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Inside Eventmobi’s Run The World acquisition with co-founder Bijan Vaez
We caught up with the Vancouver-based executive to discuss why the deal matters, and what comes next.
Earlier this month, Toronto-based Eventmobi announced its acquisition of Run The World (RTW), a virtual events startup backed by marquee VC firms a16z and Founders Fund. The business launched in 2019, gained traction, and quickly raised USD $15 million while working with customers like Meta, Amazon, and Harvard University.
“We couldn't have anticipated the explosive interest Run The World would generate,” said Xiaoyin Qu, founder and CEO of the company, in a statement. “We proudly hosted thousands of customers, fostering a sense of connection when the world needed it most. Now, as the world settles back to in-person events, we're thrilled to join forces with EventMobi.”
In other words, as the virtual events market cooled, it probably made sense for RTW to team up with a company that provides all-around event software services. Eventmobi CEO Bob Vaez said as much, indicating in a statement that the deal would allow his company to augment its “ability to deliver diverse event formats” and assert its position as an industry leader.
“We're thrilled to welcome Run The World and immerse them in the full value of hybrid events,” he added.
Founded in 2010, EventMobi claims it has been used by more than 30,000 corporate and non-profit event planners. It started as a mobile event app provider and now offers a full suite of event management tools, including registration and check-in, year-round event communities, exhibitor lead capture, as well as engagement and networking tools.
Event tech M&A season
It’s a dynamic time for event technology services providers, as evidenced by another major M&A deal: the recent acquisition of key assets of Hopin by cloud communications provider RingCentral.
To better understand the current state of the event tech industry, and for more insights into the RTW deal, we spoke to Vancouver-based Eventmobi co-founder and former CTO Bijan Vaez.
Why did Eventmobi acquire RTW? Vaez points to the startup’s massive growth during the pandemic. “They were extremely successful, hosting tens of thousands of events over a very short period of time — and worked with many brands that are household names, like Meta and Amazon,” he shares.
In addition, Vaez says there is significant synergy in the combination of customers, brand, and event practices with Run The World. From a macro level, Vaez explains that the acquisition’s implications go beyond Eventmobi.
“The events industry is transforming, and we're entering a new era where in-person and virtual events coexist,” he says. “Planners will need technology that supports this mixed platform reality. By bringing together our customers and resources with those of Run The World, we can contribute to leading this industry transformation and develop new opportunities for revenue and community growth for event planners across the world.”
The future of events
Vaez acknowledges that COVID led to several difficult years for the event industry, but also argues that events aren’t going anywhere. “In a world where data restrictions and AI create distance between business owners and their customers, events and other thought leadership levers will become more important than ever.”
He believes “authentic connection” will be critical for organizations moving forward and suggests that “this acquisition underscores the necessity of events as both major and ongoing touchpoints for businesses worldwide.”
Ultimately, Vaez says it’s EventMobi's job to “help marketing teams and event planners find the event tech that will connect with their audiences in this ever-evolving landscape.”
As for how the RTW team will integrate into their organization, Vaez said they will stay on to support the transition of customers. “EventMobi sees this partnership as an opportunity to offer a strong hybrid solution and help past and present RTW customers evolve their events to blend formats,” he adds.
This acquisition was EventMobi’s second. While Vaez would not confirm any more forthcoming deals, he did hint that the company is open to it, saying, “We’re excited to continue to invest in this market, learn from the wins from the past few years, and continue to grow.”