By Riley Kaminer
The dog days of summer are now behind us, and soon we’ll be hit with the deluge of seasonal events. (Thankfully we still have plenty of time to prepare for Tech Week!)
But when you get hit with an event invite, it’s often hard to know what to expect. What will the vibe be? What kind of people will attend? Is it worth the price of entry?
These were some of the questions Garrett Kellner had in mind when a new job led him to move to South Florida five years ago. He wanted to get involved in community events with his then-girlfriend (now wife). “But I always wanted to get an idea for what we were getting into before showing up,” he told Refresh Miami.
One weekend, he and his girlfriend were trying to vet a hot air balloon festival in Wellington. It was kind of far away, kind of expensive – and essentially a black box, with little information available online about what the event would actually entail.
That’s when it hit Kellner: “There’s got to be a better way to find out about events happening in our community.”
So in May 2021 he started building ShowUp, an app that gives attendees a better sense of what to expect at an event, while helping organizers promote their event.
The app, which launched at the end of last year, enables organizers to upload images, video, and text ‘announcements’ to let potential participants know what to expect. Soon, they will also be able to sell tickets on the platform, similarly to Eventbrite.
Event attendees are able to create content on ShowUp. There’s no geotagging required – users are geofenced and only able to record videos and take pictures if they are actually at the event. They are also unable to upload content. This ensures that what users post is the real deal. (“We’re called ‘ShowUp’ because you have to show up to share,” said Kellner.)
Alongside Kellner is co-founder Cody Maxwell, who leads ShowUp’s software development. The duo met through West Palm Beach innovation hub 1909, where Kellner’s partner was taking part in an accelerator program. “She mentioned that he was nice and he could code,” Kellner recalled. That sealed the deal.
Now ShowUp themselves are going through 1909’s accelerator. “It has been really beneficial,” Kellner asserted. The program has helped Kellner and Maxwell hone in on exactly who their target audience is, and enabled them to interview users.
Vendor markets and green markets are currently ShowUp’s focus. While they have had some early traction already on the user side, with a few hundred active users, Kellner explained that first they need to bolster the supply (events) side. South Florida is the startup’s main market.
For Kellner, building in South Florida has been a positive experience. “It’s better than I could ever have imagined,” he said, highlighting the communities around 1909 and South Florida Tech Hub as particularly helpful for this Palm Beach-based entrepreneur.
“If you get involved in the community, it gives a lot back,” he said. “That has been tremendous.”
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