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DoubleDutch looks to digitize events and conferences

Mobile event technology and event performance company DoubleDutch announced a $45 million round of growth financing led by KKR, with participation from existing investors Bessemer Venture Partners, Index Ventures and others. The company cites global expansion, sales and marketing and targeted acquisitions as the primary use of proceeds.

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“We are thrilled to team up with KKR to tackle this next stage of growth,” said Lawrence Coburn, CEO, DoubleDutch. “The $565 billion spent annually on events and conferences – the biggest marketing spend in the world – is running blind. We believe that DoubleDutch can help.”

DoubleDutch serves corporate events, associations, and tradeshows, providing a best-in-class mobile application for attendees on the front end, and near real-time event performance analytics for event organizers on the back end, complete with sentiment analysis and engagement benchmarks.

“It’s an exciting time to be in software,” said Nicholas Clark, CTO, DoubleDutch. “For the first time, we have the ability to instrument the physical world like we would a website, a phenomenon that has the potential to completely reinvent how events and conferences are run, managed, and measured. Marketers no longer need to run blind when it comes to events.”

DoubleDutch has more than 1,000 customers and now employs more than 260 people around the world in San Francisco, Amsterdam, London, Hong Kong, and Portland.

“We are growing well north of 100 percent year over year, and see no signs of things slowing down,” said Pankaj Prasad, co-founder and global head of sales, DoubleDutch. “Our product is being adopted all over the world by events of all sizes, and in any industry, in order to measure their success.”

To date, the company has sold primarily to event organizers and planners, but has plans to help deliver more ROI to the event industry’s sponsors and exhibitors, in the process, unlocking new revenue streams for organizers.

Events sit at the intersection of three key stakeholders: attendees, exhibitors, and organizers, and have all the elements of a classic, multi-sided market. The software opportunity for the category is broader than just digitizing the event program. By leveraging its command of the data coming from the show floor, DoubleDutch provides an opportunity for attendees to enjoy a personalized and curated experience, organizers to benchmark and optimize event performance, and exhibitors to ensure they do not leave leads on the table.

DoubleDutch offers a SaaS-like pricing model in which customers gain year-round access to mobile apps and event analytics, giving them the ability to run, manage, and evaluate all of the events within their portfolio.

“DoubleDutch is designing for the next stage of social as well as data to drive smarter decision making for marketers,” said Annie Tsai, chief customer officer, DoubleDutch. “The future of event tech is marketing driven innovation, not logistics, and I think our customers appreciate this.”

“As more and more companies look for reliable data to measure the success of their marketing programs, Double Dutch provides the perfect platform to inform their strategy and decisions,” said Ted Oberwager of KKR. “We look forward to working with team to help grow the business.”

For KKR, the investment is part of the firm’s growth equity strategy, which is focused on market-leading, high-growth companies for which KKR can be a unique partner in helping reach scale and the next level of growth. KKR is funding the investment from the balance sheet of KKR & Co. LP.

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