Corporate Event Marketplace and Community The Vendry Secures Funding to Usher in New Era of Live Events
The Vendry, a digital sourcing and planning marketplace and professional community for corporate event planners, has secured $6.5 million in seed funding to empower event professionals as they navigate the next generation of live events.
The funding round was led by Peter Boyce, founder of Stellation Capital, with several other investors participating in the raise.
The new funds will allow the company to invest in new platform developments for a fresh era of live events, including those mixed with hybrid, and the robust pent-up demand the company expects to start seeing for them in 2022.
The newly enhanced platform will continue to connect planners and suppliers in its growing community with unprecedented speed, ease and innovation, according to Daphne Hoppenot, CEO and founder of The Vendry.
"The pandemic has only reinforced the fact that the live events market is ripe for, and in need of, innovation," Hoppenot said.
The Vendry created its online marketplace in 2020 to connect event planning professionals with the venues and vendors they need to produce successful events in a time of unprecedented reinvention. The platform sets itself apart by digitizing and creating a one-stop resource for the traditionally manual process of sourcing and researching, whether that was word of mouth, working with agencies or performing online searches, as well as the process of requesting, collecting and comparing proposals from venues and vendors. Plus, event professionals can connect with each other through The Vendry's community platform to seek inspiration, exchange resources and share industry job opportunities.
To date, The Vendry has grown to include an online community of 18,000 event professionals, including planners, venues and vendors, and has helped plan thousands of live, hybrid and virtual events. Since the platform launched its updated suite of marketplace tools in January 2021, it has seen more than $10 million worth of RFPs published by planners in the community, seeking everything from virtual production partners to vendors for live activations and venues for live events.
With its new funding, The Vendry plans to build upon its community-powered marketplace and combination of knowledge-sharing and tactical partnerships. It will expand its sourcing and RFP tools to help event teams at bigger organizations get proposals for their events and also manage the lifecycle of their supplier relationships—from planning through execution.
“We’re focused on helping event planners manage ever-changing RFP requirements, share proposals with their internal stakeholders and track supplier information and history even after an event’s completion,” Hoppenot said.
It is also focused on the rapidly changing events landscape and the demographics defining them. The Vendry believes there are three primary factors that define the new generation of live and hybrid events: events as multi-component campaigns, the rise of Gen Z and Millennial planners and the adoption of responsible sourcing practices.
With the continued rise of hybrid events, producers must think about reaching audiences where they are, as what was traditionally planned as one live event in a single physical location now spans multiple geographies and mediums, according to Hoppenot.
Meanwhile, as the pandemic has caused a massive shakeup in the industry’s workforce, The Vendry predicts that as teams are rebuilt, Gen Zers and Millennials will be driving a lot of the growth.
“We're seeing old playbooks thrown out the window by a demographic that’s comfortable using technology to plan every part of their event,” Hoppenot said.
Additionally, Gen Z in particular is going to introduce a level of accountability the industry hasn't had before as it relates to environmental impact and diversity and inclusion best practices, according the Hoppenot.
“Brands want to partner with event businesses that have diverse leadership teams or otherwise represent their local communities,” she said.
In this new era, The Vendry believes event teams will continue to see their budgets grow as brands rely on events to reach Gen Z and Millennials, and as they produce experiences for bigger audiences around the world.
Over the next decade alone, the corporate events industry is anticipated to grow to $322 billion in value (from its roughly $211 billion in 2019), fueled by the strong desire from Millennial and Gen Z audiences for live events and experiences, according to Hoppenot.
“This growth, combined with more mindful sourcing practices and a new digital-first way of planning events, means the production process will come with new complexities,” Hoppenot explained. “That's where The Vendry steps in to help.”