Virtual events were growing in popularity long before the global pandemic. But now, more businesses and event marketers are seeing the need to keep moving forward in a world gone remote. Platforms like Canapii are making it happen. Canapii designed its platform to overcome some of the main challenges of hosting virtual events. From collecting signups to monetising the event to keeping attendees engaged, there’s a lot that could derail a virtual event from reaching its full potential. Navigating this new format doesn’t come naturally, but Canapii aims to make it easier and more impactful for its users.
We recently connected with Canapii co-founder Rita Chaher to learn more about its all-inclusive event management platform and technology’s role in bringing people together.
What exactly is Canapii and how is it changing virtual events for good?
We designed Canapii to be an online event management platform that includes everything you need to execute an event online to a similar effect as an in-person event. We built features to facilitate networking, ticketing, and even one-on-one meetings so that events could be more like in-person events, like people are used to. The networking aspect was a big one for us to tackle, since many people find it hard to “network” online in a way that’s authentic and personal.
Our goal in creating Canapii was to become the “canopy” under which great events can take place. So many events have been cancelled in the past year, and organisations need a way to keep business going. We’re happy that we can offer them a different path, and in many ways, a better one since they can reach more people across borders.
Canapii is a newcomer in the event technology space. What’s your story?
Canapii is the product of four Co-Founders: Steve Brazier, Eleanor Martin, Gemma Edwards, and Rita Chaher. Also on staff is a full product development team. What’s interesting is that Canapii didn’t start as Canapii. It was actually an internal solution developed at IT analyst firm Canalys to host its three big global events each year. But the software proved to be so popular that we had other organisations asking us for it. So, naturally, we delivered.
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When COVID hit, it was a no-brainer to expand even more. The pandemic completely reshaped the event industry inside and out. We saw this huge need in the market, especially in terms of networking and engagement, and other platforms out there just fell short. The rest is Canapii history.
What problems does Canapii address in the event industry?
We’ve always considered ourselves a tech-forward company and we see that events are moving more and more toward technology, too. In fact, you might even argue that event success hinges on the technology it uses. Organisers are using tech tools to gauge attendance, marketing reach and response, engagement, sales spurred from the event, brand impressions, and so much more.
Canapii supports all of these things, plus we make it easy for organisers to scale their events. So for example, if you want to take a local fundraiser and extend it to other cities, states, or even countries, you can do it with Canapii with the same effort it takes to bring it to a local audience.
Something else we decided to do with Canapii was to make it inclusive. Too often, you see event organisers using one system for ticketing, one for email marketing, and one for content delivery, for example. We wanted to create a tool that was integrated and seamless and give users a single, holistic experience.
Some of our specific benefits include:
- Cost effective solution compared to using multiple systems and tools
- Scalable to reach a wider audience
- Eco-friendly event model since all activities are virtual
- Flexible to accommodate multiple event styles and content
- Data collection for attendance, engagement, and feedback
There are a lot of advantages of virtual events that we’re emphasising with Canapii that you just can’t get with in-person events, especially when it comes to data. We believe that once people experience this new approach to virtual events, it will become a core piece of their marketing.
How has the global pandemic affected the event industry in the last year as a whole?
At first, people panicked over the event industry. Everything was being cancelled, no doubt. But once the dust had time to settle, people started looking at ways to shift to a virtual format. Suddenly, virtual event tools became a must rather than something that was just nice to have. We predict that as restrictions are eased, events will more often than not take a hybrid approach.
We also see a lot of new opportunities being unlocked for businesses. Those that maybe didn’t have the means to host events can now do so with the low cost and ease of Canapii. More people are becoming familiar with the virtual format and may therefore be likely to engage.
What are some of the challenges Canapii might face in the coming years?
Remote technology is heavily saturated, and we knew this when we first started. However, we hold an advantage as an all-inclusive platform that truly simplifies end-to-end event management.
Many tech companies wrestle with getting people to understand what they do and see the value in it. These are challenges that we face much less than other tech companies. Our main focus is on getting people to see why we’re so much more than just another event management tool. We offer community, support, and tons of other benefits that event organisers will have to see to understand just how valuable they are.
What does the future look like for Canapii?
We believe we have something special and will become something to event organisers like Zoom and Slack are to the modern workplace. We’re already making our name well-known in the event space and we plan on building on this reputation in the coming years.
Most importantly to note is that moving forward, any innovations to Canapii will be driven by our users. We listen to their feedback and requests on how we can make the platform better for them, and we consider it our duty to make it user-friendly in every sense of the word.
How can event organisers start using Canapii to manage virtual events?
Canapii is live now and offers multiple pricing tiers to meet every event’s needs. If you’ve attended a digital event recently, chances are you might have “tasted” Canapii’s technology and not even realised it. Interested parties can request a free demo to see of Canapii’s top features and experience its value firsthand.