Local Startup Spotlight #12: Zap Event




ZapEvent is a web based application that allows for greater independence, flexibility and simplicity of online event registration. The bundled service includes a registration system, membership dues management and donation coordination tools. Zap Event is ideal for small and medium sized organizations (for profit and not for profit), event coordinators, race directors, and membership managers. According to Jeff Wedren, Zap Event Co founder and spokesman, “The [existing] companies that were first to market years ago have become complacent and unfocused. We’ve proven our business model and are aggressively working towards a larger national presence. Our plan is to provide a kick ass product with world class support at a price that is fair for the services we offer.”

The Zap Event strategy is to focus on three components:

  • Affordability: 2.9% of the price of registration + $1.30 per registrant
  • Flexibility: Multiple solutions integrated into one product (see above),  tiered pricing, enhanced interactivity and team functionality.
  • Intuitive Interface: easy expansion into advanced features, including fundraising capabilities.

When articulating the Zap Event difference, Jeff added, “The people and events that we work with like our affordability, ease of use and efficient customer service. What really sets us apart is our long term goal to build a healthy and strong long term business – we’re going to be around. We’re willing to learn our clients business to make ourselves better.”

The technology was originally developed by Dean Jones and Jim Sheehan under the trade name PowerObjects. Dean has been developing distributed systems for the last 15 years with experience in developing Microsoft Dynamic CRM/XRM applications. Jim, a principal with PowerObjects since 2001, is the integrator, whereas multiple functional areas report to him and he focuses on the overall direction of the company.

In November of 2008, Jeff purchased a primary stake in the application and re-branded the service as Zap Event with the intent to create a more “commercially viable product.” With Zap Event, his focus is sales, marketing and business development; since the acquisition, Jeff has grown Zap event 75% year over year. His prior experiences include a founding member within a local company called Niche Retail, which specializes in e-commerce, including logistics fulfillment, customer service and warranty/repair support. He attributes a lot of his entrepreneurial success to his involvement in the Entrepreneurs Organization Accelerator Program.

While discussing Minnesota startups in general, Jeff noted:

“I am always looking to partner on new projects, businesses, ideas. The ideal scenario is programmers, developers, technologists that are looking for people (like myself) with relevant business experience. There are a lot of smart folks out there with great ideas that could use help with execution – I’m always open.”