Sproxxy is making it easier to measure conference spending ROI

Whenever you go to a conference, whether as a sales and marketing exercise, or an executive is speaking, there is a cost associated with that. For the former, it involves the cost of space and a booth plus hotels, travel and meals for employees staffing the booth. For executives, it is time away from the office, the cost of a ticket for attending and travel costs. How do companies justify the cost of attending those events?

Up until now, it was pretty hard to do, but Sproxxy, an early-stage company, is looking to change that by creating a platform to manage conference-related activities, while helping customers understand the ROI of going to these events. Today the startup officially launched after raising $1.1 million to get the company off the ground.

Melanie Samba, the founder and CEO at Sproxxy, was 20 years into her career in marketing and communications, managing 12 executives, who were attending a total of 80 conferences a year, and managing it all in Excel spreadsheets. She wasn’t looking to start a software company, but she had an epiphany of sorts that there had to be a better way to handle this information, and she would later launch Sproxxy to build the platform she envisioned.

“We’re positioned as a conference intelligence platform. And what we’re doing is quantifying conference activity. So we help brands prove the business impact of them participating at conferences and knowing the ROI or value of speaking, sponsoring and attending an industry event,” Samba told TechCrunch.

She says that can involve pre-planning, including finding the right conferences to attend, cross-department collaboration to coordinate around attending and post-conference analysis, which involves figuring out if it was worth the cost in time and resources to attend. She says at the end of the day, the company is focused on providing data, analytics and insight about what the company gained (or didn’t) by attending.

After she came up with the idea, Samba hired a company to build the initial version of the software, and was able to sell her first license to an agency managing 60 clients on the platform. Last year, she decided it was time to bring development in-house, and rebuild the product. Today, she has a team of three engineers and a product manager.

She says there seems to be a demand, with a pipeline of 1,200 companies she is working her way through and hoping to onboard onto the platform. The target market is midsize businesses to enterprises looking for a way to manage this process.

She said as a solo Black woman founder, who is also the mother of a young child, she worried about the fundraising process. She had good reason to be. Black founders, regardless of gender, raised less than 1% of all the venture money invested in 2023. She said the challenge was getting into the room and helping investors understand the value of the product.

She eventually found Ivy Ventures, a firm that invested a modest $600,000 to get Sproxxy off the ground. The remaining $500,000 came from industry angels and Techstars. Samba’s goal is to raise a total of $1.8 million and she is on her way to that goal, while discussing the remaining money with investors, including Ivy, to fill out the round.


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