SA startup FooEvents surpasses 1 million attendee check-ins milestone

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South African startup FooEvents, an event and ticketing platform for WooCommerce that makes it possible to sell access to events, venues and other services directly from a WordPress website, has surpassed one million attendee check-ins using its apps.

Created by Grenade, a distributed technology company that operates out of South Africa and North America, FooEvents was launched in 2016 after Grenade, an established digital agency at the time, had a client that needed a WordPress solution to sell tickets for an event. 

“We soon learned that the solutions that were available at the time were either too expensive, over complicated, cumbersome, badly coded or all of the above,” said Robin Pietersen, who co-founded Grenade with Colin Daniels in 2012. 

“We ditched the idea of an off-the-shelf solution and decided to absorb the cost and build our own ticket plugin. It worked phenomenally well for our client due to its unique approach and elegant integration with WooCommerce. We then thought that it would be a shame to keep it to ourselves, so we submitted it to CodeCanyon and charged a minimal fee in order to help recoup the costs. Within a short period of time, FooEvents became a top seller with hundreds of event organisers selling tickets using our plugin and we were inundated with feature requests.”

Usage has grown and grown, and the platform recently passed the one million attendee check-ins milestone via its apps. 

“This is a huge milestone for us and particularly interesting considering the extreme challenges event organisers are having to overcome,” Pietersen said. “Despite the global pandemic, check-ins that were performed using our apps have increased by more than 50 per cent this year and account for close to a third of the total check-ins ever performed using the apps.”

In all, FooEvents now services almost 10,000 customers from across the world, who use the platform to sell tickets and manage access to their events, venues and other services. FooEvents has grown and matured over the years to include several plugin extensions, free iOS and Android check-in apps, and integrations with other products, including its app-based point of sale (POS) system for WooCommerce, called FooSales.

All this without having taken on any external funding. 

“Over the course of a two-year period, we pivoted from an agency service business to a product business. As a courtesy, we continue to provide services to a handful of loyal agency clients, however, this contributes only a small amount to our total revenue now,” said Pietersen.

“The uptake of both our products has exceeded expectations. FooEvents has almost 10,000 customers and continues to go from strength-to-strength while FooSales has had over 1,000 customers sign-up for a free trial in the first year since we launched our subscription model. Both products have an extensive product roadmap which is based on customer feedback.”

Both FooEvents and FooSales are multi-language solutions which are designed to be flexible, and are therefore used globally. Petersen said it has seen biggest uptake in North America, Europe, Australasia and South Africa, and there are plans to add to the service. 

“Moving forward, we will be rolling out additional payment options which will make the products more attractive and accessible in other regions. We are also currently preparing to launch our new bookings functionality which will open up FooEvents to a number of new and exciting use cases,” he said.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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