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RealTime IT News

I-vents Handles the Main Event

Every financial upswing benefits a variety of businesses surrounding the economic ground zero. In a modern version of how a successful ball team can help someone sell a lot of hot dogs, a small company has emerged with the express purpose of showing Internet startups -- famous for spectacular parties -- how to throw some really cool events.

I-vents is truly bare bones. Operated by three twenty-something Silicon Valley social mavens, these women are using a natural gift for event planning as a way to win friends, influence people and make some money.

"The launch party and IPO events have become important ways to gain recognition within the Bay Area community while rewarding employees for superhuman efforts, said founder Laurie Cohen, who went on to call such parties "the good-luck-charm/springboard for post-launch/post-IPO success."

Some of the secrets: The party itself needs a memorable theme, such as a James Brown gathering held in the same building where the singer was performing or a martini-fueled bus tour of the coolest Bay Area clubs. They should be "funky and outrageous," but only if such traits reflect the spirit of the company. Unconventionality can begin even before the event, such as sending out an invitation that masquerades as a questionnaire.

An i-vents event doesn't come cheap. Cohen mentions several parties that have cost sponsors $400,000, and she wouldn't want to touch anything for less than $50,000. The cost is justifiable. For a company with several million dollars of venture capital with more pouring in, it is almost a drop in the bucket. Additionally, it helps firms purchase a valuable intangible, morale.

"People work so hard in Silicon Valley," Cohen said. "They need a place to let off some steam. Aside from that, these events are a more effective medium for networking and entrepreneurial brainstorming than other gathering.

"Our industry moves so quickly that traditional networking models don't apply."

The company has yet to submit to any formal venture funding, although it may do so in the next year. Cohen and Co. did the first few parties for cost; when the idea took off, friends and other angels kicked in enough to set up a shoestring operation. Current valuation of the company is around $100,000; far less than the cost of some of the parties it throws.

One angel, Ben Black, VP of Business Internet Development for Harris Interactive in San Francisco, said the company distinguishes itself from his typical angel investments because it has low capital requirements and that growth can be financed from existing operations.

"The founders have been active members in Silicon Valley culture for years and have carved a niche for themselves both technically and socially," he said. "With the number of Internet companies seeking awareness, I expect a strong demand for such service-based industries in the coming months. And I expect that it will realize efficiencies in its operations that other event companies can only dream about."

Company Name: I-Vents.com
Address: 361 Lakeview Way, Redwood City, Calif. 94062
Phone: (415)-760-0095
Fax: (650)-568-0394
Contact e-mail address: laurie@i-vents.com
Web address: http://www.i-vents.com
Employees: 6 (part time)
Total Funding: $100,000
Investors: Friends and Angels


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