As the coronavirus pandemic cancels physical events around the world, event organizers are rushing to adopt digital solutions to connect people remotely.
EventXtra, an event tech startup based in Hong Kong, launched a new solution for virtual exhibition half a year ago and reported last week that it has seen a threefold growth in revenue.
The startup says the exponential growth implies that organizing exhibition online is becoming a major trend. “For the past few months, we receive inquiries from 30 to 40 companies every day,” co-founder Sum Wong discloses in a press conference held on EventXtra’s new platform for virtual events.
Despite a huge drop in demand for physical events, the new solution has covered the loss of profits and turned the tide. Mr. Wong explains that virtual events currently account for around 80% of the overall revenue.
Creating virtual environment with networking elements
Founded in 2014, EventXtra offers a full stack of software for each stage of event planning, from attendee registration, engagement, to post-event analysis.
The company has organized more than 5,000 offline events for 200 clients, including Microsoft, Amazon, and Alibaba, according to its website.
In response to the impact of Covid-19, EventXtra now also helps organizations create a virtual exhibition environment where attendees can visit booths, join conferences, and schedule online or offline meetings with potential business partners as they do in physical events.
Mr. Wong says some are concerned that virtual events may be less interactive, but his company manages to keep the networking elements in the exhibition. In the online environment EventXtra creates, attendees can still strike up a private conversation and even exchange digital business cards.
What’s more, EventXtra helps exhibitors set up 3D booths in the virtual environment, allowing them to display all the objects and materials they want to show to their visitors.
Expanding into new markets
While the company expands the new revenue stream, an investor knocks on its door.
In the virtual press conference, EventXtra announces that it has received a new funding from UB Ventures of Uzabase, a Japanese information technology company listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange; in addition, it acquired New York-based business media company Quartz in 2018.
EventXtra is the first company that UB Ventures has ever invested outside Japan, which marks the beginning for the investment arm to back SaaS companies overseas.
With the new capital and help from Uzabase, EventXtra says it will expand into Japan and grow local presence.
The spending on event software has grown fast in Asia, co-founder Mr. Wong says. “Our goal is to ride on this wave and become the top player in the region to serve as many organizers as possible.”
While serving customers in Hong Kong and Taiwan, EventXtra plans to expand in Japan, South Korea, China, and countries in Southeast Asia like Singapore and Malaysia.