This article was initially published on SeedToScle
In mid 2019, Lalit called up Subrata explaining why online, real time communication platforms (in particular, video conferencing platforms) will be central to the future ways of working, and will see multiple vertical plays emerge (case in point: virtual events hosting platform) driven by huge market potential and diversity of use cases.
Skip a year ahead, accentuated by Covid, organizations and institutions across the globe are adopting remote ways of working. This has become a windfall for the online, real-time communication platforms market, which has grown 45% this year and the growth rate is expected to increase by 1.5x. And virtual event hosting platforms are at the top of this tide and have grown 10x in the past few months.
Apart from being a mere replacement for offline physical events, virtual event hosting platforms open up an entirely new channel for engaging with an organization’s customers, clients, investors, and more. It increases the reach and convenience of hosting and attending the event by removing the physical constraints of travel and time.
The ‘eureka’ moment
Lalit (CEO and co-founder, Airmeet and CPO and co-founder, CommonFloor) was indeed ahead of the curve in creating the right product to solve this pain point when he started Airmeet with his co-founders Manoj (previously colleague at CommonFloor) and Vinay (previously at Blackbuck) in 2019.
“Not being in a mainstream city where a lot of these (community) events usually happen made me feel left out from the process of shaping the future,” says Lalit. “Airmeet aims to bridge this asymmetry of participation at community events.”
The MVP was built through a series of feedback loops with the customers and the product-market fit was never a big challenge. The first virtual event, conducted in November 2019, with 40+ participants saw 75%+ sit through rate. Customer advocacy (online) and viral monthly growth are indicators of it. Being a fully-remote organization, customer empathy is institutionalized in the company’s DNA.
The investment thesis
Subrata had conviction in the founders from CommonFloor days and helped them think through markets and emerging trends when they were thinking about starting up again. And Accel was the first institutional investor when Airmeet was founded last year.
“The team’s articulation of the problem, clarity of thought, and engagement with user communities were enough proof points for me to put in a pre-seed investment,” says Subrata.
During the early days, Accel (read Subrata and Ajay) acted as a sounding board for the team and supported in laying solid foundations for long-term value creation.
“Airmeet has a solid focus on giving customers a holistic experience,” says Ajay, “and has robust tracking metrics to gauge pre, during, and post-event experience for all participants — speakers and attendees.”
Later in March 2020, Accel led the seed round in Airmeet. The investment decision was driven by the conviction in the founding team and encouraging early adoption observed within the customer communities.
Today, Airmeet is growing exponentially, adding about 10 new community accounts every hour. And this is without a significant spend on marketing. To continue on this J-curve trajectory, Airmeet has recently raised the series A round with participation from marquee investors, including Accel.
We, at Accel, are pleased to have been an early partner for Airmeet and are excited to be a part of the journey ahead.