The coronavirus pandemic has bruised and battered many technology startups, but it has also boosted a small few. One such company is Zoom, which has shouldered the task of keeping us connected to one another in the midst of remote work and social distancing.
Yuan moved to Silicon Valley in 1997 after being rejected for a work visa nine times. He got a job at WebEx and, upon the company’s acquisition by Cisco, became VP of Engineering at the company. He pitched an idea for a mobile-friendly video conferencing system that was rejected by his higher-ups.
And thus, Zoom was born.
Zoom launched in 2011 and quickly became one of the biggest teleconferencing platforms in the world, competing with the likes of Google and Cisco. The company has investors like Emergence, Horizon Ventures and Sequoia, and ultimately filed to go public in 2019.
With some of the most reliable video conferencing software on the market, a tiered pricing structure that’s friendly to average users and massive enterprises alike, and a lively ecosystem of apps and bots on the Zoom App Marketplace, Zoom was well poised to be a public company. In fact, Zoom popped 81% in its first day of trading on the Nasdaq, garnering a valuation of $16 billion at the time.
But few could have prepared the company for the explosive growth it would see in 2020.
The coronavirus pandemic necessitated access to reliable and user-friendly video conferencing software for everyone, not just companies moving to remote work. People used Zoom for family dinners, cocktail hours with friends, first dates and religious gatherings.
In fact, Zoom reported 300 million daily active participants in April.
But that growth led to increased scrutiny of the business and the product. The company was beset by security issues and had to pause product innovation to focus its energy on resolving those issues.
We’ll talk to Yuan about the growing pains the company went through, his plans for Zoom’s future, the acceleration in changing user behavior and more.
It’ll be a conversation you won’t want to miss.
Disrupt 2020 runs from September 14 to September 18, and the show will be completely virtual. That means it’s easier than ever to attend and engage with the show. There are just a few Digital Pro Passes left at the $245 price — once they are gone, prices will increase. Discounts are available for current students and nonprofit/government employees. Or if you are a founder, you can exhibit at your virtual booth for $445 and be able to generate leads even before the event kicks off. Get your tickets today.
This morning Hopin, a London-based startup building virtual events technology, announced that it has raised a $40 million Series A led by IVP. According to the company, Salesforce’s corporate venture arm Salesforce Ventures also took part in the round, as did a number of its prior investors, including Slack’s venture capital group the Slack Fund, European venture groups Seedcamp and Northzone, and US-based Accel.
The round comes after Hopin had raised relatively modest capital before, including a $6.5 million round in February of this year.
Hopin is busy scaling. The company has seen its employee base grow from eight to sixty this year, and targets 200 by the end of 2020, according to CEO Johnny Boufarhat. The firm is staffing up as usage of its technology expands, with the “number of monthly attendees of events” hosted using its technology growing from 16,000 in March — when COVID-19 lockdowns were accelerating — to 175,000 in May, according to the company.
That’s the sort of growth that venture capitalists flock to, checkbooks in hand. Even better, Hopin’s current marketing costs are around zero, as there’s simply more groups that want to host events on the company’s platform than it can handle.
Why does a virtual event technology provider have a bottleneck? “Hopin is a venue,” Boufarhat told TechCrunch in an interview, meaning that its customers need support to make sure things go well when they use the software. If a piece of business technology hiccups for a few minutes, Boufarhat explained, citing CRM as an example, it’s not the end of the world. If a Hopin instance has issues, he explained, 1,000 people could be impacted, causing them to judge both the hosting group and his company.
Hopin’s technology allows events to recreate the traditional in-person conference, online. This includes features that allow hosts to have digital equivalents of real-world event locations and activities, like expo centers, various stages, and networking capabilities. This mirroring of an IRL get-together, online, could make digital events more attractive to attendees who have become accustomed to a certain method of congregating.
Hopin first raised money in October of 2019, during a period of rapid expansion. According to Boufarhat, his startup was seeing about 60% growth, month-to-month. At that time the company was operating with reduced entry, only accepting a portion of market demand. After the October round was complete, the business kept growing, allowing it to collect more data on its product and how it was used.
That information led to its February, 2020 Seed round. Back then the company was seeing revenue scale roughly along with expenses, allowing it to be “nearly profitable” during the period, according to its CEO. For venture capitalists, seeing a company with more demand than it can handle grow, while also not losing much — if any — money is attractive.
Hopin’s quick round in early 2020 then was not a surprise. The same confluence of factors, including usage growth and revenue expansion, are also what came together for its most-recent Series A.
COVID-19 was an accelerant for Hopin, it appears. As the pandemic spread, the company realized that companies were going to switch from in-person events to webinars, which, in its view, aren’t great. So, it moved to make Hopin more available, earlier, than planned.
Now with more money than it has had to-date, Hopin can likely accelerate its hiring, and onboard more clients than before. That means more virtual events, and more revenue for the company. It will be interesting to see how the company’s gross margins shape up over time, and what percent of the events that it helps host recur. If the margins are good, and events periodic, the firm could argue for a SaaS multiple long-term.
Looking towards the future, it will be interesting to see how the company approaches the realm of digital worlds, and if there’s space in its current model for more VR-style experiences. And there are other questions in the distance, including what happens when a vaccine is eventually found for COVID-19? Do events go back to normal, or do they wind up splitting the IRL-online divide, giving Hopin and similar companies a place in conferences for good?
Firms like Teeoh and even Eventbrite also want a piece the virtual event market, so Hopin won’t have a walkover. That said, there’s little indication yet that virtual event hosting will be a single-winner category. Given the sheer TAM of the events world, there’s probably room for several.
How quickly Hopin raises again should give us our next signal regarding the pace of its growth. More when we have it.
Does your elevator pitch lack traction? Could it do with a serious makeover? We’re here to help. Tune into Pitchers & Pitches, an interactive pitch-off and feedback session, on July 1 at 4 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. PT. This event is 100% free — simply register here to attend.
Pitchers & Pitches — part pitch-off, part masterclass — features startups (all exhibitors in Digital Startup Alley during Disrupt 2020) delivering their best 60-second pitch to a panel of judges. The panel for this session consists of two TechCrunch editors — Jordan Crook and Kirsten Korosec — and two VCs — Matthew Hartman of Betaworks Ventures and Dayna Grayson of Construct Capital.
The panel will critique each presentation, offer advice and suggest ways to forge a pitch for the ages. Take their tips, adapt them your specific situation and get ready to super charge your elevator pitch.
Note: The Pitchers & Pitches webinar series is free and open to all, but only companies that purchased a Disrupt Digital Startup Alley Package are eligible to pitch. We randomly chose these startups to compete on July 1st:
Cognidna – provides DNA insights on cognitive traits, helping parents make more informed educational decisions for their children.
Munch – a digital platform for restaurants designed to create better customer experiences.
Flexlane – an online wholesale marketplace that transforms the way local retailers in Asia buy for their stores.
Bitsensing – aims to design future safety in the era of Autonomous Vehicles.
What’s a pitch-off without a prize? One pitching startup will win a consulting session with cela. cela connects early-stage startups to accelerators and incubators that can help them scale their businesses.
And while the judges evaluate and provide feedback, it’s the virtual audience (i.e. you) who determines the ultimate winner. That said, everyone who attends the event comes away with a stronger pitch and stands a greater chance of catching investor attention. Win-win.
Keep your startup focused and on track. Register for Pitches & Pitchers and join us next week, July 1 at 4 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. PT. If you want to be eligible to pitch your startup at Pitchers & Pitches, purchase your Digital Startup Alley ticket and opt in to being considered for our fourth installment of Pitchers & Pitches.
Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at Disrupt 2020? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.
In a preshow post, I compared the upcoming virtual WWDC to late-season “M*A*S*H.” If you watched the show during its original run or have since binged it on Netflix or Hulu, you’re likely aware of the producers’ uncomfortable transition away from using a laugh track. It was an ultimately beneficial choice in a show about a mobile military hospital during the Korean War, but shifting viewer expectations wasn’t easy, so it was done gradually, over time.
After so many years of priming audiences for a large online spectacle, event teams haven’t had the same luxury. Some shifted online last minute and others simply canceled the shows altogether. Even though COVID-19 was looming for months, there was really no simple decision here, and as such many of these first-time virtual-only events have been uncomfortably awkward and primarily defined by what they’re not.
Microsoft made a valiant attempt to embrace the temporarily new normal with its recent Build conference. The result was, at best, a mixed bag, relying on cringe-inducing banter by two employees to anchor several days of developer events. Where the presentation most shined, however, was when it was at its most simplistic: Satya Nadella stood in front of a bookshelf to address the weirdness of the situation and moved on with the day’s news. It was one of those moments where you found yourself grateful that the CEO is the emotional opposite of his screaming predecessor.
One could simply ignore the strangeness of it all — the absence of a live audience packed with a cheering section full of developers and employees. But to do so would be doing it a disservice.
Startups don’t come with instructions — a fact that inspired us to create TC Early Stage 2020, a two-day online event packed with workshops designed specifically for early-stage startup founders. It’s the closest thing you’ll find to a blueprint for DIY success, and it all goes down on July 21-22.
Early-bird pricing remains in effect for just three more days. Buy your Early Stage 2020 pass before the offer expires on June 26 at 11:59 pm (PT) and you’ll save $50.
Early Stage 2020 offers more than 50 breakout sessions covering topics and issues that every pre-seed through Series A founder faces. You won’t just sit on your couch and listen — these workshops are engaging and interactive.
What keeps you up at night? What next step have you put off because you’re feeling paralyzed or uncertain? Whether it has to do with your pitch, term-sheet construction, fundraising, hiring practices, developing a tech stack, growth marketing or product management, you’ll get your burning questions answered.
We’re limiting these sessions to about 100 people each, they’re available first come, first serve, and they’ll fill up quickly. Buy your pass, check the growing list of workshops and sign up to secure the topics you want most. Videos of all the sessions will be available on demand to ticket holders after the event.
Here’s a glimpse of the great sessions waiting for you at Early Stage 2020.
How to raise a successful Series A with Greylock’s Reid Hoffman and Sarah Guo: Raising money is all in the details, and no one knows those details better than Reid Hoffman and Sarah Guo. Hear from these two seasoned experts about how to craft the perfect pitch deck — Hoffman will dive deep on his annotated LinkedIn Series B pitch deck, while Guo breaks down exactly what she looks for. With consumer and enterprise fields equally represented, these two should offer a wealth of strategic information around how to successfully raise a Series A.
How to draw up your first contracts and other legal tips with Moonshot Legal’s Adam Zagaris: Hear from James Alonso, partner at Magnolia Law, on the ins and outs of company formation and financing. Companies that are off to the races can learn from Adam Zagaris, partner at Moonshot Legal, as he breaks down the process of creating commercial contracts and managing transactions. This is a great 360-overview of the legal side of running a startup.
Take advantage of your professional blueprint and tune in to TC Early Stage 2020 on July 21-22. Take advantage of early-bird savings, buy your pass before June 26 at 11:59 pm (PT) and save $50 in the process.
Is your company interested in sponsoring TC Early Stage? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.
Collaborative enterprise software is absolutely booming, and Airtable is riding that wave in a very real way.
The company, which offers a flexible, collaborative database product, has raised more than $170 million in funding from investors like CRV, Benchmark, Coatue Management, and Thrive Capital. So it should come as no surprise that we’re simply thrilled to have Airtable cofounder and CEO Howie Liu join us at Disrupt 2020.
Liu went to Duke University before starting his first company, eTacts, which was an automated CRM system that received investment from the founders of YouTube, Powerset and Delicious, as well as investors like Ron Conway and Ashton Kutcher.
Liu then went on to lead the social CRM product for Salesforce before leaving to set his own course once again with Airtable .
Airtable was founded back in 2012 with a broad mission of democratizing software. At its essence, Airtable is a relational database. Laymen can think of it as a Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel on steroids, but it actually goes much deeper than that.
Software is built on data — organized data, to be exact — and while many of us can compile and organize data into a spreadsheet, few can make it sing its way to a software product. Airtable aims to make that possible for anyone, even a non-developer.
That said, the company faces several hurdles. Airtable is a product that can be used in many, many ways, from tracking sales goals to organizing product road maps to managing workflows. With this type of open-ended product, it can be difficult to educate the end-user on how to make the most of it, or how to use it to begin with.
We’ll talk with Liu about how to build a very complex product in the most user-friendly way possible. We’ll also ask him about the state of enterprise software sales at a time when most large companies are freezing or decreasing spending, the future of no- and low-code software, and how he thinks about hyper-growth.
Disrupt is all virtual in 2020 and runs September 14 to September 18, and we have several Digital Pass options to be part of the action or to exhibit virtually, which you can check out here.
Liu joins a stellar roster of speakers, including Roelof Botha, Cyan Banister, Charles Hudson, and Mike Cannon-Brookes, with more speakers to be announced soon!
The App Store ecosystem today is home to nearly 2 million apps. That means finding new apps to download is now more challenging than ever. This, in turn, leads app developers to funnel more money into App Store Search ads, traditional SEO and digital advertising in an effort to acquire new users. A new feature called App Clips, arriving in iOS 14 later this year, will give developers another option to introduce their app to users. With App Clips, users can instead load just a small part of an app on demand, when required. And when they’re done, the App Clip disappears.
The concept behind App Clips isn’t new. Google’s Android platform has for several years offered tiny app-on-demand downloads called “Instant Apps.”
Like Instant Apps, Apple’s App Clips are about making apps as seamless to use as the web. They are fast, ephemeral and eliminate the barrier to entry that is downloading an app from the App Store.
Today, many users don’t want to bother with a full app download when they’re in a hurry. For example, if a user is trying to pay for parking, they’re more likely to swipe their credit card in the meter to save time, instead of downloading the city’s parking app.
A customer waiting in line to place a food or drink order also doesn’t want to bother downloading the restaurant’s app to browse a menu and pay — they’ll just speak their order at the counter. And a customer wanting to rent a scooter just wants to tap, pay and be on their way.
Image Credits: Apple
An App Clip would work in any of of these scenarios, and many others, by making it as easy to use apps as it is to tap to check out with Apple Pay or launch a website.
While Apple will allow users to launch clips by way of a QR code, a new “App Clip Code” arriving later this year will offer an upgraded experience to kicking off these apps you find suggested to you out in the real world. App Clip Codes will combine both NFC and a visual code, so users can either tap or scan the code to access the App Clip experience.
Image Credits: Apple
For example, an App Clip Code placed on a parking meter would allow a user to quickly load just the part of the app where they pay for their time. They can even skip manual credit card entry by using Apple Pay, if included in a given App Clip.
The App Clips themselves are less than 10 MB in size and ship bundled with the app on the App Store. They’re built using the same UI technologies developers use today to build apps, like UIKit or SwiftUI. But using an App Clip doesn’t trigger the app to download to the user’s device.
A key advantage App Clips offer is how they address concerns over data privacy. Because App Clips are essentially a way to run app code on demand, they’re restricted from tapping into iPhone’s more sensitive data — like health and fitness information, for example. Plus, the App Clip and all its data will automatically disappear if it’s not used again within some period of time.
However, if a user begins to launch a particular App Clip more regularly — perhaps one for their favorite coffee order at their local shop, for instance — the App Clip’s lifetime is extended and it can get smarter. In this example, the App Clip could cache the customer’s last order and present it as a recommendation, to speed up the ordering process. Eventually, this repeat user may decide to download the full app.
In that case, the hand-off is seamless as well — iOS will automatically migrate the authorizations for things like Camera, Microphone and Bluetooth access, which the App Clip had already requested. Select data can also be migrated.
Image Credits: Apple
There are other ways for users to encounter App Clips besides out in the real world, though that may be a primary use case.
Apple says App Clips can be sent as links in iMessage, popped up as a suggestion when you’re browsing a mobile site in Safari, shown on a business’s details page in Apple Maps or may appear in Siri’s Nearby suggestions.
The idea is that wherever a user may be on their device — or out in the world — the App Clip can be there, too.
The fintech revolution is just getting started.
At least that’s the impression we got after a conversation with Plaid co-founder Zach Perret. He appeared on Extra Crunch Live last week to talk about his company’s announced exit to Visa and the larger fintech landscape.
Perret and Plaid announced a deal to sell the company to Visa earlier this year for $5.3 billion, a transaction that highlighted the company’s central position in the fintech world. Plaid provides APIs that link consumer bank accounts to apps and other financial services, making it the connective tissue of the fintech boom.
It’s probably no surprise, then, that Perret is bullish: “You’ve heard it a million times, but the quote of software eating the world [is true], and my corollary to that is [that] every company is a fintech company. And certainly every financial services company should be a fintech company.”
He said there’s lots of room left for fintech and finservices companies to create new products, which is not a bad view of the future if you want to be cheered up. Perret also noted that there are widespread opportunities for fintech companies to help underbanked people in the U.S. and abroad, which indicates a massive, untapped total addressable market.
To make sure you can take your own notes, we’ve included the full session below and excerpted a few passages from the transcript. (You can sign up for Extra Crunch here if you need access.)
First up, here’s the full call:
Okay, so, first and foremost, this is going to be a weird one. Mostly because it’s 2020 and everything is just weird now and we have to deal with that until the next, weirder thing comes along. But while an online-only World Wide Developer Conference is certainly unprecedented for Apple, there’s some recent online precedent from the competition that should give us a preview of what’s to come.
Microsoft’s Build was something of a mixed bag as the bellwether for company-hosted online-only developer conferences (Google notably skipped I/O altogether). CEO Satya Nadella’s bits were pretty much what they should have been: straightforward developer news delivered in a straightforward manner. The event was awkwardly anchored by a pair of employees serving as a kind of throughline for the multi-day show. Goofy developer humor was sprinkled in. It was sometimes painful, but largely benign.
Celebrity video cameos have become a kind of staple for Apple’s events in recent years, so it seems likely to expect that they’ll remain here. In fact, between the launch of Apple TV+ and a general impulse to break up the monotony of a pre-packaged event, the company may lean into that content even further.
Truth is, the thing is going to feel weird regardless. Between staffers and developers, these sorts of things are designed to be an annual bit of cheerleading. Things will feel strange without an audience. Go back and watch later episodes of MASH on Netflix. There’s a weird transition as the producers began tamping down the laugh track slowly overtime. It’s not about one method being better than the other, it’s just difficult for our brains to process these sorts of transitions.
Of course, the opening of Apple’s event is even more tailored to consumers than Microsoft’s. Before venturing into the weeds, the company uses Tim Cook’s keynote as one of a handful of key platforms for announcing new products. As a rule, the news generally revolves around updates to Apple’s various operating systems (this is still a developer conference, mind), but more often than not, hardware has a way of sneaking in there as well. Given a recent update to the 16-inch MacBook Pro and a new system for upgrading Mac Pro’s storage, there’s a decent chance that Apple is making room for bigger announcements at the event.
I’m a hardware guy, so I’m going to start there. The biggest rumor leading up to the event so far is the long-rumored shift to its own in-house ARM processors, making a shift away from a decade+ dependence on Intel chips. The move to a Mac ARM (not to be confused with Mudhoney frontman Mark Arm) would mark another key move toward silicon independence for the company, which has made great strides on that front over on the mobile side.
Beyond letting Apple own a bigger slice of the stack (and all that entails), the new chips have some decided benefits, including better power efficiency and thinner and lighter laptops. Notably, the actual arrival of such ARM-based Macs isn’t likely to happen until next year. Rather, the intent here is to outline the roadmap in order to give developers in attendance a chance to begin tailoring software for their imminent arrival.
Other rumored hardware includes a redesigned version of Apple’s popular all-in-one desktop. An update is certainly long overdue on this front. The iMac’s design language has been largely unchanged since 2012 (which was a relatively minor change over earlier unibody designs). Aesthetically, the redesigned system is expected to be more in line with the iPad Pro up top, coupled with much thinner bezels (the desktop is one of the last vestiges of Apple’s bezel-friendly past). The T2 chip is said to finally be making its way into the line, as well.
Other feasible hardware rumors include the arrival of Apple’s Tile-style hardware tracker, AirTags. That one’s reportedly been in the works for a while, though things have been heating up lately, courtesy of leaks and Tile’s complaints to the EU about alleged anticompetitive action from Apple. Another rumor that’s been bubbling up quite a bit: AirPods Studio. Apple will reportedly launch over-ear competitors to its own successful Beats brand. High-end noise cancellation premium sound is on the docket, along with modular, magnetic components. Also potentially on the list are refreshes to a couple of iPads, as well as a long-awaited update to the HomePod, or possibly the addition of a smaller, cheaper version of the smart speaker.
As for those ever-important operating systems, it’s a no-brainer that we’ll get a good look at iOS 14/iPadOS 14. Key updates include a new automatically sortable home screen, including a list view that makes it possible to sort alphabetically, by unread notifications and a number other different methods. Other rumors for the operating system include the adoption of iPad-style multitasking. Obviously the smaller screen size makes execution trickier than it would on a tablet, but a similar feature has already been demonstrated on Android devices. Also rumored to be on the docket are new augmented reality and fitness apps.
In addition, macOS is shaping up to be a relatively light update to 10.16 — at least if the rumors are correct. Top of the list here are more ported iOS apps, courtesy of the catalyst program, along with developer customizable Siri (which would also be an iOS update, mind). Car Key, meanwhile, could be coming to both watchOS in addition to iOS, bringing with it the ability to unlock a car door via Apple hardware. A kid-friendly mode and improved sleep tracking are also rumored to be in the works.
The keynote kicks off June 22 at 10AM ET/1PM PT. Online events will follow for the rest of the week. It’s going to be different than any years prior — and there’s a decent chance Apple will never embrace it exactly the same way again. Enjoy the weirdness.
Later today, TechCrunch’s Extra Crunch Live series is sitting down with Plaid CEO Zach Perret. Extra Crunch members can tune in at 10 a.m. PDT/1 p.m. EDT/5 p.m. GMT. The livestream links and scheduling links are below for your use.
Extra Crunch Live has previously spoken with investors like Sequoia’s Roelof Botha, business celebrity Mark Cuban and entrepreneurs like Eventbrite’s CEO and co-founder Julia Hartz. Perret, however, is unique in that he’s joining us after a multibillion dollar deal to sell Plaid to Visa was announced, but before the deal is completed. The situation should make for an interesting conversation.
TechCrunch wants to know about Plaid’s $250 million, 2018-era venture round and how the huge infusion changed Plaid’s growth plans and corporate culture. We’re going to ask why Perret decided to sell the business instead of working to take it public and how the decision to sell was evaluated among leadership and investors.
Plaid’s core product helps other fintech and finservices companies connect to consumer bank accounts.
Hosts Jordan Crook and Alex Wilhelm will also dig into trends that we are keeping tabs on, like huge growth in market demand for savings and investing products. As Plaid helps a host of other fintech shops reach consumers, it has a view into what types of fintech startups are doing well. We want to know what’s bubbling up now that is new and surprising.
If time permits, we’ll also chat about API-based startups themselves and how some fintech companies today are bringing lower-cost services to individuals who are often underserved — and overcharged — by traditional banking players.
We’ll ask your questions as well. So, make sure your Extra Crunch membership is active, and we’ll see you later today. Chat soon!
The following links will get you sorted. YouTube livestream link will be added closer to the start time.
How do you decide what tools and languages to use to build your concept into a company? How can the tech stack decisions you make in the early days affect you down the road — and how might your needs evolve over time?
Schippers is a revered product architect with a focus on “helping companies, and brands build more mindful and thoughtful products for the next-generation consumer”, and has previously written for TechCrunch about the process of design and the different things apps do to keep us addicted. Jon Evans is a journalist and award-winning novelist — and, as it happens, a long-time columnist here at TechCrunch.
TC Early Stage is our brand-new virtual event series that focuses on getting new founders the information, insight, and advice directly from the experts — the founders, investors, and lawyers who’ve been down these roads many times before. Schippers and Evans are joining an already incredible list of speakers, with sessions and talks from folks like Reid Hoffman, Brooke Hammerling, Dalton Caldwell, Garry Tan, Charles Hudson, and Cyan Banister.
One catch: each of the 50+ breakout sessions at TC Early Stage will be capped at just 100 people, and will be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis. Buy your ticket today (starting at $199) and you’ll be able to sign up for any breakout sessions we announce, plus any we’ve already announced that still have room. Prices increase in a few short days so secure your seat today.
It all goes down on July 21st and 22nd. The best news? This two-day event is all virtual, so you can tune in from the comforts of your couch. Want to know more? Find all the details you could ever want right here.
Through tickets and event organizing, Eventbrite empowers the experiences that we all enjoy. Yet with the advent of COVID-19, concerts have been canceled, trade shows shuttered and industry talks dispersed all in the name of safety.
We’ve seen the nearly complete shutdown of the physical event economy, so how do you reorient an entire company’s thinking when the fundamental notion of “experience” is undergoing seismic change? How do you lead and maintain a culture when your staff is now remote?
We’ll have plenty of questions to ask, and EC members will be able to ask questions as well. We’re going to focus in on how Hartz came to terms with what the novel coronavirus meant for Eventbrite, and how she and her team built a new operating plan going forward. We’ll talk about the tradeoffs that involved, and how Eventbrite is pushing on virtual events today. We’ll also touch on the company’s new guidelines published today on running in-person events in the COVID-19 era. Eventbrite is publicly traded, and so we’ll also discuss with Hartz how she navigated communicating to investors in a wildly chaotic time.
Hartz has been a big believer in using Eventbrite’s platform to connect people and power social change (for example, the company has curated a virtual gay pride parade for today). In a world where police brutality, particularly against Black Americans, has taken a spotlight and LGBT rights are still being decided in real-time by the U.S. Supreme Court, what is the responsibility of a tech leader today to work on these issues and what tools do leaders have to move these issues forward?
Plus, of course, as many of your questions as you are willing to ask.
So come join us today and learn more about the skills it takes to lead a business in 2020. We look forward to seeing you there. And if you aren’t an Extra Crunch member, join now and then join us later.
To login, please use the details below later today.
One of the earliest disruptions created by the novel coronavirus manifested in the form of event cancellations. Some of the world’s biggest tech conferences, like F8 and Google NEXT, got postponed and others turned to digital options to still connect. Even Disrupt is going digital this year.
It is an unprecedented time for the events world, so we are bringing someone right in the center of it to our Extra Crunch Live stage: Eventbrite CEO Julia Hartz. In fact, Extra Crunch members can ask their own questions directly to the CEO and are encouraged to do so live on the call.
Hartz is leading the publicly traded company as it grows more popular than ever with hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. At the same time, the global slowdown of in-person event ticketing due to COVID-19 has had a material impact on Eventbrite’s business. What does that mean for employee morale? Collaboration with other companies? And overall culture at the business?
Eventbrite has swiftly transitioned to virtual events, with thousands of listings across categories like professional events, classes, health and wellness, science and tech, community and culture and more. Hartz also told Billboard that the company remains committed to serving independent music venues, which have been hit hard by the global health crisis, and hinted that Eventbrite may shift to a self-service ticket model.
The company reported that, since enhancing its online events service in 2019, and in the midst of social distancing, Eventbrite users are posting nearly 20k online events every day, with a 2,000+ percent year-over-year increase of online events taking place in April 2020 compared to April 2019. This announcement came after Eventbrite said it would cut $100 million in costs, which included layoffs.
We’ll talk with Hartz about how she is leading her company through a crisis and what the future holds for bringing people together. We’ll also discuss how widespread layoffs may impact the future of diversity in our workforces.
Hartz will also be asked to weigh in on advice for other founders hoping to emerge from COVID-19 from fundraising to strategy. As always, EC subscribers are invited to log onto the call to ask questions live.
Details are below for Extra Crunch subscribers; if you need a pass, get a cheap trial here.
Chat with you all in a week!