Ralston’s Event Vesta Named Metro Start-Up of Year


Andrew Prystai speaks Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021, at I See It Ventures in Ralston. Prystai and co-founder Billy Martin’s company Event Vesta was named the 2021 AIM Metro Start-Up of the Year. (Derek Noehren/Daily Record)
By 
Derek Noehren
The Daily Record

Launched amid the pandemic by co-founders Andrew Prystai and Billy Martin, Ralston company Event Vesta has not only survived, but thrived.

The AIM Institute named Event Vesta as its 2021 Metro Start-Up of the Year at a Tuesday news conference in Ralston. The company was formally presented with the honor at the AIM Tech Awards on Thursday.

Event Vesta is an online platform launched in 2019 that streamlines event promotion and drives local attendance. The company already has more than 500 clients, including Henry Doorly Zoo, Harley Davidson and the YMCA, along with dozens of bars, venues and nonprofits — in Omaha and around the country.

Martin believes the company is now in a great position and on the road to expansion.

“We have launched a brand-new mobile app available in Omaha in the Google Play and Apple App Store,” Martin said. “The app is making it easier and more fun than ever to find exciting events and experiences with friends or family. When we launch this app across the country, it will be a key to continued job creation and growth at our firm.”

Prystai talked about navigating the unique challenges and uncertainties of the pandemic in the early stages of the business.

“We started right before COVID and launched the first version in late 2019,” Prystai said. “It was kind of the perfect timing. We were still young enough that we could made adaptions and little pivots and changes to make adjustments to this COVID environment.”

The company adjusted, getting involved with things like takeout food nights locally as well as expanding “significantly wider than we had planned” by going to Texas, Florida and Arizona where more outdoor events were happening during the earlier waves of the pandemic.

Event Vesta began from a Ralston-based program to develop young entrepreneurs, launch new start-ups and create new jobs and economic growth in the central Metro, run by I See It Ventures CEO Gordon Whitten.

“We are proud of the remarkable growth achieved by Event Vesta,” Whitten said. “This is exactly what we envisioned when we started our business accelerator: finding and developing bright, young entrepreneurs with a great vision and nurturing their talents.”

The business accelerator is a private-public partnership between the City of Ralston and I See It Ventures as part of the $250 million Hinge redevelopment project. The city and I See It Ventures each invested funds to help launch new businesses as part of the $20 million Granary District’s entertainment, residential living and commercial project.

“Our Granary District project brings new residential and commercial spaces to lease with a unique recreational infrastructure that will allow our new businesses to attract quality talent and thrive,” Whitten said. “Given Ralston’s designation as an economic opportunity zone, investors benefit a lot too. We believe Event Vesta’s success will drive even more investment in the project.”

AIM Institute Director of Business Development Tony Veland also spoke on what made Event Vesta this year’s selection.

“Investing in our communities is essential to making them great places to live,” Veland said. “The AIM Institute encourages those investments by connecting the cutting-edge tech community in Omaha and promoting success. Event Vesta is a great example of the entrepreneurial spirt in the Metro and we are proud to name the firm as Start-Up of the year.”

Event Vesta is among good company — joining past winners such as Hudl and Hayneedle.

Michael Sanchez, a Ralston City Council member, said he envisions Ralston as an entrepreneurial hub and economic growth driver of central Omaha.

“As an entrepreneur who has invested in successful redevelopment projects like Blackstone and Benson, I know the value of investing in the young entrepreneurs that create job and bring young talent to the area. Event Vesta is a great success story,” Sanchez said.

For more on the Granary District, visit granarydistrictomaha.com. To see other 2021 AIM Tech Award winners, visit aimtechawards.org.

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