Amsterdam-based startup Close has developed a mobile marketing platform that gives organizers in the events industry a new marketing channel through which to offer visitors more experiences. The chat-based app is an easy way of sharing (exclusive) information with visitors before, during, and after and event. Producer Stage Entertainment and the Michelin-starred restaurant The Jane are among Close’s first customers.
Currently, the purchase of a ticket for a concert or a museum represents the end of the transaction as opposed to the start of a valuable relationship between an artist or brand and visitor. The Dutch start-up Close aims to change that to ensure that visitors can enjoy better user experiences. At the same time, it provides client data to organizers, which enables them to better serve visitors and create more upsell and cross-sell opportunities.
From transaction to relationship
It also offers an array of practical information, such as the entry ticket and the programme, at their fingertips. People who purchase tickets can easily and conveniently share tickets with friends and family members without the hassle of PDFs.
Kiliaan Toorenaar, the founder of Close, says, ‘Data offers the opportunity to create increasingly personalized experiences, but the live events industry is still not getting most out of applying this data. Close offers brands and organizers the technology to create their own channel in which they build customer relationships with visitors in a way that improves and enhances the visitor’s experience before, during, and after events.’
Kiliaan Toorenaar, a former commercial director of Marktplaats (a Dutch classified advertising website), created Close together with Wiebe Weikamp (co-founder of the Ilse search engine, and current Chief Technology Officer of Close), and creative talent Chris Gruijters. The company has its main office in Amsterdam and has a team of eighteen employees.
Disruptive Technology Ventures, an investment fund that counts Ad Scheepbouwer (former CEO of telco KPN) among its owners, saw Close’s potential and invested three million euros. ‘Close is disruptive in an industry that has been stagnant for a long time. Using technology to enrich a visit to a sports event or a theatre performance shows a lot of potential. Kiliaan has a wealth of experience working in the online world, and the discussions I have had with both him and Stage Entertainment convinced me to invest,’ says Scheepbouwer. Disruptive Technology Venturers aims to use the investment funds to promote Close and expand the service to other countries.
Producent Stage Entertainment (known for the musicals Mamma Mia, and The Lion King, AMF, Dutch basketball team Orange Lions and the Michelin-starred restaurant The Jane are already customers. Nathalie Peters, the Head of Digital Transformation for IPG Mediabrands, was one of the first people to use Close during the Redefine Retail conference. Nathalie Peters, says, ‘Close is an instrument that enables me to interact with my customers for longer and on a deeper level. This solution is also totally in tune with the time we’re living in: platforms are being developed and everyone is searching for a full-experience consumer journey.’