The news hit the wire yesterday that Cvent has announced its intent to acquire QuickMobile, one of the original pioneers of the event tech category. The deal is expected to close as early as this month.
It certainly feels like a significant moment for the industry, and the end of an era as one of our industry’s pioneers rolls into Cvent / Vista, the industry’s giant.
QuickMobile and DoubleDutch go way back. When DoubleDutch came onto the scene in earnest in 2013, QuickMobile was the 800-pound gorilla of the nascent mobile event app category. They did foundational work to help put the category on the map, and they have hung in there through the ups and downs.
And man, they were tough to compete with in the early days. In a nascent industry that was mostly mom and pop shops and agencies building non-scalable, one-off apps, QuickMobile was first to set their sights on something larger - an enterprise-ready platform that could stand up under the load of bursty event traffic, and scale up or down to handle an entire enterprise program.
And they were everywhere! There was an ex-QuickMobile employee by the name of Trevor Roald who, together with the founders, had forged relationships with most of the key industry players like IMEX, MPI, and PCMA, that made it feel like we were running up-hill as we tried to build a name for ourselves. I remember attending those critical industry events in the early days, seeing the trust and camaraderie that event planners had for Trevor, and had for QuickMobile.
Creating a new software category is not easy (particularly on top of brand new platforms like iOS / Android), and like the rest of us, QuickMobile has taken their lumps. Despite several leadership changes, their core values and spirit seem to have been preserved. Current CEO David Smith and I have spent some time together, and he has always been thoughtful, respectful, and courteous. He clearly cares deeply about his employees and his customers, and I have a lot of respect for him and the QM team. From my perspective, QuickMobile has been a formidable competitor but has always carried itself with grace and class.
QuickMobile and DoubleDutch have a lot in common, and our customer bases have overlapped quite a bit. Like QuickMobile, DoubleDutch has prioritized building product for what we call “event programs at scale” - sophisticated multinational corporations and the largest associations, for whom things like 24/7 support, enterprise-grade security, a modern front end, and an intuitive back-end matter quite a bit. We think their focus and vision was mostly right, and we plan to continue to carry the torch.
So where does this leave the industry?
Well, I’m happy for David and the QM team to have found a stable home. As I said back in January, we are in an era of aggregate or be aggregated - it’s no longer possible for a point-solution mobile event app to compete without registration. If QuickMobile didn’t have the will or the means to get into registration, this was probably the right time to exit. Knowing that team, they likely explored every possible option.
The pending acquisition of QuickMobile also continues our industry’s path towards consolidation. QuickMobile is at least the fourth mobile event app that Cvent has acquired - joining Crowd Compass, CrowdTorch (formerly Seed Labs), and Genie Connect / Lanyon Mobile (which I believe has been discontinued), and it also joins the numerous registration systems that they have snapped up. And it sounds like more acquisitions are planned.
I will end with this: thanks to the QuickMobile team, both past, and present, for all of their contributions to the industry. You’ve pushed us all forward.
We will miss competing against you, and wish you good luck with the next chapter.
And if anyone would like to talk some shop and reminisce with me about the old days of the event tech category, or dream about the future, I will be onsite supporting DoubleDutch partners MPI and IMEX at IMEX Frankfurt, and MPI WEC.