This is a concept I've considered for several years, but seems especially topical given the current lockdown.
I want to build a platform that allows organisations and companies to host virtual conferences, and manages the process from start to finish.
The idea is that an organisation with status in a niche wants to arrange an online conference on a certain topic where interested people from around the world can hear recognised experts speak on current topics of interest and network and socialise with people interested in the same thing. It could be anything from orthodontics to flyfishing.
The service I have in mind could manage the whole process from marketing, infrastructure, promotions and ticketing. A end-to-end service that is feasible for organisation without budgets as we would sell the tickets for an agreed commission, and so no up-front sum would be required, and these organisations could end up making money from their share of the ticket proceeds (which might be required to cover speakers fees or other costs)
A bit like Eventbrite, our website would become a portal for people to find conferences that interest them and buy tickets in the same way as they might buy a ticket to a concert (remember when live concerts were a thing?!) But the creation of a conference would include off-site email and social media advertising as part of the package.
The real special sauce is in the platform that delivers the conference itself. I have plans for a more integrated, engaging interface that feels more like being at a conference, with an overview interface, personal programme/scheduler, live-streamed lectures, participant chat, audience interaction, unique networking tools, and much more. Organisers of the event would have access to an admin interface to monitor the conference and ensure speakers and participants know what they are doing. Every conference would be monitored to ensure network/infrastructure is ok. This would be more of an 'experience', starting from onboarding before the event, allowing the user to create a profile, choose sessions and let others know if they're looking for anything in particular, then on the day being able to get a sense of what's happening in the event overall and dip into things as they see fit, then after the event, have a record of connections made and access to archived media to watch back.
This platform would be unique in its approach and become the industry standard for large online events. Just think Eventbrite, except we own and manage all the venues in which the events take place.
There should be more to an online conference than a video stream and a chat box. And the creation of this type of event should be accessible to anyone with the connections, status and network in their particular area of interest to make it a success, without the need for huge monetary investment or technical challenges.
Anyway, whatcha think?
I see this working for both the customer and the event organizer.
The event industry was in need of a solution like this prior to the pandemic to appeal to the next generation, especially in the non-profit fundraising space.
A solution like this could allow non-profits to host more profitable fundraising events more frequently than they could going to a large catering hall or event venue. This could also attract a higher volume of donors who previously didn’t have the resources to attend the highly priced events.
On the other side of the equation, I’ve owned a catering business, a restaurant, and a brewery. Prior to COVID — non-profit event budgets were vanishing while the cost of doing business as a restaurant was skyrocketing.
Having an all-in-one user friendly project management tool & marketing features for organizers sounds like a dream. I have also been seeing job postings for “virtual event managers” popping up on indeed that would probably agree!
Food/beverage is usually a big attraction for these conferences/ events. I would be interested to see how you could bring that part of the experience into the digital space.
Keep me posted. I’m very interested in this idea!
While we are in COVID time, I've seen many event companies that used to do events in real venues, launch virtual conferencing. So my assumption is, there are tools to facilitate such events online at this point from A to Z, it just might not be all in one place.
Another point is, networking is a huge part that is missing from virtual events. If you can facilitate it in your product, it would be amazing!
Sound like a good concept! I would definitely participate on both sides of the spectrum on a platform like this. Meaning, I would join conferences and would host conferences of my own. Keep me posted. Best of Luck!!
Thank you so far for your contributions.
Nicole, I'd never specifically identified the charitable sector as a key market, but I think you're right. It could be a good fit for them.
Carole, as with many business ideas, this one came out of my own itch. I too would find myself being a participant and an organiser if such a thing existed.
Danial, I'm aware of what is out there in the market, and there are consultants out there who will create such an event if you arrive at their office with a briefcase full of cash. Alternatively, if you rolled up your sleeves you could organise such a thing yourself, by combining different off-the-shelf services but it's a significant logistical challenge. There's lots of advantages to having a A-Z service, and a few drawbacks too, it has to be said, which need to be addressed.
I'll keep you posted. Thanks again.
Check out the market now. There are lots of these companies (on24, rain focus,etc). What would be the differentiator?
Looking for a Partner and hopefully Co-Founder on a new ag product in initial introduction phase in U.S. Co-Founder will need capability to make six figure capital contribution to become 50-50 partner. Or even consider more Co-Founders with right skill set and funding. Longer-term project minimum exit 12 years.