Big conferences and events are meant to be satisfying, useful and inspiring, but they often leave people flustered and suffering from a severe case of FOMO — that is, fear of missing out. There are so many people there and things happening all at once, and often you don’t know exactly what’s available while you’re in the thick of it.
A new app called Bloodhound aims to help everyone involved with events — organizers, presenters and attendees — navigate through all that. The app has been in private beta for the last six months and is launching publicly Wednesday on with a free iPhone (s AAPL) app, basic Android (s GOOG) and Blackberry (s RIMM) apps, and an HTML5 mobile site. Full versions on all those platforms are coming in the weeks ahead.
Bloodhound works like this: Event organizers add their event for free on Bloodhound’s website, add basic information and media such as logos, schedules, exhibitor lists and maps. Bloodhound then allows exhibitors to create their own profiles in which they can upload media and add detailed information about themselves. Then the organizer can invite attendees to download the Bloodhound app — and this is where it gets really cool.
First of all, Bloodhound allows you to leave your business cards at home. The app integrates with both Facebook and LinkedIn (s LNKD) and lets users see all the people they know at the event and exchange information with new people when they meet them — without needing to become Facebook friends or LinkedIn contacts, since Bloodhound gives the option of emailing extracted contact information from those social networks.
Secondly, Bloodhound provides real-time recommendations as to what attendees should check out based on what it calls “social collaborative filtering.” In essence, it tracks which exhibitors or sessions are most popular within the Bloodhound app, and recommends the hottest exhibits and sessions to other app users.
“We use all the live data of what people are liking and viewing to provide real time recommendations within the app to people who are there,” CEO Anthony Kruemich said in an interview this week.
My only worry is that this would exacerbate the hive-mind problem at events and leave certain good sessions undiscovered, so hopefully Bloodhound will work on more personalized recommendation features as the app grows.
Bloodhound currently has six employees, five of whom are engineers. The company has taken on $250,000 in seed funding from a heavyweight group of backers including Dave McClure. The company plans to make money by providing premium customization options to event organizers, but for now the app is completely free for everyone to use. “Charging for the basic app doesn’t jive with our long term goal of being used by everyone from major conference to maybe a Beerfest in San Francisco,” Kruemich said.
I’ll drink to that.
Here’s a video of Bloodhound in action: