By Tom Ballard, Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurial Initiatives, Pershing Yoakley & Associates, P.C.
The year was 1999, and John Platillero was into his second month as the Founder of EventBooking, an Internet-based service designed to help entertainment venues share information on their available dates.
The company had signed-up 200 customers in its first month. There was just one problem – EventBooking’s customers were not keeping their calendars up-to-date. As a result, booking agents were not using the tool as they planned their tours.
Platillero decided he had to make a quick change. Since the initial idea was to focus on the availability of venues for concerts and other events, he dropped booking agents from the customer base, turning his attention solely to the venue managers.
“I’ve spent the last 14 years building the number one web-based venue management tool in the concert industry,” Platillero said.
To achieve that goal, he quickly focused on adding more functionality to the service beyond the initial calendar feature. This included capabilities ranging from inventory management to billing.
“We’ve been profitable since 2004,” Platillero says, adding that EventBooking has enjoyed “steady growth” of about 20 percent year over year. Its core product is EB Enterprise.
“We have more than 500 venues using us,” he proudly says, noting that one major client operates more than 100 venues around the world. Platillero also says that as much as 20 percent of the company’s revenues come from clients outside the US.
So, 14 years after eliminating the service for booking agents, Platillero is finalizing plans to reconnect with them. He’s doing so in a partnership with William Morris Endeavor, the world’s largest diversified talent agency that formerly went by the William Morris Agency name.
The product, designed to help route tours, will be called EB Connect.
“We’re beta testing it with key clients and plan to launch it at the Pollstar conference in February,” Platillero says.
Even with the new product, EventBooking’s Chief Executive Officer is not forgetting his core client group. “We will continue to build out functionality in EB Enterprise,” he says, adding, “We listen to customers better than anything, and we let them vote on enhancements.”
It was only natural that we asked Platillero about plans for another company.
“My life is more than the business,” he told us. “I’m not a serial entrepreneur.”
That said, he did add that he’s “totally energized with EB Connect. I have assembled an incredible team of very talented people who all care about building something great!”
As far as advice for other entrepreneurs, Platillero said, “Always have something achievable in sight.” Another piece of advice was to have “rational persistence and perseverance.”
Platillero also reminded us that there is nothing wrong with pivoting, again pointing to the copy of the business plan he developed while earning his MBA degree.
“The numbers were wrong, but the concept was right,” he observed. For the 20 people working for EventBooking, that’s a positive fact.