This Homegrown Virtual Event Platform Can Concurrently Host Upto 100,000 Participants
Bengaluru-based Airmeet in September raised $12 million in Series A round led by Sequoia Capital and Redpoint Ventures
Video conferences and webinars have managed to pave its way in most of our lives today. With the virus still at large, it is difficult to find a day where we go to bed without interacting with people through these video conferencing or video calling software, as they are the only safe nexus between us and the outdoor world. From meeting with friends and families to closing a big client for your company, or even getting married to organizing a large-scale crucial event, these video conferencing software have got you covered.
While we Indians have an inclination towards western brands like Zoom, Microsoft Team, Google Meet, an Indian company Airmeet has been making its presence felt in this country and abroad.
In an interaction with Entrepreneur India, Lalit Mangal, chief operating officer (CEO) and co-founder, talks about the genesis of the software and how it excelled during the lockdown.
"Wanted to bring communities together'
Airmeet was founded in 2019 by IIT alumni and ex-CommonFloor executives Mangal, Manoj Kumar Singh and Vinay Kumar Jasti, much before the pandemic gripped the world. Mangal said that all the three founders agreed that their new venture will be a remote company and wanted to understand the hurdles faced by other remote companies. While doing so they could not find any meetings or interaction for remote working employees in the country. This is when the founders discovered that in India, if a person is pursuing a niche interest then it gets difficult for them to connect to a particular community.
"There was no conference based on remote working in India. A lot of things were happening outside of India and we were left out. We wanted to go and interact with the remote working community. But you know, those conferences are not happening in India. We thought, why can't remote conferences happen remotely?" Mangal asked.
Further explaining Mangal said if someone has interests in quantum computing in Bangalore, it's difficult to get international speakers and organize a conference as the city lacks critical masses for the topic.
He said that one's location should not restrict him from connecting with his community and support in free flow of ideas.
"Your location in the world should not determine whether you are at an advantage or disadvantage and you should have a level playing field in terms of discovering opportunity," he said.
To bring various communities together and provide better workplace solutions for the future, Mangal along with his other co-founder launched Airmeet.
"We wanted to build a new format for the remote world," he added.
What is Airmeet?
Airmeet is an indigenous online platform for community managers to host interactive virtual events. With Airmeet one can host upto 100,000 users which is far higher than any popular video conferencing apps. The software allows users to conduct meetings, events, conferences, company townhalls, stand-up meetings, job fairs, classes, convocation and more from their homes.
Community managers through Airmeet can host immersive interactive sessions with a large group of people by creating collaborative virtual tables that can be joined by participants at any given time to interact with each other. The software lets attendees browse through multiple tables,switch from one table to another and interact with the speaker both publicly and privately.
A user can simply join an Airmeet conference with the help of a modern browser and doesn't have to download any software.
The startup in September bagged $12 million in Series A round led by Sequoia Capital India and Silicon Valley-based VC firm Redpoint Ventures.
"Our users are also happy Zoom customers'
On being asked how Airmeet is different from others, Mangal said that they are not competing against Zoom or Microsoft teams and they are used in a different use case and have a different market.
"Our user is a happy Zoom customer," he said. Elaborating further he said that users are happy with Zoom for internal meetings or small format events. However, Mangal said that whenever users are looking for a high-level virtual event for instance a hackathon, conference or an award ceremony, and have a "fantastic' experience they come to a dedicated solution for event i.e., Airmeet.
Mangal stressed that a person will meet new people, network and build new connections on an Airmeet event.
With such a large audience, privacy is a concern. However, Mangal said that the organizers are in complete control of the event and nobody can enter without the approval of the organizers. The links to join the event are shared by the organizers, thus leaving no room for strangers to join. It allows guest authentication and chat moderation to ensure spam-free discussions.
COVID-19 and Future Plans
Mangal said that implementation of lockdown has helped them to see a rise in number. Initially Airmeet used to register 50,000 video minutes per month which has now risen up to 20 million video minutes per month.
However, he noted that apart from lockdown, the effectiveness of the virtual event format helped people come up with newer events. He said more digital events are being conceptualized and organized which never existed physically earlier.
"Now people are utilizing the potential of the virtual format to build together a global community for their idea or niche interests they are passionate about," he added.
Airmeet was in beta in the first half of the lockdown. However, once they launched the public beta, the company has been witnessing a 50 per cent in terms of number of events on a monthly basis.
The company has customers in 60 countries with 10,000 communities participating and organizes close to 3000 events every month. However the startup aims to see 30,000 events being organized on its platform every month. It also wants to push its customer base to 100 countries from the existing 60 countries.