Originally Published in the Business Insider | August 17, 2011
Paul Mandell found he was going to quite a few conferences each year yet he was leaving most of them feeling like he was not getting much value. He felt they lacked timely content, as well as a useful networking experience. As he looked around, it occurred to him maybe more people felt the same way. He started to think about how to do these events better, how could he re-create the events industry so more value could come out of each event. And just as any great entrepreneur would do, he decided to do something about it.
Founded in 2010, Consero is a leader in creating industry-specific events for senior-level executives.
Consero Forums are best known for offering a sophisticated learning environment with high-level content, as well as invaluable networking opportunities driven by Consero’s interactive, invitation-only format.
Although not a technology company, their innovative approach on transforming an established industry has caught my attention. By forming advisory boards of executives from major corporations, as well as featuring a team of event veterans, Consero is developing the highest level of quality, timely content for each one of its Forums.
Attendees can expect an invitation only environment, meaning anyone attending was asked to be there for a certain reason. This benefits them by providing a more efficient way to connect with other influential attendees and vendors.
In addition to content, Consero Forums are built to feature a valuable networking environment designed to stimulate new business for its innovative sponsors. “The networking is far more superior, productive and the events are very focused on solid content” says CEO Mandell. For example, Consero focuses on ensuring that sponsors meet with the most qualified executives who have expressed a demand for services and solutions based on their current and future initiatives.
The event industry is a $12.5 billion market that, at this point, has seen little to no change in the last 20 or 30 years. I would say that screams “HUGE POTENTIAL” louder than as any standing ovation I have ever heard.
In just over a year, the company has experienced positive growth, including a 400 percent increase in revenues. In 2011, Consero will be hosting seven events, and they plan to double that number in 2012. They recently moved into an expanded headquarters and are also doubling their staff this year.
A Lesson In Finding A Need
Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Consero’s new model for events answers all of the pressing needs. At a Consero Forum, every attendee is in the top tier of management with respect to his/her company, and the unique format of intimate conference sessions, one-on-one meetings, and roundtable discussions looks to raise the bar on senior-level networking, thought leadership exchange, and collaborative learning altogether.
They recruit speakers who are industry insiders—people who have first-hand knowledge of today’s most pressing business issues. They place a lot of emphasis on finding the right people, “to identify the right individuals, we spend a lot of time researching industries, news, and service offerings. Our team also brings to the table in-depth relationships with a variety of high-level executives and solution providers built over years in business.”
Currently the event topics include the legal industry, state and local Gov IT and customer experience. But, it’s only a matter of time before your industry gets the Invitation Only bug.
In fact, just today they are announcing the 2011 Legal Technology Forum, which is taking place September 18 – 20, 2011 in San Diego, California at the Loews Coronado Bay Hotel. Jessica Druckman, Founder and Vice President for Program Development of Consero, says, “The program for the Legal Technology Forum will focus on educating legal professionals on today’s most pressing issues, including the most effective ways to protect confidential company information in the age of social media, as well as how to leverage new technologies and processes to ensure efficient legal department management.”
The long term vision is to bring Consero’s model to other vertical niches where it can help improve the experience for both executives and solution providers. Examples include Consero’s recent Intellectual Property Management & Monetization Forum as well as our upcoming Customer Experience Forum. Additional Forums for each niche will be announced shortly as well as plans for overseas events.
Going All In
“I started Consero with about $1,000,000 of personal savings and a home equity loan” says Paul. “I also brought in experienced event veterans William Card and Jessica Druckman, who have been invaluable assets in the company’s early success.” Among the lessons Paul learned in the early going include: