    5. I remain amazed at the level of expertise of the average Internet Television Executive. Obviously they have all the answers and know the business inside and out.

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