Event networking app Grip raises $13M, as pandemic forces occasions to remain digital – TechCrunch

by akoloy

With offline occasions now firmly moved to on-line for the foreseeable future, startups within the networking area needed to pivot quick within the face of the pandemic. One of these was Grip, beforehand higher generally known as a networking app for bodily conferences (together with TechCrunch Disrupt, at one level). Since final yr, Grip moved into an ‘omnichannel’ expertise, combining varied occasion sorts throughout digital, hybrid, and reside. That technique seems to have paid off because it has now raised a $13 million Series A funding spherical, taking its complete quantity raised to $14.5 million.

The spherical was led by London-based progress fairness fund Kennet Partners. The elevate is reflective of the increase in on-line occasions, which noticed London-based startup Hopin elevate a $40m Series A final yr. Founded in 2016, Grip counts some massive occasion organizers as shoppers together with Reed Exhibitions and Messe Frankfurt.

In a press release Tim Groot, CEO and founding father of Grip, mentioned: “Our mission is to empower organizers to bring professionals together to advance industries. This funding round is going to enable us to take the experience to a new level, leveraging our extensive industry-leading platform, offering unique value for Virtual, Hybrid and In-Person events.”

He mentioned they might now be investing closely within the product and trying to international enlargement.

Other rivals to Grip have, previously, included Brella which raised $1.5m, and Swapcard which raised $6m to this point.

So why is it that Grip appears to have pulled away from pack on this manner?

Groot advised me: “We took a slightly different approach in that we managed to work in a plug-and-play method alongside other platforms. So grip gets used as a standalone virtual event platform by lots of these organizers. So they might use Hopin for the conference but Grip for the networking. So maybe we managed to get more traction that way, over the course of 2020.”

In 2020, following the pivot to digital occasions, Grip hosted over 100 occasions a month and was utilized by 1.5m individuals. As a outcome, the corporate says income grew virtually 4x in 2020, and this yr it expects to do over 10,000 occasions on its platform with over 5 million members.

Grips AI-powered algorithms imply attendees get extra personalised matchmaking suggestions based mostly on their pursuits, together with pre-event assembly scheduling. For exhibitors, the software program captures enterprise leads and offers post-event analytics.

People could be added to conferences to have group conversations and the startup can be engaged on a topic-based “speed networking” performance to carry on the spot 3 minute conversations.

Grip integrates with varied streaming platforms equivalent to Vimeo, Youtube, Zoom, BlueJeans and others, in contrast to “full-service” platforms equivalent to Hopin or Bizzabo.

Hillel Zidel, Partner at Kennet and Grip board member, added: “Grip’s ability to organize virtual events with a key focus on networking has meant that the company has seen tremendous growth over the last year. Event organizers and their clients have been able to remain connected with their customers despite the constraints on in-person events. As live events resume in the future, Grip is extremely well-positioned to continue to assist event organizers through the provision of software solutions supporting live, virtual and hybrid events.”

Brent Hoberman, co-founder of Founders Factory and a earlier investor, mentioned: “Grip was born out of a need we saw in running events at Founders Forum – how do you use smart technology to catalyze the most relevant and valuable connections between your guests?”

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