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Grip event networking app raises $ 13 million as pandemic forces events to stay virtual – TechCrunch

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With offline events now firmly moved online for the foreseeable future, startups in the network space have had to pivot quickly in the face of the pandemic. One of these was Grab, previously better known as a network app for physical conferencing (including TechCrunch Disrupt, at one point). Since last year, Grip has moved to an “omnichannel” experience, combining different types of virtual, hybrid and live events. This strategy appears to have paid off as it has now raised a $ 13 million Series A funding round, bringing its total amount raised to $ 14.5 million.

The round was led by London-based growth equity fund Kennet Partners. The increase reflects the boom in online events, which saw London-based startup Hopin raise a $ 40 million Series A last year. Founded in 2016, Grip counts a number of major event planners among its clients, including Reed Exhibitions and Messe Frankfurt.

In a statement, Tim Groot, CEO and Founder of Grip, said: Our mission is to empower organizers to bring together professionals to advance industries. This round of funding will allow us to take the experience to a new level, leveraging our large, cutting-edge platform, delivering unique value for virtual, hybrid and in-person events.

He said they would now invest heavily in the product and consider global expansion.

Other Grip competitors have, in the past, included Brella, which raised $ 1.5 million, and Swapcard, which has raised $ 6 million to date.

So why does Grip seem to have strayed from the pack in this way?

Groot told me: We’ve taken a slightly different approach in that we’ve been able to work in a plug-and-play way alongside other platforms. The handle is therefore used as a standalone virtual event platform by many organizers. So they could use Hopin for the conference but Grip for the networking. So maybe we managed to get more traction that way, during 2020. ”

In 2020, after the hub of virtual events, Grip hosted more than 100 events per month and was used by 1.5 million people. As a result, the company claims that its revenue increased almost 4 times in 2020, and this year it expects to host more than 10,000 events on its platform, with more than 5 million attendees.

AI-powered Grips algorithms mean attendees receive more personalized matchmaking recommendations based on their interests, including scheduling meetings before the event. For exhibitors, the software captures sales leads and provides post-event analysis.

People can be added to meetings to have group conversations and the startup is also working on a quick topic networking feature to have three-minute instant conversations.

Grip integrates with various streaming platforms such as Vimeo, YouTube, Zoom, BlueJeans and others unlike full service platforms such as Hopin or Bizzabo.

Hillel Zidel, Partner at Kennet and Grip Board Member, added: Grips’ ability to host virtual events with a key focus on networking has enabled the company to experience tremendous growth over the past year. ‘last year. Event planners and their clients were able to stay connected with their clients despite the constraints of in-person events. As live events pick up in the future, Grip is uniquely positioned to continue to support event planners through the provision of software solutions that support live, virtual and hybrid events.

Brent Hoberman, Founders Factory co-founder and former investor, said: Grip arose out of a need we saw when hosting events at the Founders Forum – how do you use smart technology to catalyze the most relevant connections and most valuable among your guests?

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