With offline events now firmly entrenched online for the foreseeable future, startups in the networking space had to pivot rapidly due to the epidemic. One of them was Grip, formerly known as a networking app for better physical conferences (including ClearTips Discharge at one point). Since last year, Grip has transformed into an ‘omnichannel’ experience, blending different event types into virtual, hybrid and live. The strategy seems to have stopped paying because it has now raised a Series A funding round of $ 13 million, raising its total amount to $ 14.5 million.
The round was led by London-based development equity fund Kennet Partners. The boom in online events is paranoia, which last year saw London-based startup Hopin raising $ 40m Series A. Founded in 2016, Grip counts some of the big event organizers as clients including Reid Exhibition and Mess Frankfurt.
Grip CEO and founder Tim Groot said in a statement, “Our mission is to empower organizers to bring organizers together with advance industries. This funding round enables us to take the experience to a new level, leveraging our extensive industry-leading platform, providing unique value for virtual, hybrid and in-person events. “
He said that he would now invest heavily in the product and is looking towards global expansion.
Other Grip competitors have, in the past, included Brella for $ 1.5m and Sweepcard, which has raised $ 6m to date.
So why is it that Gripe got away from the pack in this way?
Groot told me: “We took a slightly different approach to this and we were able to work in plug-and-play method with other platforms. So grips are used by these organizers as a lot of standalone virtual event platforms. So they can use Hopin for conference, but hold for networking. So perhaps we were able to get more traction this way during 2020. “
In 2020, following the axis of virtual events, Grip hosted over 100 events a month and was used by 1.5m people. As a result, the company says revenue has increased nearly 4-fold in 2020, and this year it expects to perform more than 10,000 events on its platform with over 5 million participants.
The Grips AI-powered algorithm means attendees receive more personalized matchmaking recommendations based on their interests, including pre-event meeting scheduling. For exhibitors, the software leads the business and provides post-event analytics.
People can be added to meetings to have group conversations and the startup is also working on a theme-based “speed networking” functionality to conduct 3-minute conversations immediately.
Grip integrates with many streaming platforms such as Vimeo, YouTube, Zoom, BlueJeans and others as opposed to “full-service” such as Hopin or Bijabo.
Kennett and Grip board member, Hillel Ziedel, said: “Grip’s ability to conduct virtual events with a significant focus on networking means the company has seen tremendous growth over the past year. Event organizers and their customers In-person events are able to stay connected to their customers despite the constraints. As event resumes in future, event organizers through the provision of software solutions that support grip, live and virtual and hybrid events Continues to assist. “
Brent Hoberman, co-founder and past investor of Founders Factory, said: “Grip was born with a need that we saw at ongoing events at the Founders Forum – you can catalyze the most relevant and valuable connections among your guests How do we use smart technology for this? ”