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MGMT Boston - W12, Q2 23 - Markit Social // Carla Price
Markit Social // Carla Price, Enablement Leader
We’re back to our regular format. To the new folks (closing in on 500!), welcome to MGMT Boston where we try to help you manage your awareness of top Boston startups and the local up & coming operators putting in the work. Glad to have you here!
Markit Social - Jonathan Chang and team are on a mission to reinvent events for creators and Gen Z attendees
Thanks to Jennifer D. for the intro to Markit Social!
Carla Price, Enablement Leader - an Enablement leader who’s got some learnings to share about the tools she gives her colleagues to succeed
Thanks for working alongside me many moons ago!
MGMT Boston Operators Club - I’m launching a thing, check it out or e-mail me directly to learn more!
Q2 Operators Highlighted: Dana Wensberg, Paperless Parts, Jasmine Pogue, Skilltype, Mark Hardy, Black Kite, Tony Iuliano, Recorded Future, Kelly Cheng, Goldcast, Ashlyn Donohue, LinkSquares, Jon Coombs, Flexcar, Michele Choi, Medley & Dan McCarthy, Kard
Founder: Jonathan Chang
Mission: Redesign the event experience
Employees: 7+ & 100% Local
Stage & Capital Raised: Seed & <$5M Raised
Investors: Phillips Academy Andover Angel Group & Techstars
Glassdoor Rating: N/A
Valuation (estimated): <$10M
^ this is a useless number. There is no tangible valuation until the business is sold or goes public. Don’t forget it!
Markit Social is “software for creators and event marketing”. Founded in 2021 out of the Tufts Venture Accelerator and a recent graduate of the Techstars Boston accelerator program, Jonathan Chang and his team are on a mission to reinvent events for creators and Gen Z attendees.
Markit started out as a side project when Jonathan was a software engineer at Realtime Robotics. He figured, if I can convince someone else to do this with me, I’ll take the plunge and do this thing full time. He had conversations with 30 interested Tufts students after posting on the university job board and got 15 to commit to joining him for the summer. In the fall of 2021, 75% of the Tufts student body was using Markit every week. The power of the platform (app based at the time) was that anyone who had attended a previous event was sent a notification when a new one was planned. For example, a fraternity would post a party invite and within 3 minutes they would have 300 people requesting a ticket. That’s a powerful market pull!
After giving the university scene 2 semesters and joining Techstars Boston in the summer of 2022, the real work began to bring this product to businesses, event organizers, comedy clubs, music venues, sporting events, and beyond. Through their experience working with students, Jonathan & team realized that real world event software just wasn’t that great. Ticketmaster is huge, we all know. Then there’s Eventbrite. But the overall event process hasn’t changed in decades. You buy a ticket to an event and receive it on your phone, usually through e-mail. You pull it up on your phone and then you use it to get into an event. Pretty simple stuff.
The problem is the platforms facilitating ticket sales are separate from the promotional work done on e-mail platforms or social media. You might get 100 people to show up at a show but then how do you reach them after the show? Getting in touch and staying in touch with people is a core problem for event organizers. Markit is solving this disconnect through text messaging and integrating it into the event experience, transforming relationships between event organizers and attendees with no app needed.
E-mail lists average somewhere between 5-20% open rates and only something like 20% of social media posts are seen by your followers. On top of that, roughly 5% of attendees will even follow an event organizer on a social platform after an event. Text messaging has an average 98% open rate, almost 5x better than those aforementioned platforms. One comedy club the Markit team worked with even had a 1% e-mail open rate. Ouch. It’s hard to get people’s attention and cut through the noise. The way content is being consumed has changed dramatically.
Markit is a B2B software platform that happens to sell tickets as its main mechanism of capturing past event attendees. 40% of their customer base is Boston with LA, New York, Salt Lake City & Dallas rounding out some of their other significant markets. Traditional entertainment providers are the best customers but “anyone that organizes recurring events with a strong brand” are potential fits. What makes Markit effective is that their customers have a community of people that want to hear about their events. If you want to know what’s going on with startups locally in Boston, for example, you should sign up for this event list Jonathan created to see Markit in action.
Their business offering launched this past fall with a free tier and three priced packages. It is a B2B(2C) platform that is subscription based with additional per transaction upside from ticket sales. In just 8 months they’ve already onboarded over 30k users and processed over $200k in ticket sales. From 300 events created a month, they’re seeing >$40k/month in volume on the platform, up from just ~$10k in January.
Their team views product development in two tracks - building event management tooling and building communication engagement tools through text messaging, providing their customers with ways to engage their community better and facilitate better events. If you want to follow Jonathan’s entrepreneurial journey, he has a LinkedIn newsletter you can check out here too.
Operators to Know:
Ned Carlson, Head of Product, Creative Director
Jonathan Chang, Founder & CEO
Peter Chang, Head of Engineering
Caroline Rose Harrison, Content Director
Joseph Lillard, Head of Customers
My investigative powers continue to need work so apologies to the Markit Social team if I missed any up & coming operators internally
Key Roles To Be Hired:
More roles coming in the months ahead!
Senior Backend Software Engineer
If I were interviewing here are some questions I’d ask:
What are the biggest advantages of Markit’s approach to building events software relative to incumbents?
What are the key milestones your team is looking to achieve in the second half of 2023?
What is the long term vision for the company?
What are the most important roles you’ll be looking to add in 2023 to help reach your goals?
We’re optimizing for readability here so to learn more about Markit Social you’ll have to D.Y.O.R. I’m excited to watch this team bring more engaged event experiences into the digital age. All attendees applaud your efforts. See you at the show!
Career Summary / Enablement 101 / Career Insights
Carla Price is a Revenue Enablement leader who’s carved a path into startups, leveraging her education, to give her colleagues the tools they need to succeed. Through her career she’s been influenced through the help of family, friends, and colleagues. Especially her dad, a former social worker who’s battling Alzheimers. Carla has learned a lot from her father about what it means to find fulfillment in her work. He has been a lifelong teacher for her and others teaching countless students how to demonstrate leadership, communicate, and build relationships.
Carla had strong foundational educational experiences at St. Mary Academy - Bay View and Providence College. Originally thinking she might want to pursue a career as an attorney, she was a Philosophy major at PC and took some Psychology classes too. After college, she moved to New York with a friend where she entered the world of Marketing. Beginning as a Marketing Coordinator in real estate, she eventually transitioned to digital advertising at agencies before eventually breaking into advertising technology.
Carla gravitated to advertising because of her previous studies in trying to better understand how people’s minds work. She even completed a Masters in Education, attending night classes for two years while working full time, to continue her learning. This experience helped her realize her talents are best spent inside of rapid learning environments - growing technology startups. She doubled down on adtech, joining xAd (now GroundTruth) before landing at Liftoff, a rapidly growing ad tech startup later acquired by Blackstone.
At Liftoff, she spent 4+ critical years in Customer Success working inside of Revenue teams before transitioning to Enablement by way of Strategic Operations. Carla was Liftoff’s first Customer Success hire in New York at Liftoff as the company expanded East from its Bay Area HQ. She worked closely with Enterprise customers and the East Coast Enterprise Sales team helping to build out their New York revenue team. Through it all she learned a few things. She loved helping teams grow and she enjoyed teaching them and equipping them with the tools to succeed even more.
When there was an opportunity to join a newly formed Strategic Operations & Enablement team after 4 years at Liftoff, Carla transitioned from Customer Success to help manage cross functional project teams for strategic company initiatives. As an enablement leader, she collaborated with internal teams to develop playbooks and adopt best practices across the company.
Liftoff was undergoing rapid change in complexity and personnel as the company scaled. Carla began to focus on Enablement full time, leveraging her background in education & counseling to help the growing Commercial team develop.
She partnered with subject matter experts to teach team members new skills and knowledge by creating a “Liftoff Academy” program after a large company merger onboarded a bunch of new employees. As the Enablement Team Lead, she advised on the creation & formatting of the program and established a monthly cadence of company wide Enablement sessions. Managers and team members supported content creation and the enablement team leveraged feedback to determine how the teams would best learn the content. Experimenting with different learning formats, the enablement team helped the revenue teams understand how to talk about different emerging product areas with their customers.
Enablement 101 - Keep It Simple, Be Repetitive, Don’t Assume
As an Enablement leader you need to assist the leadership team by gathering the right information, figure out how you’re going to deliver the content, and then distribute it at a cadence & in a format that makes the most sense. Enablement, after all, is about supporting people and giving them the tools to be successful in their roles. When Carla explains her approach to Revenue Enablement, it’s about three things:
Keep it Simple
Don’t Assume, Get in the Field
Keep it Simple
Carla explained to me “when you’re leading a team, there are inevitable pitfalls”. At the speed and complexity with which a technology startup operates at, leaders often relay complex information that isn’t as complex to the experienced veterans inside of a company. There’s a learning curve for new hires that can be taken for granted. If you don’t give newer team members the time, space, and tools they need to get up to speed it can cause problems. There’s a daunting amount of acronyms, buzzwords, and new vocabulary that must be learned.
So you have to keep it simple.
Repetition is critical too. Carla emphasizes that “you need to think of yourself as a teacher, relaying basic concepts consistently.” People might not always feel comfortable speaking up either. And you can’t get stuck in your LMS (learning management system); you have to figure out what message resonates from the platform because misuse ends up in suffering by the end user, your customer (the revenue teams), resulting in wasted time.
Accessibility is another way to make sure lessons are repeatedly learned. Not just physical accessibility but various messaging for different people that learn in different ways. You can’t assume people work or learn the same. It’s just like in school where you have in class learning, homework, projects, etc. You need to repeat your message in various ways through combinations of learning to have your message resonate and be retained.
Don’t Assume, Get in the Field
How do you know what your team even needs to learn? Well, you need to get in the field obviously! You know what they say about people who assume.. Carla explains that “being an enablement leader is about supporting people and helping give them satisfaction in their roles. You can’t just assume something is already being done because you told them to do it or their manager told them to do it.” You have to get in the field and understand what people are actually doing (and why!), shadowing calls and understanding the day to day of the teams you support. In the same way as if you’re working with a pro sports team, as a coach you need to have a keen understanding of everyone’s role and the unique challenges they experience.
There are so many different Enablement tools for people to learn and receive content. It’s imperative to be strategic, intentional, and thoughtful about how to leverage them. Sometimes it’s micro learning, like a short video. But you need to avoid getting stuck in “textbook learning” by referring people to a CMS (content management system), like Seismic for example, without clear guidance and saying “it’s all in there”. As Carla put it “you might have encyclopedias downstairs but that doesn’t mean you know how to access all the information you need at any given time.”
Here are three career learnings Carla shared on her journey from marketing to agencies to ad tech across Customer Success and Enablement:
Empowerment - “If you can find your way to feel the most empowered, you will be in your best place. Especially as someone who is neurodiverse, and didn’t realize that until my early 30’s, feeling empowered has helped me thrive in my career”
Navigating Relationships - “Whether it’s working with sales people on account teams, or with different managers, you are going to have to learn how to work with all types of people. There will always be difficult people, some for you & me and sometimes just for me. I have learned that the same type of difficult person will continue to come through your life until you learn how to work with them, which inevitably improves your emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills”
Have Flexibility - “if you have the opportunity to have fluidity in your career and where you want to focus, keep yourself open to opportunities. It’s good to have goals, but it’s also good to have an open mindset which has helped to take me on a path to something that I really love”
Carla loves working in Enablement and wants to build a legacy of doing good…well. This functional area has lit a fire in her and she feels like she’s found a role where her skills fit best. She’s most happy & thriving when she’s able to lead and help others be their best selves. Furthermore, Enablement gives her the opportunities to help creatively solve problems in partnership with go to market teams and improve operational efficiencies. All with the goal of supporting businesses to run as well oiled machines across people, processes, and performance. Just like her dad, Carla wants to help others be their best.
For more about Carla, you can reach out to her on LinkedIn, leading the Providence Chapter for WiSE (Women in Sales Enablement), or hanging with her two active children at a Rhode Island beach just south of Boston this summer. Thanks for sharing. We’re all looking to see how you continue to empower teams as an Enablement leader in the years ahead!
Any feedback for me? One thing you liked? One thing you didn’t? Local startups or operators to highlight? Just reply to this e-mail!
See you next week!
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