EventGeek was a Y Combinator-backed startup that offered tools to help large enterprises manage the logistics of their events. So with the COVID-19 pandemic essentially eliminating large-scale conferences, at least in-person, it’s not exactly surprising that the company had to reinvent itself.
Today, EventGeek relaunched as Circa, with a new focus on virtual events. Founder and CEO Alex Patriquin said that Circa is reusing some pieces of EventGeek’s existing technology, but he estimated that 80% of the platform is new.
While the relaunch only just became official, the startup says its software has already been used to adapt 40,000 in-person events into virtual conferences and webinars.
The immediate challenge, Patriquin said, is simply figuring out how to throw a virtual event — something for which Circa offers a playbook. But the startup’s goals go beyond virtual event logistics.
“Our new focus is really more at the senior marketing stakeholder level, helping them have a unified view of the customer,” Patriquin said.
He explained that “events have always been kind of disconnected from the marketing stack,” so the shift to virtual presents an opportunity to treat event participation as part of the larger customer journey, and to include events in the broader customer record. To that end, Circa integrates with sales and marketing systems like Salesforce and Marketo, as well as with video conferencing platforms like Zoom and On24.
“We don’t actually deliver [the conference] experience,” Patriquin said. “We put it into that context of the customer journey.”
Liz Kokoska, senior director of demand generation for North America at Circa customer Okta, made a similar point.
“Prior to Circa, we had to manage our physical and virtual events in separate systems, even though we thought of them as parts of the same marketing channel,” Kokoska said in a statement. “With Circa, we now have a single view of all our events in one place — this is helpful in planning and company-wide visibility on marketing activity. Being able to seamlessly adapt to the new world of virtual and hybrid events has given our team a significant advantage.”
And as Patriquin looks ahead to a world where large conferences are possible again, he predicted that there’s still “a really big opportunity for the events industry and for Circa.”
“As in-person events start to come back, there’s going to be a phase where health and safety are going to be paramount,” he continued. “After that health and safety phase, it’s going to be the age of hybrid events — where everything is virtual right now, hybrid will provide the opportunity to bring key [virtual] learnings back into the in-person world, to have a lot more data and intelligence and really be able to personalize an attendee’s experience.”