Meeting and event planning platform Bizzabo has raised $138m (£102m/€114m) in a Series E round of financing, making it the largest private investment in an event technology platform.

The round, which was led by Insight Partners with participation from previous investors Viola Growth, Next47 and OurCrowd, brings the company’s total funding raised to $194m since it was founded as an event app in 2012.

Bizzabo’s event success platform is used to support hybrid, virtual, and in-person professional events for enterprise and mid-market organisations across industries and verticals. It allows organisations to manage, measure, and grow professional events across the globe and in any format.

With the lack of live events in 2020 due to COVID-19, organisations have turned to virtual formats for conferences and trade shows. However, even as live events return, organisations may continue to harness the digital format in combination with in-person experiences due to its ability to reach a wide audience and deliver valuable data points.

Eran Ben-Shushan, chief executive and co-founder of Bizzabo, said: “The future of professional events isn’t virtual-only. Our data shows very clearly that while virtual events have major benefits, attendees and businesses want to get back to live events. To stay relevant, marketers and event organizers will need to implement a hybrid strategy that blends together the best parts of virtual and in-person experiences.”

Bizzabo, which has more than 175 employees in its New York, Tel Aviv and Kyiv offices, plans to use the funding to invest in its platform and capabilities, and intends to hire more than 100 new employees globally during the first half of 2021. It also plans to open two new offices in Europe to expand its market operations and triple its engineering, product and experience teams.

Matt Gatto, a managing director at Insight Partners, who will join the Bizzabo board of directors, added: “COVID-19 has permanently transformed the professional events category,” said “Bizzabo’s impressive growth and momentum began pre-pandemic and accelerated during it as they launched the industry’s first end-to-end event technology solution. Their pedigree in both in-person and virtual events and their impressive execution capabilities have them well-positioned to lead this rapidly evolving space. We are excited to partner with their leadership team and to support them in this new phase of growth.”

The company began to expand its services in 2015 and now offers planning for in-person, hybrid and virtual events, charging an annual fee to use its software-as-a-service platform and a per-registration fee. More than 80 percent of its customers are corporate enterprises.

Ben-Shushan said: “Our platform has seen unprecedented demand this year. Compared to the year prior, the number of events organised through us has grown 65 percent. Additionally, the number of attendees registering for events with Bizzabo has grown over 500 percent, while overall usage is up 150 times.

“With a vaccine likely and more hybrid events in the future, we anticipate even greater growth. Bizzabo has been the category leader, experiencing hyper-growth both pre-pandemic and during the virtual transition, we are excited to continue to lead the market forward by doubling down on product, technology, and user experience, to help organisations unlock the power of hybrid experiences.”

Image: Bizzabo