Got some extra “fun money” lying around outside of your IRA, 401k, kid’s college fund or monthly mortgage payment? Between crowdsourcing, pre-IPO investment platforms and traditional funds, there are numerous opportunities for high-risk, high-reward investing in emerging and disruptive technologies just waiting for skyrocketing profits or acquisition by the big players looking to own future competition or better their own products.
According to Deloitte, corporate travel, though still sluggish from Covid restrictions, “should grow significantly” in 2022 while leveling off in 2023. “Team meetings that have been postponed multiple times will finally take place. More conferences will shift back from online to in-person, and those that already have will likely see attendance improve.” Corporate and employee concerns regarding travel and in-person meetings have decreased as Covid-19 fears fade into memory and corporations bring employees back into the office. Corporate leadership understands in-person interfacing spurs “innovation and growth” and anticipates more one-on-ones between clients and peers.
A December 2021 TechCrunch article said, “the gradual return of tourism and travel in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to see a wave of startups raising rounds of funding to meet new opportunities in the market.” While the article refers to an event and travel experience platform aimed at creating vendor opportunities, there’s definite crossover into the corporate event planning software space for companies treating their corporate events as unique client relationship or team-building experiences.
Below, we’ll explore five young companies disrupting the event planning space at different funding stages. Thanks to Emma McGowan at startups.com for explaining funding rounds:
- Pre-Seed money is raised from friends, family or all those savings bonds you got from your grandparents. Pure development stage.
- Seed is the earliest stage funding for growing ventures focusing on target markets and customers and developing a scalable product. Like pre-seed, money can come from personal funds and family, though angel investors are most common here, early-stage VCs and incubators invest as well. Typical funds raised and valuation: $500,000-$2M, $3M-6M.
- Series A startups have a proven record (based on various metrics) and now level up via a Series A round. At this point, investors expect to see income and a solid business plan. Typical funds raised and valuation: $2M-$15M, $10M-$15M.
- Series B businesses have found a niche and need funds to grow. Typical funds raised and valuation: $7M-$10M, $30M-$60M.
- Series C companies are showing real success and are ready to expand their product line and market reach, often internationally, and acquire other companies. Series C is usually the end of the funding line for most startups before public offering or purchase by an outside firm. Typical funds raised and valuation: $26M, $100M-$120M plus.
- Series D & E can mean additional funding for further expansion, or a higher valuation push before an IPO or a “down round,” meaning a company has underperformed and “raises money at lower valuation than they raised in their previous round.”
Now that we’re experts in startup funding rounds, let’s get ready to invest! Below are five disruptive event-space platforms we think are worth investigating (actually, investing is serious business, and you should dig deep and learn as much as possible and/or utilize a financial advisor before parting with your money!).
Five Event Space Platforms
Bizzabo, according to their LinkedIn profile, “powers immersive in-person, virtual, and hybrid experiences. The Bizzabo Event Experience OS is a data-rich open platform that allows Event Experience Leaders to manage events, engage audiences, activate communities, and deliver powerful business outcomes — while keeping attendee data private and secure.” Bizzabo’s latest news indicates they raised $35 million in Series E Funding in July 2022.
Brella claims to be “an unparalleled networking experience and a revolutionary app that redefines the way of experiencing in-person events.” Last June, Brella raised $10 million in Series A funding.
Talentspace, says their Facebook profile, “is the most interactive virtual and hybrid recruiting event platform that allows universities, workforce boards, associations and employers to host seamless and high touch career fairs, hiring days and networking events.” Though still in Seed Funding, the company was acquired by early talent network Handshake.
Planned claims they’re “redefining the way corporate events are planned. Streamlines your corporate event planning process from supplier sourcing, budgeting, booking, and overall event management.” According to an August 2022 news release, Planned raised $18 million in Seed Funding anticipating the return of in-person events.
Hopin claims it’s the “one event management platform for all your events,” the platform to “create immersive virtual, hybrid, and in-person event experiences for your audience, no matter where they are” In June 2022 the company raised $450 million in Series D Funding.