Swoogo is excited to announce that Chris Sykes, backed by a group of experienced entrepreneurs and advisors, has acquired a majority ownership stake in the company.
Sykes’s long-term strategic investment with Swoogo represents the next phase of succession planning for event tech visionary and industry leader Leonora Valvo. Leonora & Chris’s partnership culminates a long and thoughtful search process by both parties that spanned over a year.
Chris is joining as Swoogo’s CEO after founding and leading Eagle Rock Capital and running a nationwide search focused on the events industry. Prior to Eagle Rock, Chris spent five years advising companies on marketing, sales, and growth strategy at Axia Limited and Accenture Strategy. Chris holds an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management and a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University.
"My experience working with companies on event strategy, planning, and execution has given me a firsthand understanding of the value that Swoogo brings to customers,” said Sykes. “Swoogo’s people and product are the best in the industry. I’m excited to work with Leonora, Tim, Neil, and the rest of the team to continue delivering on our mission of helping event marketers get sh!t done."
Chris will acquire Swoogo’s assets, team, and customer contracts, and the business will continue to operate under the Swoogo Brand. Swoogo’s former leadership team will remain intact, with Tim Cummins and Neil Keefe continuing to run the product side and Leonora Valvo serving as an advisor to the new CEO. “I am excited to work with Chris as he takes over the reins at Swoogo,” said Leonora. “My ongoing participation as an Advisor is perfectly suited to my passion for the company and the industry as well as my dream of sailing adventures.”
Founded in 2016, Swoogo provides user-friendly, intuitive registration and marketing software for in-person, virtual, and hybrid events. Swoogo’s roots are deeply embedded in the event technology world, with all three of its founders having previously founded and developed Aventri (formerly etouches) and its core team composed of long-time event tech veterans.
Swoogo will continue to serve the 300+ businesses that rely on the software for their experiential marketing operations while continuing to improve Swoogo's product, processes, and ability to deliver on the company's mission of making life simpler for event planners. Swoogo’s customer base spans the US, Europe, and the Asia Pacific region, and Sykes plans to continue to grow the business from a global perspective.
The acquisition announcement was delivered to Swoogo employees, all of whom will remain in their current positions, late last week. The business has recently made a significant and successful pivot to support virtual events, and the entire team looks forward to continuing to build the Swoogo Virtual offering alongside the longer-standing in-person events business.
"The events industry is going through a tough time right now, but I’m confident that it will emerge from this stronger. When it does, Swoogo will be there to facilitate whether it’s in-person, virtual, or hybrid," said Sykes.
Swoogo’s operations are currently fully remote, with employees around the US, South America, Europe, and Australia. While the business will remain distributed, the official Swoogo headquarters will shift from its current base in Warren, Rhode Island to Los Angeles, California.
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