Splash Event Tech Turns Heads at Flatiron Startup’s Block Party
- Eric Shapiro
- On May 22, 2015
On Tuesday, May 19th, designers and event marketers assembled at the 122 West 26th Street HQ of Splash for the company’s inaugural Splash Series: Block Party. Splash, a company of 40-plus employees, is one of the innovative and quirky tech startups that gives New York City’s Flatiron District the nickname “Silicon Alley.” The company’s distinctive office suite boasts a sleek, thoroughly modern design with cool, clean, lines and a colorful layout (clearly no place for stuffy business meetings).
On this particular night, Splash’s office became a unique and compelling event venue. You may be wondering: how can you have a block party in an office? When the blocks that give the event its name are the kind you build with, not the kind you walk on. Splash creatively let attendees in on their pun by distributing LEGO pieces at the door. However, attendees who thought they grasped the full meaning of “block party” after receiving their souvenir were in for a surprise.
That is: the “block” in this particular block party has a third meaning. Splash’s cutting-edge event planning platform consists of “blocks,” or design templates, that allows users to craft attractive and professional branded websites for their events. Splash combines a remarkably easy “block-based” assembly and design interface with a complete CRM-enabled front and back end that seamlessly enables event RSVPs, ticketing, attendance and just about every other event logistic you can think of. Splash does not require any programming skills to use; anyone who knows how to use a mouse can assemble striking and detailed event pages in a matter of hours. Splash also boasts a paid “pro” option utilized by A-list corporate clients like Nike, Spotify, Amheuser-Busch, Thrillist, the NBA and Sundance. Not too shabby for a four-year-old startup.
So Splash knows how to design a killer event management application. But does its staff of developers, designers and account executives know how to throw a party? We’ll put it this way: the room was packed with event planners and none of them had any complaints. That should answer your question. The Splash Block Party was nothing if not atmospheric, with an energetic DJ providing a musical backdrop and block sculptures, arranged by artist Shinji Murakami, hammering home the party’s theme. The event emphatically proved that the best networking happens when you’re having fun (not to mention taking advantage of a block-themed snacks and a formidable open bar).
As it turns out, the same thing can be said for software demonstrations. Splash seamlessly and unobtrusively integrated its product into the experience, operating on the premise that tech demos go down a lot easier with a healthy portion of snacks, drinks and socializing. Flitting between several stations dispersed throughout the office, attendees constructed their own branded Splash event pages from a diverse selection of blocks composed of graphics, text, photos and logos assembled on a central table. Learning a new web-based design tool, even one as user-friendly as Splash, is a lot less intimidating in a party setting, especially with Splash employees on hand to explain the software, answer questions and have a drink with!
And no one was better equipped to do so than CEO Ben Hindman, an energetic entrepreneur who wears his infectious enthusiasm on his rolled-up sleeve. His demeanor is laid back and informal, but he radiates unmistakable gravitas. Hindman doesn’t go out of his way to set himself apart from his employees, but at the end of the day it’s clear he’s the visionary behind it all.
Hindman considers himself to be, first and foremost, an event planner. “Throwing an event is virtuous. It’s awesome,” he declares with striking sincerity. “When you bring the right group of people together it’s the most amazing thing.” Hindman makes sure that his employees are well versed in the art of event planning. “My developers and designers are all event planners. I make sure of it. They need to understand and empathize with what the person on the other side, the attendee, is dealing with. I want them to understand what it’s like to plan an event.” Hindman sees the Flatiron District as a natural home for Splash. “The food, the people, the other startups, the location … Everything is a stone’s throw away.”
Although Hindman is now the CEO of a rapidly growing startup, it is easy to see how much of a thrill he derives from organizing a modest-sized event. It doesn’t hurt that he gets to promote a brand he’s passionate about to a receptive audience. “People who are meeting each other for the first time. I can see people understanding our product more from being here. It doesn’t happen any other way. It doesn’t happen online, it doesn’t happen over the radio, it happens when you meet someone and you talk to them.”
The Splash Series: Block Party will continue with events in July and September. Stay tuned for dates and details.
For more on Splash, check out the company’s website: www.splashthat.com
But first, check out this Flatiron Hot! News Video Clip to see what went down at the Splash Block Party.
Reported by Eric Shapiro and the Flatiron Hot! News Editorial Staff
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