Six Industry Leaders Unite to Champion Next-Gen Events

June 7, 2024

A group of six event industry leaders focused on nurturing innovative event ideas into flourishing businesses formed a consortium dedicated to shaping the future of the events industry. Offering expert mentorship, a collaborative community and strategic funding, Events Venture Group (EVG) is a nonprofit consortium designed to help next-generation event entrepreneurs launch and grow their events into successful enterprises.

“Our mission is to support the next generation of event entrepreneurs who redefine the event industry landscape,” said EVG Co-Chair Greg Topalian, founder of On Deck Ventures and chairman of Clarion Events North America.

Launched May 17, the new group is the brainchild of the consortium’s founders who recognized a gap in the market: the absence of an early-stage venture capital or an investment membership group dedicated to the events industry.

The group aims to fuel the success of early-stage event ventures across all event categories and types by providing unparalleled access to a network of seasoned event industry leaders offering professional advice, connections and resources, according to EVG officials.

The new group serves a dual purpose. For entrepreneurs, EVG not only provides access to its seasoned board members, but also financial capital, insights and access across all aspects needed for early-stage event success, including sales, operations, marketing, administration, content and industry connections.

Greg Topalian

For investors, EVG membership offers a unique opportunity to learn about and enter into high-potential industry opportunities. Investors are encouraged to attend meetings, conduct due diligence and provide support to the entrepreneurs in exchange for access to a network of sourced investment opportunities and like-minded investors.

“We’re committed to igniting innovation, propelling growth and championing even greater success within the events industry ecosystem,” said EVG Co-Chair Monique Ruff-Bell, chief program and strategy officer for TED. “The diverse expertise of the EVG board of directors and members of the group enables us to provide unparalleled insights, guidance and support to event entrepreneurs helping them to navigate the industry landscape adeptly, overcoming common obstacles and accelerating their path to success.”

Along with Topalain and Ruff-Bell, the consortium’s board of directors is comprised of seasoned event professionals with extensive experience building successful event-related companies, including:

  • Marco Giberti, founder and CEO of Vesuvio Ventures
  • Jonathan Weiner, founder and chairman and CEO of HLTH
  • Joe Popolo, founder and CEO of Charles & Potomac Capital LLC
  • Jay Weintraub, CEO and founder of Connectiv Holdings

We had a chance to dig a little deeper with Giberti into the nuts and bolts of how EVG works. Here’s what he had to say in our exclusive interview:

Whose idea was it to launch EVG and why now?

Some of the founding board members have been discussing this concept for some time and have co-invested together in the past. There are many ways for startups to raise money in different industries, but having access to mentorship and funding in the events industry continues to be very challenging. We want to solve this problem and support the next generation of event founders and entrepreneurs, and we think that the members of Events Venture Group will provide these founders with a unique opportunity to grow their businesses by leveraging decades of experience in the events industry from all EVG members. 

What would the typical journey of an entrepreneur looking to have their new event project supported by the EVG collective look like? 

We are not reinventing the wheel. We follow classic processes leading angel and early venture capital groups use. Founders and entrepreneurs can apply through our website, and we will connect with them if we see a good potential fit for our investment thesis. If that is the case, our managing director will share additional information needed from EVG to analyze the details of the potential deal. If the deal is preselected, the founders will present to all EVG members via Zoom meeting and have an open conversation and Q&A session with them. After this meeting, EVG members will decide whether to invest in the deal. All investments will be made via single-purpose vehicles, which are LLCs explicitly created for investment opportunities and simplify the process for founders and investors. 

What kinds of criteria would determine whether EVG would be interested in working with a prospective opportunity?

We want to support great founders and entrepreneurs, and they are the most critical investment criteria. Great founders will create great event opportunities and will have the ability to understand their industries and build a successful venture. Of course, we will analyze the total addressable market size, competitive landscape, unique selling proposition for the event and other critical information that any early-stage investor will require before deciding to support a startup. 

Aspiring entrepreneurs and investors are invited to apply for funding and membership. Learn more here.

Lead photo: (top row, left to right) Jonathan Weiner, Marco Giberti and Greg Topalian (bottom row) Joe Popolo, Monique Ruff-Bell and Jay Weintraub.


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