A new online service wants to become event organizers’ No. 1 source for finding experts—paid and unpaid—to deliver keynotes, fill panels, and lead breakout sessions.
Toronto-based Speakerfile Inc., which officially emerges from beta testing on April 10, is focused on connecting meeting organizers with its database of executive experts and thought leaders.
Speakerfile is not a traditional speakers bureau. It doesn’t collect fees or commissions, and isn’t involved in negotiating speaker eHarmony online dating service because of the way it works as a matchmaking service between conference organizers and speakers.or providing logistics or consulting services. The site is intended as a place “for efficient discovery,” says Founder & CEO Peter Evans, who likes to compare Speakerfile to the
Speakerfile is free to planners as well as to speakers who build only a bare-bones profile in the system. Revenues come from premium subscriptions paid by individual speakers who want a robust profile (including videos, audio, and slides) and unlimited matchmaking, as well as organizations that purchase multiple profiles for their executives and build out a branded library of their corporation’s or association’s speakers. The system currently has close to 3,000 speaker profiles.
The new service is both for conference organizers looking for speakers and for executives or full-time speakers looking for opportunities. “Executives want to be onstage building their brand,” Evans says, noting that Speakerfile can be used in-house or by a public relations agency to manage a company’s executive visibility campaign.
Planners can filter their search for a speaker by expertise, location, keyword, fee range, or the type of engagement (moderator, panelist, keynoter, etc.) and then connect with the speaker through an internal mail system. Planners can also post their speaker needs, detailing exactly what spots they want to fill—moderators, keynoters, session leaders, and so on.
The system’s internal matching system suggests potential matches for both planners and speakers to consider. But just like online dating sites, neither party has to respond if it doesn’t see a fit. Event organizers and speakers keep their contact information private and can choose to accept or ignore a connection.
Evans’ background is primarily in marketing and business consulting—he’s a founder of Toronto-based Riverdale Partners—but he’s had experience on both sides of the speaker circuit. His résumé includes many engagements as a keynote presenter and panelist at technology and marketing-related conferences, as well as responsibility for finding speakers for events as a association board member. He says he’s a “big believer in thought leadership,” and an impetus behind the new business was the challenge of finding the right people to fill the openings on meeting agendas. “In many ways, I’m scratching my own itch. Recruiting fresh speakers, especially industry experts, is a pain point for many event organizers. We're looking to make the process of discovery, evaluation, and connection with experts far easier with our platform.”