Israeli virtual events and online video platform Bizzabo has raised $138 million in a financing round led by Insight Partners and with the participation of Viola Growth, Siemens venture capital arm Next47, and OurCrowd. Some of the money will be used for new investment and some to buy out some shares from founders and employees but Bizzabo declined to disclose details.
Bizzabo was founded in 2012 by CEO Eran Ben-Shushan, VP marketing Alon Alroy, Boaz Katz who met in the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya's Zell Entrepreneurship Program. The company develops and operates a platform for conferences, which helps marketing departments understand how effective a conference is for them in terms of the business influences for the company (Return on Event). Until the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the company organized physical conferences but since the outbreak of the virus, with conferences cancelled worldwide, within three weeks Bizaboo successfully pivoted to develop technology for virtual conferences.
Alroy said, "We were in a positive momentum even before the virus. We were having very major growth. We are used to rollercoasters but in March it was a very large fall for the rollercoaster. There was concern that an entire industry was going to be wiped out. Within a week all the events of our customers were cancelled, contracts were cancelled and it was clear that we needed to reinvent ourselves."
The company says that revenue has grown more than 100% over the past year and Alroy says that it is in the scale of tens of millions of dollars. Bizzabo also says that the number of events produced by its platform has grown 65% and the number of people registering to participate in their events has grown about 500%.
Bizaboo says that the new investment funds will enable it to open two more offices in Europe and significantly enlarge its development team, product and sales. The company plans hiring more than 100 new employees, at least 50 of them in Israel. The company currently has more than 175 employees. In March, Bizaboo laid off 20-25% of its workforce but most were taken back and an extra 60 people were subsequently hired.
Bizaboo now wonders when and whether physical conferences will return and whether the market for virtual conferences will remain. Alroy said, "We have an end-to-end solution in the world of physical and virtual conferences and so it makes no difference if a conference will be virtual, physical or perhaps a combination between them.
He added, "There are clear advantages to virtual events - they let you reach a broader audience and the cost of production is lower. However, surveys that we have conducted show that people want to return to events and marketing people want systems that can do both."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on December 2, 2020
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