The pandemic has decimated every segment of the event industry save event tech, in which it has fueled unprecedented growth due to the need for virtual and hybrid solutions. Despite a recent dip in Zoom stock, the trend shows no sign of abating.
If there is a silver lining to everything that's happened this past year, it's the massive growth and focus on the event tech sector. Investments in event tech have surged throughout the year, and this trend has continued over the last few weeks — despite the fact that Zoom's stock and outlook have been suffering slightly as a probable result of the newly-approved Covid vaccine.
Realistically, health and safety guidelines will likely continue well into next year as the vaccine is slowly distributed to the masses, and these new event tech developments certainly seem to indicate that virtual solutions aren't going anywhere.
Slido Acquired by Cisco
Cisco Webex has been a major player in the video conferencing space this year, along with Zoom and Microsoft Teams. The company announced last week that it will be acquiring Slido, a live polling and Q&A tool that facilitates audience engagement for both live and virtual events.
Although Cisco will now integrate Slido into its Webex tool by default, it still plans to keep Slido as a standalone product and allow it to be used with other platforms.
Former DoubleDutch Team Launched twine for Deep Networking
Earlier this month, a team composed of DoubleDutch alumni announced the launch of their new product, twine. The tool aims to address the challenge of deep networking for virtual events and remote teams by facilitating one-on-one conversations between participants based on meaningful questions and prompts.
The company emerged from stealth mode with a total of $1.75 million in funding from investors including Hinge Capital, FJ Labs, and Coelius Capital to help them continue to grow their software.
Wonder Raised $11M in Seed Funding
Another virtual networking platform, Wonder, recently completed a seed round with $11 million in new funding. One of the platform's main features is Areas, which allows users to place their avatars in different on-screen spaces in order to more easily find and connect with like-minded people.
Wonder plans to use the new funding to expand its team and introduce new user-requested features, such as file sharing, to its tool.
EventsCase Secured in £3.5M in Series A Funding
UK-based event management platform EventsCase began as a live event tool but pivoted its product this year to include more virtual offerings. It recently completed its Series A investment round, during which it secured £3.5 million (about $4.7 millon) in funding.
In the next six months, the company plans to use part of this capital to launch a native video streaming platform and expand its tech and support teams.
Planned Finished Out Second Investment Round
Planned, an event platform that helps planners find and book suppliers across North America, is yet another tech solution that has generated increased investment interest this year, raising CAD$4.7 million (about USD$5.4 million) in venture financing.
In response to the pandemic, Planned debuted a virtual marketplace to assist eventprofs in finding vendors for their digital events, and the company is continuing to develop new features with the imminent return of live events in mind.
In a year characterized by cancelled events and a huge push online, the virtual event tech sector has been booming.
The future is still somewhat uncertain as live gatherings will continue to resume over the next year, but there is clearly still a lot to look forward to when it comes to virtual event innovation.