Acquisition announcements are coming at a rapid pace in event tech, as the nature of digital-engagement demand continues to shift and pandemic-era virtual-platform darlings find funding a lot harder to come by. Seasoned event management software provider EventMobi, which has been around since 2010 and has repositioned itself several times based on evolving market needs, has just acquired one of those virtual success stories, Run the World.
The event-hosting platform, which was founded in 2019, raised $15 million from major investors and hosted more than 50,000 events in a few years. Among Run the World's diverse list of customers are Forbes, Meta, Amazon, the United Nations Development Programme and Harvard University.
"What we saw in Run the World customers was that they were incredibly successful during the pandemic creating engaging online experiences and communities, but couldn't pivot their events to in-person or hybrid with their platform," said EventMobi CEO and founder Bob Vaez. "And we are excited to be able to help their event planners have access to a more complete platform that can support mixed-format for a year-round, multi-event experience."
A Strategy for Year-Round Engagement
EventMobi, in contrast to Run the World customers, has experience with that pivot. The company began as an app, grew to a more complete event management platform, and navigated the surging demand for in-person meetings as the focus shifted away from digital. In fact, just a few months ago, the demand EventMobi was seeing was almost entirely for physical events, Vaez noted. But he's now seeing a growing trend toward virtual events that are ongoing, small online experiences, delivered throughout the year to engage a community that formed via attendance at a major in-person conference.
"I think the pendulum for events is starting to swing from 'planners and our attendees only want in-person events' to 'enhancing in-person conferences with year-round digital experience,' where virtual events play a key role engaging the audience post-event," he pointed out.
To some extent, Vaez is returning to EventMobi's roots as a way to maintain that community: "The key is reusing and enhancing the same event app attendees used, allowing them to explore content over time, and create curated networking experiences, as well as relevant virtual events that tie the experience together until the audience meets in person again next year," he said.
So a major strategic push at EventMobi now focuses on supporting their customers — many of whom represent associations, corporate or higher education — who are trying to make that year-round-engagement approach work. And it's an approach, Vaez said, that should appeal to Run the World's customers, who also must jump to managing the in-person aspect of that strategy.
Run the World Won't Run for Long
The deal clearly focuses on the conversion of those Run the World clients, rather than the technology itself. "Run the World and their team will continue to operate for the next 30 days, while we work with those customers that choose to transition to EventMobi for their future events," Vaez said.
As of Sept. 2, Run the World will shut down and all accounts and contracts will be canceled, according to the acquisition FAQ on the EventMobi website. Run the World customers have until Sept. 30 to take advantage of a 50 percent discount on EventMobi packages.