Commit built a crowdfunding platform to take the stress out of party planning

by Michael Hines
October 19, 2018
Commit Chicago events planning platform
PHOTO VIA COMMIT

Everyone has at least one friend who is a “planner” — the person willing and able to take charge when it comes to organizing large group events.

Mia Velasquez has worn that mantle since middle school. However, planning a birthday party for eighth graders or a graduation bash for undergrads is different from, say, planning a boat trip through Europe for 75 grad students.

The logistics of organizing a trip for such a large group — and collecting the cash for it — proved to be a pain. This experience put Velasquez on the path to co-founding Commit, a platform for sharing information and collecting money for large group events.

What Venmo became to PayPal and what Etsy became to eBay, we want to be that to Eventbrite.”

 

Unlike many founders who are constantly on the lookout for new ventures, Velasquez admits that she was initially reluctant to step out on her own after coming up with the idea.

“I don’t have an entrepreneurial bone in my body,” Velasquez said. “I didn’t start this with the mindset of building a company. I had this problem and sort of just suffered through it.”

That changed when she met classmates Dan Kolb and Josh Kim. Kolb is a former consultant who worked at NerdWallet in business operations and strategy, while Kim’s background is in the venture capital and legal space. Together, the three of them realized there was an opportunity to do more than just build a tool to solve Velasquez’s problem.

Development on Commit began in October of 2017 and the platform launched in beta in January. Users post their events to the site, using the page to share information and collect payments. Commit takes a page from the crowdfunding playbook, with attendees only charged if the event reaches its funding goal.

Right now you’re probably thinking, “This sounds great, but can’t you just use Venmo?” Velasquez points to the limitations of cash transfer apps, which she said are much more suited to transactions involving very small groups.

“Venmo is great for organizing a dinner with six friends, but when you’re planning a 50-person event, it’s much harder on the organizer,” said Velasquez. “I think organizers really do recognize the value of a platform like Commit over Venmo.”

The short-term goal for Commit is to add more users and features to the platform. Velasquez said features that allow attendees to interact with organizers are on the way, as is a UX/UI rebuild.

For Velasquez, the long-term plan is to create a platform that’s seen as the more casual alternative to a certain ticketing platform that just went public and whose name rhymes with “Lite-Brite.”

“What Venmo became to PayPal and what Etsy became to eBay, we want to be that to Eventbrite — a more casual, informal, friendly and individual-focused platform,” said Velasquez.

Commit has a team of five and is based out of 1871.

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