Since the personal conferences were closed by the pandemic for almost a year, many organizers try to always be one step ahead of the “zoom fatigue” of the participants. It’s not easy as many people’s calendars are filled with video conferencing, webinars, and virtual happy hours – let alone socializing after work.
Gatherly, an online event platform launched last summer at Georgia Tech’s CREATE-X Startup Accelerator, aims to provide conference attendees with an experience that will keep them coming back time and time again.
Allows users to “walk” on the floor of a virtual venue.
The platform differs from much of the video conferencing software that spread during the pandemic in that people can virtually “walk around” on the floor of an event in a virtual building and chat individually if they want. This allows organizers to offer a network component that is more like real life than many virtual events.
“Our capabilities are based on connecting more people,” said Chris Cherian, Gatherly Founder and CEO.
Customers such as Capgemini, General Electric, Georgia Tech and Rice University are already using the platform for meetings. According to Cheryan, thousands of events have taken place on the platform and “hundreds” of customers have paid to use it since it was launched. Subscriptions cost anywhere from $ 150 to $ 499 per month, depending on the plan. Customers can also use Gatherly once for $ 20 to $ 50 per ticket.
Chris Cherian, Co-Founder and CEO of Gatherly. The startup was started at George Tech’s CREATE-X … [+]
As a rule, the students work together on the accelerator on site. The pandemic changed that for all members, and the eight students behind Gatherly never had a chance to meet in person before it started. Nevertheless, they managed to move from their original idea of developing a body scan product for gyms to the event platform and bring their product to market quickly.
Now Gatherly faces stiff competition. Many companies that have switched to virtual meetings are already using Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, and other major platforms. In the meantime, various startups are introducing virtual reality and augmented reality platforms for meetings. Gatherly doesn’t have a huge budget to fend them off. At the time of our conversation in December, the company had only spent $ 4,000 on advertising.
To make sure their product is as user-friendly as possible, the founders of Gatherly pay close attention to how attendees use the platform, noting metrics of how often they spoke during an event. “The thing that makes what we do is that you don’t interact with everyone at the same time,” says Cherian.
According to Raghupathy Sivakumar, founding director of the CREATE-X Startup Accelerator, the program has spawned 230 companies with 5,000 students in six years. Last summer, 72 were launched, including Gatherly, up from 46 last year. One factor in 2020 was students whose internships were canceled flocked to the accelerator.
Gatherly was one of the first startups in this year’s cohort to hit the market. “I think they have made the most progress in the shortest time,” says Sivakumar.
After seeing how startups in the Accelerator developed under the challenging conditions of 2020, Sivakumar has set himself an ambitious goal for 2021. “We want to set up 300 companies a year,” he says.
Now that it is clear that the accelerator pedal can be operated virtually, why not?