Just one month after Qu launched Run The World, an online venue for professional events, live events shut down worldwide due to the pandemic. Since then, Run The World has grown from five employees to 45 and hosted 10,000 virtual events for clients.
A new spate of startups is building video communication and virtual event software for the coronavirus era. Backed by venture capital funding and undeterred by Zoom’s dominance, leaders of these nascent firms say they offer more-effective ways to meet new people, host events and communicate with colleagues—tools that will outlast Covid-19.
Qu credits her team’s deliberate approach to iteration, which is designed to prevent knee-jerk reactions to customer feedback. “Customer needs change all the time,” she says. “Instead of just listening to customer requests, ask them, ‘Why do you want what you want?’” – Cameron Albert-Deitch
Will Smith and Kevin Hart are our investors, so they help us shape our influencer strategy as well,” Qu said. ”(They) are masterminds in the entertainment world, so that can really help us tackle the entertainment piece.”
For some longtime Silicon Valley investors, like Founders Fund's Keith Rabois, the startup seemed promising enough to entice them to commit funding to Run The World without a face-to-face meeting with the founders. It was a step that Rabois had never imagined himself taking.
While Zoom, YouTube and Twitch provide a platform for companies to broadcast talks live, they don’t offer the same networking experiences afforded by in-person conferences. Run The World says this is addressed by features like “Cocktail Party,” which matches attendees for several minutes at a time to simulate the experience of a face-to-face networking event.
One of the platform’s most popular features is Cocktail Party, a socializing feature in which attendees create eight to 10 meaningful relationships in the span of one hour.
It’s easy to understand the firms’ interest in the company, whose platform features every functionality that a conference organizer might need in a time of a pandemic and even afterward, given that many outfits are rethinking more permanently how to produce events that include far-flung participants.
Since its launch three months ago, Run The World said that it has seen attendees from more than 40 countries use its platform, with more than 2,400 events created to date.
The main benefit for these conferences is that happy hour or the random conversation you have with the person sitting next to you," said Connie Chan, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz focusing on consumer technology and who led the venture capital firm's investment in online events platform Run The World.
As the coronavirus goes global, companies that once expected employees to endure punishing commutes and jet around the world are telling workers to stay home.
Chan has invested in remote conference platform Run The World, which allows organisers to collect data on how participants are engaging with the content.
Like a hybrid of Zoom video, Eventbrite ticketing, Twitch interactivity, and LinkedIn networking, Run The World brings like-minded people together with live online events.
Run the World came out of stealth this month and has backing from Andreessen Horowitz. Connie Chan, the general partner who led the investment.
Insider asked 11 venture capitalists from firms including The Chernin Group, Redpoint Ventures, and CRV, which media startups they thought would surge this year as the economy recovers from the pandemic and investors try to assess its long-term effects.
Timing is everything in business, but when entrepreneurs Xiaoyin Qu and Xuan Jiang launched their virtual-events platform Run the World in February 2020, they could not have known how perfectly timed it was. The platform’s signature product, Cocktail Party, offers the virtual equivalent of the very thing that workers around the country would soon be craving—a simple drink and networking opportunity with colleagues.
My mother is a doctor. She lives in China and specializes in meningitis. In late 2018, she traveled to a conference in Chicago. By pure chance, she met a physician there who lived in Dubai. The connection they made enabled them to exchange information and insight, and to develop a shared social knowledge base. Had they not met that day in Chicago, it's likely they never would have met at all.
They met because the conference in Chicago brought them together around a shared interest.
That's why I founded Run The World: to make it as easy as possible for like-minded communities to get together around the topics that matter to them.