Cvent buys Seed Labs to help manage $6B of events in 2012

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Cvent, probably the world’s largest cloud-based online registration and event management company, has bought mobile event apps maker Seed Labs for an undisclosed sum in its first-ever corporate acquisition. It’s the latest act in a stunning turn-around for the Virginia-based company, which was left for dead years ago after a high-flying dot-com start.

Seed Labs makes mobile apps for entertainment events like ESPN’s X-games, country music’s CMS awards, and more. The company builds apps for all major platforms, including iOS, Android, and BlackBerry. The acquisition has been in the works for some time — former Seed Labs CEO changed his LinkedIn status to director, mobile technology for Cvent in April — but is just being publicly announced now.

Cvent has not always been well positioned to gobble up talented young companies. After burning through almost all of the $17 million of venture capital the company raised in during the dot-com boom in 1999, Cvent was forced to tighten its belt and fight for its life:

“We were the walking dead from 2001 to 2005,” CEO Reggie Aggarwal told VentureBeat.

The company has now had 37 straight profitable quarters, however, and in July of 2011 raised $136 million from NEA and Insight Venture Partners — not because the company needed it, Aggarwal said yesterday, but simply to enable Cvent to make strategic investments when and where needed.

“We’re growing fast,” Aggarwal said. “We need to identify innovative technology and make sure we’re there.”

Cvent has been targeting areas relating to event management to invest in, and mobile was at the top of its list. Seed Labs was Aggarwal’s choice after investigating literally dozens of companies. Since Cvent is predominantly business-to-business focused, and, though innovative, currently has over 1,000 employees, Aggarwal wanted a startup with both great product and great people.

“We were looking for the best product, and the best company — we wanted to get an infusion of their DNA.”

This year Cvent will managed $6 billion worth of meetings, up from $4 billion last year. That’s no small feat. And it has a massive pool of rentable event spaces around the globe: 180,000 venues.

That success, plus the $136 million in expansion capital in CEO Aggarwal’s pocket, mean Seed Labs will likely not be the Cvent’s last acquisition.

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