We launched The Vendry in the spring of 2019 for one simple reason: we love live events but we couldn't understand why they were so hard to produce.
That year, the corporate events market alone was valued at $211B and growing quickly. And yet, we knew the people producing those events lacked the digital tools so many other industries took for granted, especially tools that helped them efficiently source the venues and vendors they needed to make their event visions come to life.
Two of us on the founding team felt this pain deeply. I had run partnerships at enterprise software company Yext for seven years, frequently partnering with the events team on everything from trade shows to private dining experiences. Carter Blatt, our CMO, was an executive at a global events agency who had helped brands like MLB, Verizon, and Audi activate all over the world. We spent too many hours going down Google search rabbit holes and frantically texting friends to find what we needed.
The only event marketplaces we came across were for brides and grooms, but corporate planners have a totally different set of requirements -- think a private dining room near the convention center versus a chic upstate barn -- that make sites like The Knot unusable. There is a huge gap between the resources available to wedding planners versus those built for corporate planners, despite the fact that the corporate event industry is 4x bigger than the wedding market.
There’s zero question the pandemic has had devastating consequences for the events industry and the professionals within it. But when I read the list above I see the positive potential aftereffects shine through, from leveraging virtual channels to engage with attendees around the world to awarding business to diverse suppliers and making events more inclusive from every angle.
From the moment we launched The Vendry, we’ve paired a deep belief in the power of events to bring people together with the mission of building the next great b2b marketplace. Out of the pandemic blossomed an unexpected but indispensable component of our platform: a thriving professional community of planners and suppliers that connect via The Vendry not just to transact but to exchange resources, ideas, and support one another through the pandemic and beyond.
We started off as a simple portfolio site where event vendors could showcase photos of their work to potential clients and tag their fellow collaborators to give credit where it was due.
Less than a year later, Covid-19 hit. To support the professionals on our platform, we built a suite of community features aimed at helping them connect with one another. Within days of launch, we had thousands of planners, venues, vendors, freelancers, and everyone in between gathering virtually on The Vendry.
As the first groups got their vaccination shots and we began imagining a world in which we could gather in person again, we launched our RFP tool to help connect the planners and suppliers in our growing community with greater efficiency and ease.
Two years and one global pandemic later, we count over 18,000 event professionals as members of our community and our marketplace has powered over $10M of RFP demand. But this is just the beginning.
Now, as vaccination rates increase, borders open up, offices welcome employees back, and events bring people together in-person once again, we are thrilled to share that we’ve raised $6.5M in a round led by Peter Boyce of Stellation Capital.
Founder Collective, Primary Ventures, WGI Group, Leadout Capital, Operator Partners, Brilliant Friends, Howard Lerman, Brian Distelburger, Jason Harinstein, Geoff Yang, and Ed Zimmerman are among the many others who participated.
It's an immense honor to partner with Peter and our other investors in our shared belief that live events should, can, and will return in a big way over the coming years. While most of our new capital partners are first and foremost tech investors and entrepreneurs, many of them wear secondary hats in the events space. Peter is on the board of Hudson Yard's venue The Shed, Mike Walrath and the team at WGI are partners at Montauk venue The Surf Lodge, Zach Weinberg of Operator Partners is an owner of new Brooklyn event venue 74Wythe, and the list goes on. Their expertise in both domains is invaluable to our team -- and our users -- as we grow.
So what drives us? A will to help this industry get back on its feet, for live events to safely return, and event professionals to get back to doing the job they love. A belief that live events are important facilitators of empathy and human connection, positive contributors to our mental health, and economics drivers for the small business venues and vendors we’ve gotten to know and love over the past couple years.
Our team is just getting started. Our product roadmap is jam packed with new features we’re excited to unveil over the coming months. We’re always on the lookout for great people to add to our growing team, so please check out our open positions or send us an email!
Most importantly -- thank you to the members of our community, especially the event professionals who supported our mission when it was just an idea that needed their buy-in to get off the ground and grow. We humbly hope that we can continue to play a meaningful role in your professional lives, and that you’ll continue to help guide us in the right direction so we can be of service to you. Thank you for your ongoing trust and commitment, we would not be here without you.
Daphne + Team Vendry
You can read the full press release here.