News : Event411.com Informs DNC Delegates, Raises $16M In Series B Venture Funding

Despite an overabundance of talking heads deriding the absence of breaking news within the Staples Center during last week’s Democratic National Convention, it seems that a significant apolitical happening flew right under the traditional media’s radar.

Indeed, as delegates schmoozed and movie stars delivered prepared speeches, a company named Event411.com Inc. was hard at work providing all attendees with a user-friendly Intranet system that could revolutionize the future face of large gatherings.

“This was really our crowning achievement so far,” said Steven Koltai, chief executive, chairman and founder of Event411.com. “An unbelievable amount of blood, sweat and tears went into getting [the convention] at all… and so far it looks like over half of the delegates and attendees used the system.”

Capitalizing on its Los Angeles success, the online meeting and event-planning application service provider is expected to announce Wednesday that it recently raised $16 million in a Series B round of venture capital funding.

According to a draft of the announcement obtained by Private Equity Week, CB Capital led the deal with new investors Gannette Co. and WI Harper Group also participating. According to a source close to the deal, however, Ganette actually plugged more cash into Event411.com, but CB Capital is being named the lead because it set the terms of the transaction.

Existing investors Van Wagoner Funds, Sandler Capital Management and Camelot Capital were also involved.

“We were sort of open when we started and were looking for between $15 million to $25 million,” Koltai said. “But since we did it ourselves and did it in the middle of what we affectionately refer to as nuclear winter, we were very much at the mercy of the market.”

He added, however, that the company received a higher valuation than it had on its $14.7 million Series A deal last June from a syndicate of hedge funds and other non-traditional venture backers. Prior to that deal, the firm had received approximately $5.5 million in an angel round and an additional $2.5 million from Koltai himself when he left his senior management position at Warner Brothers in 1996 to found the Marina Del Rey, Calif.-based Event411.com.

“We’re building a business, not a transaction,” Koltai said. “I felt that when you accept an investment from a VC that they’re guaranteeing their investors such extraordinary returns in such a short period of time that you have no real time to figure out the business model and build out the business. In other words, the timetable has no real relation to what should be your real business evolution time.”

The firm will consider doing an additional round of funding sometime late next year.