Virventi virtual event platform raises the human element
Zoom fatigue is a thing—frankly, fatigue about talking about Zoom fatigue is a thing.
A pair of married entrepreneurs heading event-oriented businesses is trying to fix that with a new online meeting and membership platform that they hope will take on Zoom, Microsoft Teams and the other big videoconferencing players.
Nicci Sprouse-Grosso and Derek Grosso call themselves “connectors at our core.” Sprouse-Grosso is founder of A-List Introductions, a matchmaking firm for the career-conscious, and social platform Second Date Social.
Grosso is founder and CEO of the Columbus Young Professionals Club and the Columbus Impact Academy, and also runs Grosso Group, which advises young professional initiatives around the country.
When the pandemic began, Derek and Nicci began to pivot their businesses to virtual events—and they were struck by the gaps they saw in that market left by the prevailing online meeting behemoths.
“While they’re accessible, the focus just isn’t on allowing the user to have a human connection,” says Sprouse-Grosso. “We saw a need with our businesses for virtual events that offered more focus on user engagements that would allow us to replicate the in-person experience.”
“You also want to have a relationship with the people as you’re moving things forward. And we saw there are zero analytics for most platforms on who’s signing in, who our members are, where they coming from,” Grosso says.
The pair brainstormed and hired Columbus-based Qstart Labs to start building a better platform last summer. Virventi, the result, they say is all that and more.
Virventi lets corporations and groups create, host, promote and track online events and membership databases.
Virventi users can host a concert, conduct a workshop with easy breakout rooms, or offer onboarding sessions. Target users might be book clubs, nonprofit organizations, even speed dating services.
Users also can manage membership databases, ticket and membership payments, membership communications and event marketing.
Built-in analytics help understand how you’re doing engagement-wise; it’s a one-stop platform, Grosso says, that can do the things that Zoom, MailChimp and EventBrite do in one package.
Sprouse-Grosso emphasizes the more interactive, more intimate social experience Virventi provides.
“It’s about the social human element you don’t get in a giant Zoom or Teams room with 60 people all in a room," she says. "It’s all about creating the small group conversations where the real networking happens.”
Virventi launched into sales mode Jan. 1 after a few months of beta testing. Sprouse-Grosso says the company is in talks with investors.
“According to Fortune’s Business Insights report, the global videoconferencing market was a $5.32 billion market, and projected to be $10.92 billion by 2027, and these are pre-pandemic numbers,” Grosso says.
Cynthia Bent Findlay is a freelance writer.
175 S. Third St., Suite 200, Columbus, Ohio 43215
Founders: Nicci Sprouse-Grosso and Derek Grosso
Business: Events and membership videoconferencing platform
Employees: Six full-time
Launch date: January 2021
Investment to date: $200,000, self-funded