Business News

MeetingPlay Raises $75 Million in Contrarian Strategy to Stay Invisible to Event Attendees

Skift Take

Event technology company MeetingPlay raised $75 million from growth-oriented private equity firm Sunstone Partners. The investment is being used to support a white-label approach that essentially makes MeetingPlay invisible to attendees.

This investment is one of the largest in event tech in recent times, so we took the opportunity to discuss MeetingPlay’s plans in an interview with Co-CEO and Founder Joe Schwinger.

“Even with unprecedented YOY growth, we’re just getting started,” said Schwinger. The mood at MeetingPlay is understandably great and Schwinger is quick to focus on the benefit to the customers. The funds will be used to help MeetingPlay’s customers “deliver even more exciting, on-brand and transformative events.”

MeetingPlay delivers fully branded experiences for its clients where the technology providers are not in focus at all. This discreet white-labeled offering is contrary to platforms such as Hopin that appear to be investing in becoming the Facebooks of events. In MeetingPlay’s approach, attendee profiles don’t carry over from different events put on by different clients. For Schwinger this is a big advantage as it makes each event environment unique, something that the company’s impressive list of corporate clients value.

MeetingPlay’s white-labeled integration with clients has also been known to surprise even the most tech-savvy event professionals. After attending Slack’s Frontiers EventMB founder Julius Solaris tweeted about how impressed he was and that Slack should offer its platform to other users. To Julius’ surprise, the Slack team responded by clarifying that it was in fact using MeetingPlay.

The white labeling approach does not stop MeetingPlay from collecting anonymized data to improve the platform continuously. The company works closely with clients to securely feed them event data directly. However, with each event typically generating 2 million data points, Schwinger is keen to point out that MeetingPlay often consults with clients on how to work with these large amounts of data.

According to Schwinger, MeetingPlay was able to take a step back and find the right investors before committing. He feels that Sunstone Partners are a great match because of their desire to play an active role in the company, something that Schwinger welcomes. “We knew early on that Sunstone shared our vision, stressing their desire to preserve our unique culture and a strong emphasis on exceptional customer service.”

Although the transaction terms were not disclosed, this investment is only surpassed in recent times by those made in Hopin and Bizzabo. Sunstone’s growth-focused approach means that MeetingPlay matched its demanding investment criteria. Interestingly this is Sunstone’s only investment to date in event tech, with IT and Healthcare being its sectors of preference.

The announcement comes as planners assess the feasibility and scope of hybrid events. Schwinger sees plenty of opportunities in hybrid events and highlights MeetingPlay’s nine years of “on property” experience. Schwinger is aware that each event tech company has a different view on hybrid events, depending on their current booking pattern. He is clear that Meeting Play doesn’t want to just “check the box” when it comes to hybrid.

MeetingPlay’s focus is to accelerate product development to increase the scale that MeetingPlay can deliver hybrid and virtual events. “MeetingPlay moves into the markets that our customers ask us to. We can do that on our own, but slowly. Customers want more from MeetingPlay, and so with this investment, we can move faster and have more resources for our employees”, said Schwinger.