Eventbaxx co-founder Marc Grewenig won the IMEXPitch startup contest for emerging event tech companies at IMEX Frankfurt yesterday.

IMEX, with two events in Germany and Las Vegas every year, is the world’s largest trade show for the meetings and conventions industry.

The concept behind Eventbaxx replaces the traditional conference gift bag full of event sponsor freebies with a digital gift bag. The platform allows sponsors and event planners to customize their swag offerings to the individual attendee, and it provides detailed metrics on engagement.

First, companies send rich content to attendees via email linking to customized microsites hosting items of value, like gift certificates, that recipients can redeem online. Eventbaxx then supplies those companies with data analytics showing how attendees are engaging with the microsites configured to the attendees’ personal interests.

Meaning, sponsors can create different microsites targeting subsets of speakers, exhibitors, specific general session audiences, etc. During his pitch, Grewenig said that the sponsor emails delivered through the Eventbaxx platform average a 60% open rate followed by a 60% click through rate.

“With the normal goodie bag there’s no way to measure your return on investment, and usually 80% of them are thrown away,” he explained. “Instead, we connect brands with their audience with interactive microsites, which are far more efficient and scalable than traditional methods, before, during, and after the event.”

The four other startup companies at IMEXPitch Frankfurt were Interactio, Mash Machine, Grip and Qmeeto.

Interactio, which shifts translation services from using expensive headsets to attendees’ phones, is especially interesting for events with international audiences considering the costs those often annoying headsets incur.

“I think the most interesting thing this year was that we had five very different products,” said Miguel Neves, digital community manager at IMEX, and one of the contest judges. “We had an entertainment unit, a translation app, an event planning app, a connecting platform, and Eventbaxx, a kind of hybrid email/content/digital goodie bag.”

Neves said Eventbaxx isn’t necessarily really new, “but what I liked about it was it’s so easy for planners to use.”

To participate in IMEXPitch, companies are required to be less than two years old. The five finalists selected for yesterday’s event were all working business models with paying clients. The National Basketball Association, for example, uses Eventbaxx.

There were about 125 people in the audience listening to the 5-minute pitches this time around. This is an enjoyable and educational showpiece event for IMEX that deserves a larger stage and more aggressive promotion, because there’s a large percentage of planners who don’t understand the startup pitch experience or sophisticated event tech in general.

IMEXPitch could help educate a lot more planners if it moved out of the “IMEX Inspiration Hub,” which always has challenging audio/acoustics and cramped seating, and into a more comfortable environment.

Neves says he wants to wait until the event grows larger before dedicating a bigger space for the pitches, but this is potentially a case where a larger experience will drive a larger audience.

Photo Credit: Co-founder Marc Grewenig pitches Eventbaxx at this year's IMEXPitch Contest in Frankfurt. Skift