John Beresford will be on the RBC Canadian Open golf course at Oakville’s Glen Abbey Golf Club this weekend.

He won’t be playing in the tournament. Instead, Beresford will represent Eventpeeks, the social media display-and-data analytics company he co-founded while finishing his Master of Business Administration (MBA) at Wilfrid Laurier University.

Beresford, along with his co-founders Aron Tennant and Bart Piwowar, doesn’t have the familiar Waterloo Region startup story.  The team isn’t fresh out of school, living on ramen noodles and pitching to investors to get their company off the ground.

The men all have wives, new babies, mortgages and full-time jobs. Beresford is a program coordinator for the Laurier LaunchPad, Tennant is a sales engineer for Karos Health and Piwowar is a senior specialist at Deloitte’s innovation lab. They work on Eventpeeks at nights and on weekends.

“We finish our day jobs and all meet up to code and work all night,” Beresford said.

Eventpeeks is a social media aggregator that collects shared posts, using a hashtag or account name, and displays them at an event to create a shared experience. Eventpeeks also has a robust analytics platform that offers sophisticated insight on an event’s social impact.

The three became friends while they worked on their MBAs at Laurier. They had common interests: previous careers in the tech industry, and a need for something more.

While finishing up their MBAs in 2013, they learned about the Laurier LaunchPad, an incubator that allows students to earn course credit while starting their own businesses, Beresford, Tennant and Piwowar figured it was a chance to try out entrepreneurship and work together on a project.

Their course project would eventually turn into Eventpeeks.

“We were trying to get a B- and we got a company,” Beresford said.

Beresford was working on another project when Tennant and Piwowar signed Eventpeeks’ first customer, Communitech.

Eventpeeks was unveiled at the 2013 Techtoberfest conference. Since then, it has become an official Twitter partner and works with the social-media giant to create experiences at large events.

The team has most recently been at the Toronto International Film Festival, the Junos, the Women’s FIFA World Cup, and Kitchener’s Summer Lights Festival.

The team also works with some celebrity clients who want to maximize and better understand their social media presence.

As the clients and their needs develop, Beresford and his team are planning to transition to working on Eventpeeks full-time. It’s been a slow and careful process though.

Aware of their family responsibilities, the men have have grown Eventpeeks smartly. The company has been revenue-positive since day one, Beresford said. It was important to the team to build their company without debt or equity financing.

“It’s what I tell my students,” said Beresford, who also works at Laurier as an instructor. “If your clients won’t pay for your product right away, then it’s not right.”

Beresford acknowledges that his age has helped him in selling Eventpeeks. He says that he has the confidence now to sell his product to a client before it’s even been built out in order to have the client pay for development. When he was younger he doubted he would have the pluck to make such a request – which has been instrumental in helping to grow the company.

“We took the right path,” Beresford said. “We all have business experience working with world-class companies [the co-founders worked for BlackBerry, Unitron and Primal]. We have developed networks. We feel more confident and are in a better position than we would have been even 10 years ago.”

So this week, Beresford will be at the RBC Canadian Open with the Eventpeeks social-media kiosk. The branded touchscreen and camera-equipped console will let attendees get pictures they can’t always get on their own.

“We bring social into an event,” Beresford said. “You used to experience social media by yourself. Now we help you share it.”

When he has had a long day balancing his full-time job, family life and Eventpeeks obligations, Beresford remembers he gets the opportunity to help people share experiences.

“We have the best job,” he said. “No one calls us unless there’s an amazing event, and we get to be a part of it.”


Have a great couple of weeks! I’m taking some time off, but we have a special guest writer coming on board to share his opinions and perspectives on Waterloo Region for the column. For now, I see and hear that . . .  This Thursday, July 23, you should head down to the Bandshell at Waterloo Park, for another great Music & Movies in the Park. Live music starts at 7 p.m. and the movie begins at 9 p.m. This week’s band is the Waterstreet Blues Band and the movie is The Sound of Music. The event is free with the donation of a non-perishable food item for the Food Bank of Waterloo Region. Make sure to bring a blanket or a folding chair to watch the movie in comfort . . . This Saturday, July 25, is the Schneider Creek Porch Party. The free music festival takes place in Kitchener’s Schneider Creek Neighbourhood, which includes Benton, Bruder, Martin and Cedar streets, and Whitney Place. The free event features a variety of musicians and runs 4-7 p.m. Parking is available at the Joseph Schneider Haus, 466 Queen St. S. The museum will be open and free during the party . . . If you get hungry at the porch party, you can wander over to the Independent Living Centre of Waterloo Region at 201-127 Victoria St. S. for the Waterloo Region Food Truck Fare. The festival supports local food trucks, vendors and craft breweries. The event runs 3-9 p.m. with free admission. Food prices vary and craft beer is $2 for eight ounces.