In-person events are back, baby, and Vendelux’s AI-powered event intelligence platform tells event marketers which important people will be at what event.
The company was started by two former Shutterstock executives, Alex Reynolds and Stefan Deeran. They wanted to provide event marketers and chief marketing officers with a way to see which events customers and competitors would be at so they could make better decisions about what to attend or sponsor.
Using artificial intelligence and predictive modeling, Vendelux offers 65 million data points on over 160,000 global events, tradeshows and conferences, Reynolds told TechCrunch. We reported on Vendelux’s approach in 2022 when the company raised $2.4 million. At that time, the company was analyzing 30,000 events.
In-person events took a dive during the global pandemic, when virtual conference startups emerged, with some, for example Hopin, both grew quickly and also declined quickly as events went back to normal. Around the same time Hopin was, well, hopping, Reynolds and Deeran started Vendelux.
Despite the virtual nature of events and conferences then, Reynolds noted they were bullish that events would come back.
“We knew that events would be back bigger than ever, and certainly fast forward to today, that’s the case — events are now bigger than 2019,” he said. “Everybody’s realizing the importance of being together in person and what in-person interaction can really create, whether you’re talking about new business deals or you’re seeing existing customers.”
As a result, Vendelux saw “incredible tailwinds for the business and for the event space in general,” Reynolds said. He explained that’s due in part to other marketing channels hurting. For example, performance marketing was impacted by privacy concerns and the phase out of cookies.
At the same time, it’s been challenging to travel and see multiple clients or potential clients in one trip.
“It turns out that events are now the best way to see your clients and your prospects in person,” Reynolds said. “Marketers are seeing that now, and we’re seeing a lot of dollars kind of rotating into the event space as a result.”
Since its last funding round, the company worked on better identifying people that its customers want to meet with and then facilitating that interaction quickly and effectively. It also improved its match-making capabilities and developed a collaborative digital planner for event marketers that ties in with a company’s customer relationship management tools.
Vendelux has in turn doubled the number of its customers and tripled its annual recurring revenue over the past year. It has a free version of its software that is being used by over 5,000 event marketers. It also increased its customer base among enterprises that now includes PayPal, MongoDB, Okta and T-Mobile. In addition, it is analyzing data from larger conferences and started working with event organizers.
With customer demand coming from both the marketer and organizer angles, Reynolds and Deeran said it was time to go after additional venture capital. The company announced today a new $14 million Series A investment, led by FirstMark Capital, that included participation from Cervin Ventures and the founders of some of those event organizers and marketers, including HLTH, ShopTalk, Money20/20, SaaStock, Connectiv Events and FT Live. Vendelux has now raised $16.4 million in total.
In addition to further product development and customer acquisition, Reynolds and Deeran intend to double their team by the end of 2024 and expand globally, including establishing a London-based team to serve enterprises across Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
“Once we’ve helped customers identify the right events to go to and who they should be meeting with, we want to continue down the funnel with customers,” Reynolds said. “Just identifying who those people are is very valuable. Then with those insights we will take the next step of helping customers book meetings with those potential prospects, send them email campaigns or invite them to roundtables. There are integrations that we can build with many other tools to help complete that end-to-end journey and ultimately help marketers track the value of this channel.”