Trade shows and conferences can be powerful lead-generation tools for companies to build brand awareness, nurture prospects, and advance client relationships. However, with a sea of options for various events, navigating which specific events to invest scarce marketing dollars in is often a difficult and sometimes blind decision. Vendelux is an AI-powered events intelligence platform that allows companies and their marketing teams to take a data-driven approach to determine which events are most suited for investment, whether to organize, sponsor, or attend. The company has built a dataset of 65M data points from 160K+ B2B events with attendee profiles that drive an increase in booked meetings at events with qualified leads. With deep integrations with popular CRM systems, attribution for marketing at events and determining ROI for the sales funnel developed at events is now seamless with Vendelux.
AlleyWatch caught up with Vendelux Cofounder and CEO Alex Reynolds and Cofounder and COO Stefan Deeran to learn more about the business, the company’s strategic plans, latest round of funding, which brings the company’s total funding raised to $17.1M, and much, much more…
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
We raised a $14M Series A led by FirstMark Capital with participation from Cervin Ventures, the founders of ShopTalk, Money20/20 (Jonathan Weiner), Manifest, Blueprint (Jay Weintraub), and SaaStock (Alex Theuma).
Tell us about the product or service that Vendelux offers.
Powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and predictive modeling, Vendelux’s platform enables event marketers and CMOs to analyze customer and competitor behavior, make informed decisions about which events to attend or sponsor, and ultimately, close more customers to increase ROI.
What inspired the start of Vendelux?
Year after year, we saw firsthand the challenges of evaluating events and deciding which were worthwhile to attend or invest in. We knew events were the most important piece of the marketing and sales funnel, but it wasn’t always clear which events delivered the greatest return on dollars spent. We built Vendelux to solve those very challenges.
How is Vendelux different?
With 65 million data points from over 160,000 global events, and deep CRM integrations with HubSpot and Salesforce, Vendelux’s AI-powered data-driven solution delivers an industry first: quantifiable business impact of in-person events, tradeshows, and conferences worldwide.
What market does Vendelux target and how big is it?
Our goal is to be the source for all events. We work with companies of all sizes and while marketers are the primary users today, our platform provides useful insights to teams across the organization. With this funding, Vendelux will expand its geographical footprint from North America across EMEA and build intelligence solutions for conference organizers.
What’s your business model?
Vendelux is based on a membership offering that includes three plans depending on the needs of our customers. We also offer a free membership for those who are just getting started.
How are you preparing for a potential economic slowdown?
We cannot control the markets and there is always a potential economic slowdown just around the corner. The most resilient and sticky products help customers increase revenue, decrease costs, or decrease risk. As Vendelux supports all three, we are confident of our positioning in the market.
What was the funding process like?
It took about two months to complete this raise, from the initial kick-off to receiving money in the bank. It was fast, and we were very fortunate, but that timeline misrepresents the true amount of time, energy, and focus required to find the right partners and secure the right terms.
To provide more context, 10-20% of qualified opportunities are closing in a successful sales funnel. With funding, a 1-2% close rate is considered wildly successful. Psychologically, it can be tough.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
With few tech players in the event space achieving “venture scale” wins, many investors are hesitant. And this only increased after some VCs were burned after investing in virtual event platforms only to watch them struggle with enough growth to back up their valuations. So in some ways, we faced an uphill battle in early conversations that pushed us to show how different Vendelux is and the opportunity we have with a much higher ceiling.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
As our lead investor, FirstMark Capital’s Founder and Partner Amish Jani said, “The Vendelux team is defining a new category in event intelligence. Their customers’ success with the product demonstrates what is possible when you introduce robust data infrastructure to a critical customer acquisition channel for the first time. We were blown away by feedback received from both global enterprise customers and rapidly growing mid-market companies alike. Vendelux is accelerating at the exact right moment, seizing the best of artificial intelligence’s capabilities to deliver data-driven insights that don’t exist anywhere else.”
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We have a few product modules launching in the next six months to help our customers project and then measure event ROI based on revenue information in their CRM systems. We are excited about this because customers are jumping through a ton of hoops to approximate this today, and these updates will take a lot of the heavy lifting off of their plate.
In terms of metrics, we want to stay on our current trajectory of tripling ARR YoY while continuing to grow net revenue retention and NPS.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
The only way that a company dies is if they run out of money. Being profitable and raising capital are the only two options to avoid running out of money. Which path to take depends on several factors, such as burn, runway, ARR, ARR growth, growth potential with additional capital, etc. I would encourage every company to plan out both scenarios and understand what is possible.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
In addition to our geographical expansion and continued product development to meet the growing demands of our customers and prospects, we’re planning to more than double the Vendelux team by the end of 2024 including building out a London-based team.
What’s your favorite fall destination in and around the city?
Hiking in the Catskills with friends and family is the best when you need some time away from the city. If I’m in the city, you can never go wrong exploring restaurants and rooftops (weather permitting). Last week, I was fortunate enough to go to a founder event at Torrisi, which was incredible!