Industry veterans warn against a monopoly in event-tech as Hopin raises $1 billion in funding
Industry experts have raised their concerns about a monopoly in event-tech after video teleconferencing platform Hopin has raised $450m in funding. Saroosh Gull, CEO of Eventcombo, stresses the importance of smaller innovators.
September 29, 2021 / / —
Whilst COVID-19 undoubtedly had a detrimental effect on the events business, the overall industry fundamentals remain strong. Forecasts show that online event ticketing and live music industry revenues are expected to return to pre-pandemic levels by 2022. Growth prospects are at approx. $100Bn YoY growth towards a $1.5T size in a few years.
However, the industry is not yet in safe waters and the big investments we’re seeing being made into funding giants such as the $450m just raised by Hopin, threaten to have a more detrimental effect on the ecosystem than the global pandemic.
The monopoly effect
Short-sighted investment approaches have led to people jumping on the “virtual event bandwagon” and possibly creating a new industry monopoly.
Investors need to become a part of the solution and responsibly support progressive and customer focused companies to stimulate true innovation, not a consolidation of numerous disconnected products. Buying technology through multiple acquisitions could be construed as inhibiting innovation.
We have seen this happen across other industries, where once loved brands become too big and public opinion quickly changes due to unintended consequences. Amazon was once loved, now, it has become a poster child for low wages and suspect treatment of its employees. Similarly, Walmart’s pricing has a big cost for local communities. Sinclair has arguably created a dangerous filtering of “news” in almost all communities in the US.
Both Eventbrite and Cvent have received hundreds of millions of dollars in funding over the years. With their mega success achieved through capitalization, allowing the buying of market share, they have enjoyed what appears to be a streamlined path to worldwide success. This proved great in the short-term for founders and their investors. However, for the long-term, this has undoubtedly hurt the industry. In fact, one of the major reasons clients exit Eventbrite and Cvent is lack of quality customer service.
Smaller, leaner startups with innovative technology and a passion for evolution have brought more problem-solving solutions to the table. However, they could never reach close to the same market as heavily funded giants. This hurts the industry and is part of the reason why there was little to no innovation in the last 20 years.
The facts show that unequal playing fields equip monopolies to exercise unfair market control, leverage smaller, more valuable and progressive players out of the market and dictate imbalanced terms for customers.
Hopin: The new monopoly monolith?
Hopin, the London-based virtual platform that started out just over two years ago has just made its fifth acquisition in the last 12 months.
Hopin started out as a “Virtual First” company but after experiencing the reality of in-person events coming back, has now begun to market itself as an all-in-one solution. In the coming years, it will become primarily in-person. For Hopin, virtual will become secondary. This is all fine, but as an evolving business model, which is acquiring a new company every few months, where is it headed? What type of USP is it offering the industry? To become the next Eventbrite and Cvent? It is certainly showing early signs of the same approach.
The purpose of most businesses is to provide services to customers to delight and influence some type of positive change. To combine entities under one parent organization and offer everything under the sun as a $7 billion dollar company, what benefit does this offer customers and bring to the industry as a whole collective? Is there a superior, additional value the company is delivering? Any industry firsts in terms of value to customers? Or an evolved range of services? No.
The most amazing news about Hopin is that they have acquired great technology built by smaller tech innovators. The expected revenue growth in the short period is stimulated by hundreds of millions in funding.
In the long-run, this large amount of funding doesn’t make sense for the industry. It doesn’t make sense for customers. It doesn’t make sense for an event economy, desperately needing innovation and support to bounce back bigger and better than ever.
– Eventcombo is a shift-left #SinglePlatform event technology, event management, and attendee management platform for in-person, hybrid, and virtual events. It has a suite of software solutions for event marketing, registration, and the event marketplace (Uber, Lyft, ParkWhiz, Hotels), which gives direct access to an event’s entire ecosystem in one transaction.
– In 2020 Eventcombo created its own virtual platform in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Fireworks™ by Eventcombo.
– Eventcombo is a robust and comprehensive event management tool that runs based on an unlimited model, offering unlimited attendees, hosts, features, integrations, as well as support, and training.
About Saroosh Gull:
– Saroosh Gull is CEO + Founder of Eventcombo, an all-in-one event technology. Saroosh co-founded Eventcombo after identifying the lack of innovation and one-sided nature of the event industry, in which organizations contributed their business and data to event platforms without any value in return, besides the use of the technology.
– Saroosh’s career dates back to the dot-com era in 2000. His career began at Bluestone Capital within the banking domain. Saroosh has had noteworthy accomplishments within product roles for JPMC’s Quickpay (now Zelle), and Pfizer. He has had the opportunity to pioneer the functional development of multi-billion-dollar products. In addition to being an entrepreneur, Saroosh is passionate about access and opportunity due to his roots, having been raised in the Bronx.
For more information, visit the Eventcombo website at https://www.eventcombo.com/. For press enquiries, please contact Anthony Kendrick by calling 03337220189 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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