EventMobi, an event management software provider based in Toronto, Canada, today announced that it’s agreed to acquire Run The World, an Andreessen Horowitz (a16z)-backed platform for online events, for an undisclosed amount.
Bob Vaez, the founder and CEO of EventMobi, said that the purchase will enable EventMobi to “double down” on delivering diverse event formats, expand its reach and “solidify [its] position as industry leaders.” In the coming months, Run The World customers will be able to sign up to join EventMobi’s product platform, with EventMobi’s customer success teams assisting in the transition.
“We’re standing at the dawn of a new era for business conferences, events and communities,” Vaez said in a canned statement. “The future of events will blend in-person and virtual experiences to foster and engage communities. We are committed to enabling our customers to choose the best format to allow their attendees to learn, connect and exchange ideas year-round.”
Launched in 2019 by Xiaoyin Qu, who previously led products for both Facebook and Instagram, and Xuan Jiang, Qu’s former colleague at Meta, Run The World offered a range of capabilities to facilitate online conferencing, including tools for event ticketing, interactivity and networking. For customers — i.e. organizations hosting virtual events — Run The World created templates, handled ticket payment processing and streaming infrastructure and oversaw post-event follow-up and outreach.
One of Run The World’s more unique features was “video profiles,” which were akin to Instagram stories — designed to help event attendees inform other attendees about who they are. The platform also organized what it called “cocktail parties,” where attendees could match and converse with each other several minutes at a time before, during or after live events.
Run The World — based in Mountain View, with small teams in China and Taiwan — managed to raise $14.8 million in venture capital from backers including the aforementioned a16z, Pear VC, GGV Capital and Founders Fund. The pandemic supercharged its growth, even in the face of competition from events and videoconferencing platforms like Bevy, Hopin and Eventmaker as well as incumbents such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet. (Disclosure: TechCrunch has been a customer of Hopin’s.)
Run The World claims to have connected “millions” of users across a customer base that included brands like Forbes, Meta, Amazon, United Nations Development Programme and Harvard University, hosting over 50,000 virtual events from its founding until now.
One assumes that business cooled down slightly in the post-pandemic world as in-person events ramped up. An article in the FT from April 2022 noted that its “explore” tab, for discovering virtual conferences that one might want to attend, listed fewer than 500 events — down from more than 15,000 in November 2020.
This perhaps precipitated Run The World’s sale; rival Hopin sold its events and engagement units to RingCentral this week for similar reasons. But Qu wouldn’t confirm or deny.
“We couldn’t have anticipated the explosive interest Run The World would generate,” Qu said in a press release. “Now, as the world settles back to in-person events, we’re thrilled to join forces with EventMobi. We assure our community they are in the best hands and can expect even more powerful and seamless hybrid event solutions.”
For EventMobi, the purchase complements the company’s existing events hosting and planning services and products. Founded in 2010, EventMobi started as a mobile event app provider. But now, it offers a full suite of management tools, including registration and check-in, year-round communities, exhibitor lead capture and a set of engagement and networking tools for in-person and virtual conferences.