VEG’ers are not just sitting around twiddling their digits. The pandemic has not ended events. Instead, and very quickly, it has evolved them. Here is this week’s news in the world of events, brought to you by the VEG.
Who’s on First in 2021?

We plowed through 150 virtual events platforms so that you won’t have to. Here’s a quick look at the ones to watch in 2021.

  • Hopin This company raised $125 million in a Series B investment in November and bought Topi, a product that will help them create meaningful connections and networking opportunities. Plus, they’re playing the “environmental impact trump card” when talking about bringing events online permanently.
  • Hubilo They’ve been at it since 2015, but Hubilo moved quickly to hone its virtual events skills and seek investments ($4.5 million seed funding). Starting with simple Zoom integration, they took a quick lead in gamified leader-boards, networking, lead generation and marketing campaigns, which can be integrated to enterprise backend. They took a quick lead.
  • Bizzabo Bizzabo has its feet firmly planted in all event modalities: in person, online, and hybrid. With $138 million in new funds, this will suit it well as 2021 begins to open up to new permutations on the events scene. What happens in 2021 puts the emphasis on the hybrid events of one sort or another.
  • It seems that 10times is really in the business of attendee farming. They’ll get you traffic to your virtual event and then market all their other virtual events to you, filling their virtual auditoriums, but not necessarily with the right folks.
  • Run the World They nabbed a chunk of investment money in May, but we haven’t heard much about this Silicon Valley homegrown platform since.
Want more on Keeping up with the platforms?
Virtual Times Square Behind the Scenes

A typical New Year’s Eve in Times Square attracts 100,000+ visitors, a six ton ball decorated with over 2.6 million Waterford crystals, and 32,000 Philips LED lights. And did we mention 3,000 pounds of confetti?

Normal costs include 7,000 police officers ($7.5 million) and talent (each act costs between $250,000 to $1 million for top names).

This year, the plan for Times Square is to kiss 2020 goodbye for good. It’s still going to involve a ball drop, some Ryan Seacrest happiness, and Gloria Gaynor’s rendition of the questionably tone deaf “I Will Survive.” (not to be a cancel culture freak, but many, as we know, have sadly not survived.)

But you should expect more than a reprise of the weirdly sad Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. Games, AR and VR experiences await the revelers by downloading the Virtual Times Square (VNYE), created by Samsung and real estate developer Jamestown. You’ll be able to personalize your avatar and join the Times Square virtual crowds. Enriched interactivity will let you control your camera view, encourage chats and more. Be prepared to do a lot of downloading and signing in as each activity is a bit separate from the others.

For more Times Square trivia than you ever wanted to know, read The Hustle’s deep dive.


Vaccination Nation

As vaccines roll out across the world, they hold the promise of allowing travel to event venues with a degree of certainty that you are immune. Part of the promise will rely on carrying digital health passports. You may need to show proof of vaccination to get onto an airplane, into a concert hall, or just head back to the office. I look at the future of digital health passports here.


The B2B Factor

Virtual events while away the hours, but can they get any business done? Hats off to The Toy Association for helping their members sell their wares during a frenetic year. They did a great job. without overthinking the bells and whistles, as they designed ToyFair Everywhere a virtual marketplace to help toy businesses get their work done by connecting manufacturers with their customers, suppliers, and the global play community, without relying on in-person meetings. Built on the Baluun platform, the site lets you create a digital showroom to sell toys and youth products to buyers. Sales matching tools and buyer’s day events are all part of the program. Marian Bossard, EVP, Global Market Events at The Toy Association, Inc., will be joining us in an upcoming VEG event, so keep an eye on your calendar invites.


Play it Close to the Vest

As event planners get on their Zoom calls to lay out their 2021 battle plans replete with doomsday scenarios and minimally viable options, they might want to hold their cards a bit closer to the vest. Witness the tumult of Abundance 360, Peter Diamandis’ annual high ticket soiree, which was scheduled to be held live in Malibu (yes, Southern California!) this January.

Initially Diamandis said that anyone attending in person would have to take a nose-swab test 72 hours before arrival and each day during the conference. Then he changed his mind. The company canceled the in-person program for most people scheduled to attend, according to a message to staff reviewed by Seattle Times.

The summit will be limited to about 16 people who paid $30,000 for special events, but depending on the health situation, even that 16 person soiree could be cancelled. It’s one thing to be an optimist about scheduling events for 2021, but it’s another to tempt the hands of fate and hope to find a handful of wealthy elite who believe they’re beholden to some other standard of public health.

Did you miss our last VEG meetup?
It was a holiday party to explore how to build community in a virtual world and featured Felix Zeltner’s WorkAwesome community as well as Sherry Huss’s bold new venture into the arts, Decameron Row. Catch the re-rerun online.
January 21, 2021 | 3:00 pm-4:00 pm
Our next event includes Andrew Morris, founder of the Fintech Agenda speaking about organizing large fintech virtual events. And a networking interlude sponsored by
Sign up to attend
About Us
Send any tips and thoughts you have about virtual events. contact Robin Raskin,
Founder, Solving For Tech
201.564.7900 | 917.215.3160 | @robinr