Amid the coronavirus epidemic and cancellations of various events, more and more meetings are moving online, while events are also taking on a virtual form with large gatherings being barred in many places. Naturally, online events are the latest trend and Airmeet is looking to capitalise on this rise with a $3 Mn funding round, led by Accel India.
Airmeet cofounder Lalit Mangal told Inc42 that the Bengaluru-based startup will utilise the funds for enhancing the capabilities of the online meeting platform to host multiple events formats. VentureHighway, Berlin-based Global Founders Capital, AngelList, LetsVenture, and Sequoia Scout also participated in the round. Besides VCs, angel investors such as Unacademy cofounder Gaurav Munjal, redBus cofounder Phanindra Sama, Livspace cofounder Ramakant Sharma, CommonFloor cofounder Sumit Jain, Kawa Space founder Krish Nair, and Telenor Health founder Sajid Rahman.
As the number of coronavirus cases surges around the world, many major events have been cancelled including the massive Y Combinator Demo Day, Collision 2020, Google I/O 2020 and Mobile World Congress 2020. But online event organising platforms such as Airmeet have brought event organisers some respite. “We are in close conversations with many conferences which are evaluating to go virtual,” Mangal said.
Some of these events have registered hundreds of thousands of participants in their past editions. Is Airmeet ready to meet these kinds of server loads? Mangal claims that Airmeet is quite scalable and that it can accommodate a concurrent attendee count of around 1 Mn.
Airmeet was founded in 2019 by Mangal, Vinay Kumar Jasti, and Manoj Kumar Singh. While Mangal was one of the founders of CommonFloor, Jasti and Singh were in the leadership team at the proptech startup.
Airmeet is an online meeting and event hosting platform, where instead of simply broadcasting the event, participants can connect with other event attendees for one-to-one and one-to-many online interactions.
The remote-first startup claims to be an all-in-one platform which helps its users to host, discover, and attend remote events such as professional meetups and conferences. By offering options such as virtual tables, networking lounges, backstage, stage, claps and audience reactions to participants, Airmeet is trying to recreate live atmosphere online. “We are best suited for conferences which have one or many sessions in sequence,” said Mangal.
According to a 2019 report by MarketWatch, the global online meeting software market is estimated to reach $6.23 Bn by 2024, registering a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.1% during the forecast period from 2019 to 2024. Among the online meeting platforms, Airmeet competes with the likes of INXPO, Zoho Meeting, Skype, BigMarker, among others.
With the easy availability of high-speed internet and meeting software, companies around the world are now also relying on remote employees. Mangal thinks this bodes well for the adoption of online meeting tools.
“The rise in remote work has got every knowledge professional a small home office setup, which also enabled them to participate in global professional events on Airmeet.”
Moreover, in physical events, there are chances that one might miss a chance to have a conversation with an important person. But with Airmeet, a user can even contact any attendee before and after the event. Mangal said that NASSCOM, LetsVenture, IEEE India, Accel India, and AngelList India are already using Airmeet’s online platform. “Many companies are using Airmeet to conduct their all-hands and town halls,” he added.
Besides events and corporate meetings, Mangal said that internet communities that have a global footprint but lack a face-to-face interactive platform are also benefiting from Airmeet.