Moroccan Ahmed Zrikem’s Linkry is trying to push the boundaries of event analytics

Startup Spotlight

Ahmed Zrikem had finished all his meetings for the day and was idling the time away on Tinder when he thought to himself: wouldn’t it be cool to have something like this for professionals?

31-year old Zrikem founded his first startup at the age of 18: a subscription-based dog waste bag seller, which he later sold for 400 thousand dollars. With an Information Technology degree from the New Jersey Institute of Technology, he had landed a number of jobs at several multinationals, including Lockheed Martin, Microsoft and Citigroup. In 2013, while he was stationed in Australia, where he served as the CTO of Bullseye Digital, he created Jumpstart Africa, a crowdfunding platform dedicated to creative projects by African entrepreneurs.

The idea for Linkry occurred to him in late 2014, during a trip to Kuala Lumpur where he was scheduled to meet with partners and investors for his latest venture.

Linkry was originally developed as a Tinder for professionals. The service would reveal nearby users; users would have the option to filter results based on industries, connect and chat directly from within the app. “I had no idea how to monetize it though, I just thought it was cool” said Zrikem.

Drawing inspiration from Facebook’s early college days, Zrikem decided to shift his focus to events in order to grow its user base and set out to add functions that would appeal to event attendees and organizers. Gradually, the app’s feature list grew to include attendee lists, event agendas and so forth.

This process culminated four months ago when Linkry underwent a major pivot: the professional networking functionality was finally dropped, the company became solely about events.

Once an organizer purchases the service, he is granted access to templates for speakers, sessions, agenda and the like. Once thee data is filled in, the service can automatically generate a microsite for the event. Registrants meanwhile can view all that data from the dedicated app.

The app is a critical component of Linkry, particularly for the analytics. It is what sets it apart from the competition. Evidently, organizers are able to access customized analytics reports from the wealth of data that Linkry captures, either from registration or users’ interactions with the app and site. There are a few hundred data points to choose from; organizers get to pick what they deem most valuable.

Event intelligence

But Linkry’s real differentiator is real time analytics. For instance, by tracking the location of the registrants for a particular event, the system can detect an imminent rush of people coming to check-in. It will notify organizers who could then react accordingly and beef up personnel at the registration desk. Similarly, it can also detect if there is a pile up at a certain check-in line and recognize that one of the employees is struggling.

During the event, the system can recognize influencers by monitoring their proximity to other people during the event. Typically influencers tend to have several conversations with different people outside of lecture halls for a minimum duration of time. These individuals are reported to the organizers who should be keen on targeting them for future events.

For free events, the system can also utilize the GPS capability and set up a geofence to automatically check-in attendees as they walk into the premises.

Looking forward

In the works right now are a couple of new features: an embedded live streaming feature, similar to Periscope and Meerkat, which would allow any user to broadcast a live video feed from the event and a feature that would allow organizers to compare the performance of multiple events. As for pricing, Linkry charges per attendee with an average cost of six to seven dollars.

Zikrem has his eyes set on big companies that hold lots of events and has already caught the attention of a number of big companies, including IBM and TED. Linkry is the official event management software for the “IBM MEA Sales Academy” in Dubai, an event that gathers over 1500 attendees from the IBM sales force.

Linkry is headquartered in San Francisco, with offices in Malaysia and in Zrikem’s home country, Morocco. The company’s focus will be on Asia for now. “The goal is to dominate a market that has less noise and competitiveness to get that hockey stick growth and then move to more challenging markets like Europe and North America,” he concluded.