After closing a seed funding round of $100,000 from German investors, local firm ProjectSpeaker says it is preparing to launch its speaker management platform on Wednesday.
Pierre Bisaillon, founder of ProjectSpeaker.
The funding round was led by investment firm Tilia Quadrat GmbH and Stefan Gutsch, a consultant for strategic and business management.
It’s the second of two investments the company says it has received since it was founded in Ottawa in 2011; the first round for $64,000.
ProjectSpeaker allows event planners to search a speaker database, engage with preferred speakers and manage events.
Currently, planners pay 25 per cent to 30 per cent of the speaker’s fee to an agent, according to ProjectSpeaker CEO Pierre Bisaillon.
With his platform, planners can bypass the middleman and broker their own professional speakers. The service is free to use for planners and speakers. ProjectSpeaker makes money by taking a cut of revenue generated by industry suppliers.
Mr. Bisaillon has been working on recent months to curate a list of professional speakers. Those approved create an online profile with links to videos and previous engagements.
The next phase of development for the company will involve working on new features such as a request for proposals generator and an industry supplier engine that would recruit hotels, caterers and suppliers to bid on event services.
As an event planner himself, Mr. Bisaillon said he knows the stress involved in planning. Through discussions with other planners, he said he discovered that the most time consuming and research-intensive task was locating a good speaker.
“It really solves a true problem,” he said in an OBJ interview in October.
In June, ProjectSpeaker was selected to enter Mercury Grove’s community-led business accelerator alongside three other local companies. It subsequently decided not to enter the program.
Mr. Bisaillon’s previous business experience includes founding Focus Stock Images, a stock photography agency which was acquired by Tony Stone Worldwide, now Getty Images.
He also launched a company in Germany called MagazineContent, an online magazine syndicator. His time in Germany led to his connections with his ProjectSpeaker investors, he said.