GROWTH in the demand for hybrid event platforms is seeing investors plunge $10 million into Delegate Connect as the Melbourne company seeks to expand globally.
Venture Capital companies and tech investors have spotted the “structural shift” in the business events industry as the global pandemic encourages more association and corporate organisers to explore hybrid options for their conferences and meetings.
For AirTree Ventures, the fund which led Delegate Connect’s first round for raising seed capital, the move represented the largest seed cheque it has written.
The round also includes investment from Skip Capital, the private fund of Kim Jackson and Scott Farquhar (co-founder of Atlassian), along with investment fund TEN13. Founders of some of Australia’s top startups, including Alex Zaccaria, CEO and founder of LinkTree, and Andrew Barnes, CEO and founder of Go1, also joined the oversubscribed funding round.
Delegate Connect’s end-to-end event platform has had rapid uptake during the Covid-19 pandemic. This signals a longer-term shift to virtual and hybrid events where location, audience, venue and time zone barriers don’t exist, says a spokesman for the tech start-up.
Clients include the Edinburgh TV Festival, Sportsbet and the World Dental Congress.
The $10m will be used to fuel international growth and expand the team globally. This will include increasing Delegate Connect’s existing headcount from 45 in its Melbourne, London and Norway offices to over 100 by recruiting an additional 65 roles by December 2021. The opening of a US-based office is also planned in the next few months.
“We have clients around the world who love using our platform because it is built to solve the exact problems they are faced with,” says Jordan Walsh, co-founder and CEO of Delegate Connect.
“With the incredible demand we’re seeing for our services from overseas, we’re looking forward to building out our teams there to be closer to our customers and continue to provide an end-to-end solution for events globally.”
The funding round will also provide growth capital to continue rapid product development and further enhance the hybrid and virtual event experience on the platform.
Features of the platform include automatic tracking and accreditation of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points, as well as the ability to run unlimited concurrent streams of content. These are seeing increased demand from pharmaceutical companies, medical associations, corporate buyers and more.
“This year we’ve held hundreds of large-scale virtual and hybrid conferences on the platform. In August, the World Library and Information Congress was held on the Delegate Connect platform, attracting 4,000 delegates. Our technology was able to deliver the whole three-day conference live across three different time zones and in seven different languages,” adds Jordan Walsh.
“Bringing on an incredible group of investors enables us to continue to push the limits of what is possible in event technology, and we are so excited to share some of the world-first features that we will be launching over the coming months.”
John Henderson, partner at AirTree Ventures, said: “We’re looking for founder-market fit in early-stage investments, and Jordan and Jacob’s mix of deep technical expertise and decades of experience in the events industry is a textbook definition of it.
“The rapid adoption of virtual and hybrid events in the past 18 months represents a structural shift going forward. Delegate Connect’s end-to-end technology is differentiated from their off-the-shelf competitors.”
Main picture: CEO Jordan Walsh (left) and chief information officer Jacob Thomas