DoubleDutch has seen record growth as a company that builds mobile apps for conferences, events and tradeshows. Its platform enables “live engagement marketing,” which CEO Lawrence Coburn explains is a new kind of product that tries to “engage attendees on their smartphones.” A paper guide can’t keep up with changes, he points out, but the mobile platform offers additional advantages to both the event attendee and the event planner. As the user interacts with the program on the phone, it generates data such as making recommendations on sessions to attend, companies to check out, and who to meet. There’s also an analytics dashboard, exhibitor tools and other features that are useful to an event planner. “It will help them learn how to throw better events,” Coburn says.
“We’re riding off the mobile wave,” he says, using advances in technology that enable high-quality cloud programs over the Internet, and the social networking and messaging craze. “It feels like Facebook and Instagram on purpose. We want people interacting and making it a two-way conversation at these events.”
The San Francisco-based company chose Phoenix as home for its major expansion, after a six-month search. Access to talent was one reason; Coburn notes particularly the 15,000 students who graduate every year from ASU. “We’ve seen other Silicon Valley companies be successful — such as Yelp and Weebly — and that’s a sign of quality for us.” And the atmosphere in Downtown Phoenix “resonated with us,” he says. “We felt real momentum with the entrepreneur community.”
Phoenix’s cost of living is another advantage, especially for entry-level employees, Coburn explains, observing that the cost of living in San Francisco is “out of control.” Phoenix is conveniently close for trainings and to allow officers and managers to visit the operations here. “Culture is important; it’s the reason people join [our company] and stay. The short trip from San Francisco is important to make sure there’s a lot of back and forth between the two offices.”