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 referred to as a networking app for bodily conferences (together with TechCrunch Disrupt, at one level). Since final 12 months, Grip moved into an ‘omnichannel’ expertise, combining varied occasion varieties throughout digital, hybrid, and dwell. 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 increase is reflective of the increase in on-line occasions, which noticed London-based startup Hopin increase a $40m Series A final 12 months. 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, stated: “Our mission is to empower organizers to carry professionals collectively to advance industries. This funding spherical goes to allow us to take the expertise to a brand new degree, leveraging our intensive industry-leading platform, providing distinctive worth for Virtual, Hybrid and In-Person occasions.”
He stated they might now be investing closely within the product and seeking to world growth.
Other opponents to Grip have, up to now, included Brella which raised $1.5m, and Swapcard which raised $6m so far.
So why is it that Grip appears to have pulled away from pack on this means?
Groot advised me: “We took a barely completely different method in that we managed to work in a plug-and-play technique alongside different platforms. So grip will get used as a standalone digital occasion platform by plenty of these organizers. So they could use Hopin for the convention however Grip for the networking. So possibly we managed to get extra traction that means, 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 folks. As a outcome, the corporate says income grew virtually 4x in 2020, and this 12 months it expects to do over 10,000 occasions on its platform with over 5 million contributors.
Grips AI-powered algorithms imply attendees get extra customized matchmaking suggestions based mostly on their pursuits, together with pre-event assembly scheduling. For exhibitors, the software program captures enterprise leads and gives post-event analytics.
People might be added to conferences to have group conversations and the startup can be engaged on a topic-based “pace networking” performance to carry immediate three minute conversations.
Grip integrates with varied streaming platforms reminiscent of Vimeo, Youtube, Zoom, BlueJeans and others, not like “full-service” platforms reminiscent of Hopin or Bizzabo.
Hillel Zidel, Partner at Kennet and Grip board member, added: “Grip’s means to prepare digital occasions with a key concentrate on networking has meant that the corporate has seen large progress during the last 12 months. Event organizers and their shoppers have been in a position to stay linked with their prospects regardless of the constraints on in-person occasions. As dwell occasions resume sooner or later, Grip is extraordinarily well-positioned to proceed to help occasion organizers by way of the availability of software program options supporting dwell, digital and hybrid occasions.”
Brent Hoberman, co-founder of Founders Factory and a earlier investor, stated: “Grip was born out of a necessity we noticed in operating occasions at Founders Forum – how do you employ good know-how to catalyze probably the most related and worthwhile connections between your friends?”