Innovate July 2016


Written By: Ramón Peña


Over the last eight years, ShowGizmo’s chief executive officer built her home out of a 60-footlong wooden fishing trawler in Wellington, New Zealand. It’s a fitting comparison for her company’s rise.

“Once you’ve crossed the wide-open sea and the 6-meter-high waves and you think you’re going to die, nothing in startup land is scary anymore,” said Marie-Claire Andrews, ShowGizmo CEO.

Self-qualifying as a “stand-up,” according to Andrews, ShowGizmo creates apps for events for businesses and individuals, with over 500 companies across several continents and thousands of events already catered to. When ShowGizmo began, it was from the ground-up, just like Andrews’ home. It started with one programmer — on one day of the week. If something needing changing on Tuesday, then they had to hope that it could wait until the Monday programmer could fix it.

It’s funny to think of now, Andrews said, with a much more established team. She considers her programmers either “gurus” or “geniuses,” and places as much value in them as she does her 21-year-old head of marketing. Even though Andrews recently moved from the fishing trawler, that’s the kind of innovation that earned the 5-year-old New Zealand event app creators their spot as the top event app in Australasia and let them expand into the Middle East and now the United States. Their success is because they’re willing to go the extra mile to make a project personal and focus on the individual’s vision, Andrews said.

“We’re really the app for the people with the smaller teams and smaller budgets,” Andrews said. “We really work alongside the event planners to make the most of the app. Our sales team (isn’t) just trying to sell the product itself; they’re trying to make sure it fits.”

The events include Taste of Gainesville in early June 2016, which ShowGizmo has already developed the app for. Taste of Gainesville will start June 5 and feature local foods and talented chefs competing for the benefit of several charities. “Fundamentally, it’s going to be the event in people’s hands,” Andrews said. “If they want to know what’s happening when, what’s going on (or) who else is going to be there, then that will be all in the app.”

In late 2015, the New Zealandbased company became linked with Gainesville. As part of its rapid growth and expansion, it branched out to the U.S., not content with being the big fish of its “little pond.” It acquired local company Feathr’s mobile app business and was introduced to the city as well as many clients. In February 2016, Andrews and her partner came to visit Gainesville and immediately liked it, as it mirrored the feeling of back home, she said.

“It’s the best of both worlds,” Andrews said. “You’ve got a good-sized population, but you’ve got wide open spaces. And you’ve got, frankly, a whole bunch of smart people.” While it has teams all over the U.S. — from Denver and Orlando to Washington D.C. — Andrews said ShowGizmo is looking forward to placing brick and mortar in Gainesville, Florida.


RAMÓN PEÑA is a fourth-year journalism major at the University of Florida. He hopes to become rich and be able to retire before his thirtieth birthday. In the meantime, he’s content speaking a mixture of English, Spanish, and French, trying to kick-start his internet fame and being a full-time journalist on the side.

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