Activity in the virtual events space has exploded this year, as businesses across industries have reallocated 67% of budget dollars originally intended for live events this year to online conferences, meetings, and expos.
Not surprisingly, virtual event technology vendors have responded. New platforms have been introduced, and mature products updated and enhanced.
Even now, many months into the pandemic, video conferencing and team collaboration software are still among “surging” categories for spending by business technology buyers. This is driven partly by disappointment in tools purchased early in the lockdown, and partly by the demand from attendees for richer, more engaging online event experiences.
One of the newest and most interesting entrants in the virtual event software market is VII Events, founded in January 2020. Developed prior to the coronavirus outbreak, the original purpose Stas Zaslavsky intended for the platform was to enhance the hybrid event experience: to enable organizers staging in-person events to extend that 3D, 360-degree experience to online attendees as well, rather than just a video stream.
When COVID-19 forced live events online, the unique experience provided by the platform made it even more compelling. Here’s the story behind VII Events and its founder.
VII Events is a 3D, 360-degree virtual events SaaS platform that can provide event attendees with at outstanding event experience while delivering measurable business results to event organizers.
Today there are many different solutions available, each taking different approaches to the event virtualization.
The VII Events platform is focused on two main objectives:
1) Great attendee experience, fully web-based, easy to navigate.
Beyond all the cool features that necessary for live session streaming, it adds an additional layer of experience in the form of 3D 360° or 2D graphics that transforms any virtual event from a regular web page into a unique virtual environment that conveys to the attendee the spirit of the event and creates a memorable experience.
VII Events is the only platform that provides both hyper-realistic 2D and 3D 360° customizable graphical engines.
2) Business and lead generation.
The platform’s primary benefit is to create business value for customers, to produce ROI by generating qualified leads and driving attendees toward meaningful interaction during the event and afterwards.
The product offers advanced lead generation capabilities with full integration to client CRM systems and marketing automation tools like SalesForce, Marketo, Eloqua, HubSpot, Mailchimp, and others. It also provides analytics that convert big data into actionable insights—not just raw data, but guidance about what to do next and how to convert knowledge into action that leads to business.
Year founded: January 2020
Funding rounds: Bootstrapped / Self-Funded
Current size: not disclosed
Webbiquity: What inspired you to work on a solution to this particular problem?
Stas Zaslavsky: The problem we set out to solve initially started with a question: “How can you fit 5,000 people in a room for 100?”
The answer is: you can’t! You need a bigger space!
Now add to the problem, to make this even more complicated, those people are located remotely, and you all need to fly from different countries, and accommodate them, while making all of this cost-effective.
That is what more than four million companies and event organizers go thought every year.
To generate business, companies organize summits, events, trade shows, and expos. They bring people into one place, sell them on their products, all based on in-person interactions.
Doing this successfully and getting strong measurable business results is not easy.
We started VII Events to build a more efficient, cost-effective way. You can’t fit 5,000 people in a room for 100. But you can invite 100 attendees to amazing in-person event and invite additional 4,900 attendees to an impactful virtual event!
When COVID-19 hit, one of my clients in a different business I own (One-V – a digital marketing agency) contacted me, following the cancellation of his industry event, and asked what could be done to replace his cancelled event. It was than I recognized the potential of the market, foreseeing that the entire industry would be forced to move toward virtualization.
It was no-brainer; we shifted gears immediately and started working towards the solution.
We are very glad for our decision back then. It led us to our positioning today, allowing to grow rapidly and expand on a daily basis.
Webbiquity: What were the most effective channels or methods for you to get the word out to prospective customers when you first launched your product?
SZ: Many times, attendees at our events convert into future customers. But there are other channels that provides many leads, like: LinkedIn, Facebook, and SEO (Google).
Webbiquity: Finish this sentence: “Knowing what I know now, if I were starting over today, what I would do differently is…”
SZ: I am really happy with the results so far. I am not a fun of “do overs.” Where we are today is forged by our history; that includes success and failures, I believe that the only direction in life is forward. You need to learn from your experiences and fix them as you go.
Webbiquity: What’s the most important advice you could offer to an entrepreneur starting out today?
SZ: Don’t forget to listen to your potential customers. They are going to use your product / solution. Getting and using their feedback is vital to the success of your startup and business.