Young Upstarts

All about entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship, ideas, innovation, and small business. – Matching Trade Exhibitors With Vendors

If you’ve ever been a trade marketing manager in charge of setting up an exhibition booth for your company in a trade conference or expo, you know the acute pain of trying to source for the right vendors who can build and run your booth at the right price. Founded in 2010, Las Vegas-based startup ExhibitMatch ( hopes to solve that particular problem – it is a global online interactive bidding platform that matches trade show exhibitors with stand builders from around the world.

It’s a simple enough concept – finding trade stand builders can be an extremely troublesome task for marketers, from sending out a Request For Proposal (RFP) to shortlisting potential candidates. With ExhibitMatch, exhibitors simply post their requirements online and wait for competitive offers.

“For example, a company in Singapore may be exhibiting at a trade show in Dubai. The marketing manager for this company might come to ExhibitMatch and complete our interactive RFP process (for free),” explains ExhibitMatch co-founder Timothy Sullivan. “Once completed, the RFP will be sourced out to vendors in Dubai for competitive bidding.” Up to three vendors may respond to each RFP.

“Our objective is to help companies achieve greater value when exhibiting at trade shows around the world,” Sullivan adds.

Sullivan and fellow co-founders Adam Elhart and James Kappen (we previously interviewed Kappen, who earlier had founded sales lead management startup see their company as an alternative trade show planning resource for savvy exhibitors. “We saw an industry where price-gouging and inefficiency ruled on a global scale; applying our backgrounds in exhibition management, software/application development and finance, we set out to create the perfect antidote to the common trade show-induced exhibitor headache,” explains Sullivan.

The backbone of ExhibitMatch is its database of 35,000 events. The founders intend to, through their platform, build a global network of highly-reliable trade show vendors. “We believe that a little healthy vendor competition results in better quality, heightened transparency and not least, a more attractive bottom line for the exhibitors whom we serve,” says Sullivan.

This is especially crucial during current economic conditions, adds Sullivan, when many trade show participants are looking at ways to maximize reduced exhibition marketing budgets.

Daniel Goh is the founder and chief editor of Young | Upstarts, as well as an F&B entrepreneur. Daniel has a background in public relations, and is interested in issues in entrepreneurship, small business, marketing, public relations and the online space. He can be reached at daniel [at] youngupstarts [dot] com.

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  • S. Carlton

    An idea that was long over due!  Easy to use…loved our results!