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In the progress of negotiations to be brought on as the CTO for pre-seed post-revenue company. Looking at around 5% equity.
Is it “standard practice” that my equity would dilute, proportionally, upon investment (or new leadership hires, etc) events? Or is it standard that my equity would remain static throughout?
Any terms or concepts I could be looking into to learn more about this specifically?
The COVID-19 pandemic impacted the way a number of companies have had to do business. For the event discovery startup, IRL, it meant pivoting into the virtual events space. This April, the startup quickly reacted to government lockdowns and restrictions on in-person gatherings to focus on helping people find their online counterparts and other virtual events, like live-streamed concerts, Zoom parties, esports tournaments, and more. Today, those efforts are paying off as IRL announces $ 16 million in Series B funding and the expansion of its social calendaring app to colleges.
The new round was led by Goodwater Capital with participation from Founders Fund, Floodgate, and Raine, and comes on top of the $ 11 million IRL had previously raised, including its $ 8 million Series A last year.
The coronavirus pandemic, surprisingly, may have made IRL relevant to a wider audience. Before, IRL was mostly useful to those who lived in areas where there were a lot of events to attend, or who could afford to travel. But with the refocusing on “remote life” instead of “real life,” more people could launch the app to find something interesting to do — even if it was only online.
In fitting with its new focus, IRL redesigned its app earlier this year to create a new homescreen experience where users could discover events they could attend remotely. This design continues to be tweaked, and now features a colorful “discover” tab in the app where you can tap into various event categories, like gaming, music, tv, wellness, sports, podcasts, lifestyle, and more, including those sourced from partners like TikTok, Meetup, Twitch, Spotify, SoundCloud, HBO, Ticketmaster, Eventbrite, and others.
There are also dedicated sections for events you’re following and a curated Top Picks. The IRL in-app calendar, meanwhile, lets you easily see what’s happening today and in the weeks and months ahead.
According to TikTok, IRL had helped it gauge early interest in its The Weekend Experience event, with some 52,000 IRL RSVPs and 1.1 million followers on its IRL profile.
“IRL has been an amazing platform for us to engage with more of our audience and meet new potential users,” said Jenny Zhu, Head of Integrated Marketing U.S. at TikTok. She also added that TikTok sees “major traffic coming from IRL” and is “excited to continue our partnership.”
In terms of growth, IRL claims its users are now tracking over 1 million hours per spent daily in “Time Together” — a metric that tabulates the number of hours users are spending together at the events they RSVP’d to, virtual or otherwise. In addition, IRL says it has seen 10x growth in daily active users and a total of 300 million “Time Together” hours since last June. It also claims 5.5 million MAUs.
While IRL doesn’t share its download figures, app store intelligence firm Sensor Tower estimates the app has seen a total of 7.7 million installs across iOS and Android.
With the additional capital, IRL is expanding with the launch of a college network.
Its goal is to improve upon the Facebook experience for the younger, student demographic by helping college users find, share, and attend academic and social events, both physical and virtual. However, just this month Facebook launched its own college network, Facebook Campus, which allows students to privately network and track student events on the Facebook platform, outside of their main Facebook profile.
IRL says it’s starting its college network with 100 colleges and universities across the North America, including Harvard, Columbia and NYU. Facebook Campus, meanwhile, launched with 30 schools.
“IRL is the only social platform that helps users find the best ways to spend their time and actually encourages them to get off the platform,” said IRL founder and CEO Abraham Shafi, Founder, about the launch of the new network. “Colleges and universities, in particular, need a way to build and foster a sense of community, whether their students are away from campus remote learning or on campus practicing hybrid learning,” he explained.
For IRL’s investor, Chi-Hua Chien, a Managing Partner at Goodwater Capital, the potential in IRL is its focus on real connections and community-building.
“We believe IRL will grow to become one of the major social networks powering communities on the Internet and in the real world,” Chien said. “IRL delivers on the promise to make social media less isolating, by helping drive authentic connection between friends and family around events they care about,” he added.
Airmeet, a startup that offers a platform to host virtual events, said on Tuesday it has raised $ 12 million in a new financing round as the Bangalore-headquartered firm demonstrates accelerating growth in its user base.
Sequoia Capital India led the $ 12 million Series A financing round in one-year-old Airmeet. Redpoint Ventures and existing investors Accel India, Venture Highway, Global Founders Capital (GFC) and Gokul Rajaram (Caviar Lead at DoorDash) also participated in the round.
The new round values Airmeet at about $ 50 million, more than double of what it was valued in March, when it raised $ 3 million, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Airmeet allows users and businesses to host interactive virtual events. Its platform intuitively replicates aspects of a physical event, offering a backstage, grouping people to a table, allowing participants to network with each other and even enabling event organizers to work with sponsors. Airmeet, currently in public beta, is available through a freemium model where it charges businesses based on their usage.
In an interview with TechCrunch, Lalit Mangal, co-founder of Airmeet, said the usage on the platform has grown 2,000% over the last quarter without any investment in advertisement, he said.
In recent months, Airmeet has worked to expand the use cases of the platform. In addition to hosting large conferences, Airmeet is now also being used for professional meetups at large film festivals, he said. Recently it held university resource fairs and technical industry summits.
“Covid-19 has accelerated a permanent behavioral shift across many industries. With digitization of largely traditional spaces leapfrogging by years, the $ 800+ billion global offline events space is up for grabs. There is massive potential for players who drive the industry’s transition towards online-events,” said Abhishek Mohan, VP at Sequoia Capital India, in a statement.
Airmeet is built on top of WebRTC, a standard that most modern browsers follow. This has enabled Airmeet to be fully accessible through Chrome and Firefox. All the sessions are also end-to-end encrypted, said Mangal. It does not have a mobile app. Mangal said people tend to use their laptop or desktop or their iPads for professional events. (Users can consume a session through their mobile browser, however.)
The startup, which is in the same space as Hopin and Andreessen Horowitz-backed Run The World, will use the fresh capital to add new features to Airmeet and also scale globally, said Mangal.
“Airmeet’s mission is to create a global platform to enable millions of community managers and event organizers across the world to engage with and expand their audience. And with Lalit and team’s focus, execution and innovative thinking, they are strongly placed to achieve their goal,” said Mohan.
Hey all- I'm a software engineer who's recently left his job and decided to pursue my dream of starting a company. I'm trying to find a cofounder to work with, and I've been trying to meet them through online Zoom networking events. Have any of you tried these events? And what has your experience been with them?
DAN.com: Dear DAN users,We’re a team that focuses on making an impact — right from day one. We are go-getters, and dreamers. Aiming to modernise old practices. Roll-up-your-sleeves-and-make-it-happen kind of people. We thrive on transparency, good ethics and we value solution-minded attitudes within our teams.We strongly vouch for cooperation…
The restaurant industry has been slammed hard by the coronavirus outbreak, with venues in many cities in the U.S. and beyond shuttered or restricted in how they can serve customers — to say nothing of the comfort level of customers themselves to dine in public venues — in the name of helping contain the spread of infection. But today, a startup that has built a platform to help them manage their bookings business better is announcing a round of funding and an acquisition to help those restaurateurs on the road to recovery.
Seated, which provides a restaurant booking platform that rewards customers with credits for gift cards at select other retailers like Amazon, Nike, Sephora and Uber when they show up to eat, has raised $ 30 million in funding, and alongside that it is also announcing it has acquired another industry startup, VenueBook, a platform for event planners to reserve space at restaurants and other venues. Today VenueBook has some 120,000 event planners using its service across the New York tri-state area, Denver, San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area, and the wider Washington, D.C. region.
The terms of the deal are not being disclosed, nor is the valuation of Seated . The funding is being led by Insight Partners and Craft Ventures; Greycroft (where Seated’s co-founder and executive chairman Bo Peabody is also a venture partner) and Rho Capital Partners are also participating. This appears to be the first funding disclosed by Seated since being founded in 2017 by Peabody and Brice Gumpel, although it had previously raised a seed round.
New York-based Seated had its start in the world of booking tables for in-restaurant eating — a business that has to date racked up some 900,000 reserved seats and $ 37 million in revenue for its restaurant partners across NYC, Boston, Atlanta and Chicago (covering around 800 independent restaurants in all at the moment), with some additional $ 7 million in tips for staff.
But in recent months it’s been recalibrating what it does to meet the needs of the moment, which include diversifying beyond providing reservations to in-restaurant individual diners. That has included the launch of Seated at Home, a takeout service that is positioned as a competitor to the likes of Grubhub and UberEats, with a 0% commission on orders. And now, the acquisition of VenueBook adds an event planning service into the mix that takes its booking platform beyond the walls of local eateries.
“We are always looking for new ways to support restaurants’ profitability and longevity, and with the acquisition of VenueBook, Seated Events offers a new way for restaurants to drive demand in yet another revenue stream,” said Gumpel, who is the startup’s CEO, in a statement. “COVID-19 has proved to be one of the toughest challenges the restaurant industry has ever faced and this funding will help us refine our current products to ensure we’re doing whatever we can to help our restaurant partners keep their doors open and remain profitable.”
In terms of just how hard restaurants have been hit, the statistics speak for themselves. Researchers from Harvard Business School noted in a recent essay that 40% of restaurants in the U.S. shuttered two months into the pandemic, putting 8 million people out of work, three times more job losses than any other industry.
And when some started to reopen, they were facing major investments as they retooled their businesses to cater to how people are “eating out” now — significantly more takeout and delivery, and a lot of eating outdoors. Even so, diner numbers in June were down more than 65% versus a year ago, with the National Restaurant Association in the U.S. predicting a drop of $ 240 billion in revenue for the year, with more than $ 120 billion during the first three months of the COVID-19 pandemic alone.
Some countries are trying to offset this huge hit: In the U.K., the government has started its “Eat Out to Help Out” scheme, which essentially subsidises the cost of meals by up to 50% when people eat out at participating restaurants.
That’s not the case in the U.S. at large, however, with federal government relief programs like the Paycheck Protection Program targeted across industry verticals.
That has opened an opportunity for startups that are building tech to at least make what business opportunities are available more accessible to a wider number of users at both ends of its two-sided marketplace: those looking to eat out or meet in restaurants and the restaurants (and now, other venues) themselves.
The tech is about measuring footfall, providing analytics and more insights into how to fill venues and kitchen utilisation in a more efficient way, but that is at the back end. On the surface, the startup makes a point of touting how low-tech it is, requiring little more than a smartphone to use it. That sets it apart from a number of other restaurant service startups, which often sell specific tablets and other hardware to be able to use their software.
Indeed, the restaurant business is not known for being high-tech — one reason why you might argue many get taken for a ride by delivery and other startups that promise to handle all the fussy tech stuff on their behalf. So in an industry where typically profits are no more than 4-5% of revenue (and those are the lucky ones), the shift into events is a critical way of improving margins at a time when restaurants’ prime revenue generation has been pulled out from under them. Events are estimated to make up 10-15% of a restaurant’s revenue, and up to 20% of a restaurant’s profit, Seated notes. Seated Events provides a seamless way for restaurants to begin rebuilding this critical revenue stream, allowing families or smaller groups of people who would like to take extra precautions while dining out to book private rooms.
“Events are not only an important part of a restaurant’s revenue stream, but they’re important for internal operations. Restaurant events help to increase employee retention because both front and back of the house employees are able to exercise creativity and tap into different skill sets while planning and executing events,” said Peabody in a statement (Peabody himself has also owned and been on the boards of a number of restaurant businesses, in a long entrepreneurial career that has also included founding Tripod — a verrrry early social network sold to Lycos in 1997 — and being the founding chairman of Everyday Health, which was sold to Ziff Davis). “We are thrilled to be able to offer yet another way for restaurants to maximize their profitability. With Seated Events, Seated at Home, and Seated, restaurants can drive demand to their three primary sources of revenue in a single, easy to use rewards platform.”
All this means that even at a time when restaurants feel like a risky bet, investors are interested.
“Restaurants are a vital part of our culture and communities, and the industry has been completely upended by COVID-19. It’s been impressive to watch Seated’s unwavering commitment to help restaurants thrive as they quickly adapted their rewards platform to offer delivery, and now events, in order to continue to meet restaurants’ needs,” said Thilo Semmelbauer, managing director at Insight Partners, in a statement. “Seated’s expanded vision is compelling and this one-stop platform will be an important piece of the restaurant industry’s recovery and evolution.”
Bizzabo intends to provide a set of management tools that helps event professionals manage in-person, virtual and hybrid events, streamlining event operations so they can focus on the attendee experience and creating engaging content.
Read more here.
EventGeek was a Y Combinator-backed startup that offered tools to help large enterprises manage the logistics of their events. So with the COVID-19 pandemic essentially eliminating large-scale conferences, at least in-person, it’s not exactly surprising that the company had to reinvent itself.
Today, EventGeek relaunched as Circa, with a new focus on virtual events. founder and CEO Alex Patriquin said that Circa is reusing some pieces of EventGeek’s existing technology, but he estimated that 80% of the platform is new.
While the relaunch was only just became official, the startup says its software has already been used to adapt 40,000 in-person events into virtual conferences and webinars.
The immediate challenge, Patriquin said, is simply figuring out how to throw a virtual event — something that Circa offers a playbook for. But the startup’s goals go beyond virtual event logistics.
“Our new focus is really more at the senior marketing stakeholder level, helping them have a unified view of the customer,” Patriquin said.
He explained that “events have always been kind of disconnected from the marketing stack,” so the shift to virtual presents an opportunity to treat event participation as part of the larger customer journey, and to include events in the broader customer record. To that end, Circa integrates with sales and marketing systems like Salesforce and Marketo, as well as with video conferencing platforms like Zoom and On24.
“We don’t actually deliver [the conference] experience,” Patriquin said. “We put it into that context of the customer journey.”
Liz Kokoska, senior director of demand generation for North America at Circa customer Okta, made a similar point.
“Prior to Circa, we had to manage our physical and virtual events in separate systems, even though we thought of them as parts of the same marketing channel,” Kokoska said in a statement. “With Circa, we now have a single view of all our events in one place — this is helpful in planning and company-wide visibility on marketing activity. Being able to seamlessly adapt to the new world of virtual and hybrid events has given our team a significant advantage.”
And as Patriquin looks ahead to a world where large conferences are possible again, he predicted that there’s still “a really big opportunity for the events industry and for Circa.”
“As in-person events start to come back, there’s going to be a phase where health and safety are going to be paramount,” he continued. “After that health and safety phase, it’s going to be the age of hybrid events — where everything is virtual right now, hybrid will provide the opportunity to bring key [virtual] learnings the back into the in-person world, to have a lot more data and intelligence and really be able to personalize an attendee’s experience.”
On July 28, Joey spoke with Alon Alroy, CMO of Bizzabo, the registration platform behind our events. Check out the recap below.
Read more here.
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