Like Tinder, but for events: Event Vesta

Even before COVID, it hasn’t always been easy to find something to do—especially if you’re new to a city. Granted, Facebook has its events feature, but what you see depends on a number of variables, such as your friends list and what the algorithm thinks you’d be into, sometimes with curious results (Facebook always seems…

Image courtesy Event Vesta
Image courtesy Event Vesta

Even before COVID, it hasn’t always been easy to find something to do—especially if you’re new to a city. Granted, Facebook has its events feature, but what you see depends on a number of variables, such as your friends list and what the algorithm thinks you’d be into, sometimes with curious results (Facebook always seems to think I want to go ice skating every Friday night, for instance).

Eventbrite can be good, but you don’t often see very many informal or casual events listed there, and setting one up can be a hassle.

That’s where Omaha startup Event Vesta comes in.

Event Vesta allows users to quickly and easily find something to do. They can search by activity—such as music, games, dancing, spirituality, basically any category of human activity you can think of—or they can just infinity-scroll through all manner of featured events.

In addition to user-friendliness, Event Vesta also strives to make the process a breeze for businesses and event organizers. 

“We see it as a SaaS-enabled marketplace,” said Andrew Prystai, the company’s CEO and cofounder.

The site allows businesses to create, manage and promote their events with ease. Prystai said Event Vesta is quicker than Eventbrite, likening the site’s ease-of-use to that of Facebook, albeit with the added benefit of being able to take attendance. Paying customers can also take advantage of a service that Prystai compared to Zip Recruiter, but for events.

The company is growing rapidly and has expanded beyond Omaha to a number of Southern and Midwestern markets, including Des Moines, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Kansas City and St. Louis.

“Instead of (somebody) having to go to the Omaha World-Herald, Visit Omaha, Omaha Magazine and their equivalents in all these other cities, we take care of it through the click of just a couple buttons for those event organizers, saving them time and making them money,” Prystai said. “That should be the goal of every product, right?”

Event Vesta also launched a new mobile app recently, which Prystai compared to a familiar dating platform. 

“Honestly, it’s a whole lot like Tinder for events,” he said. “You can swipe right to save a cool event for later, swipe left if it’s lame, and then if you find something you really want to go to, you can text it to friends.”

Not too shabby for a startup that was just getting off the ground when the pandemic hit.

As you might imagine, when the first lockdowns started happening, Prystai got a little worried.

In fact, the date is burned into his memory.

“It’s not every day you get an industry-crushing event like that, that you have no control over,” he said. “Not gonna lie, March 14 is burned in my brain as the day the world ended. The College World Series was cancelled. MLB season was cancelled. March Madness was cancelled. It was just cascading, notification after notification.”

It was then when Prystai realized that it wasn’t a matter of how much COVID was going to change everything, but how long it would last. So Event Vesta had to make some strategic decisions that would allow the company to survive what Prystai called “the lean times.”

“We got just enough of those decisions right so that we could make it to the other side, and frankly, there’s actually some really cool things that have happened to us because of COVID,” he said.

The swift ascent of digital and hybrid events have given Event Vesta the opportunity to work with organizers all around the country.

“I always joke with my friends that my goal is to have better customer service than IKEA,” Prystai joked. “As long as you’re better than IKEA, you’re doing something right.”

Sounds like Event Vesta is doing a lot of things right. See for yourself.

 

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