Our Investment in Banzai — Event Marketing Platform for B2B Companies

DNX Ventures
Mar 9, 2020 · 4 min read

By Mitch Kitamura, Managing Director at DNX Ventures

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Events have historically been the largest marketing spends for B2B companies, averaging 24% of the entire marketing budget. This is true even in a time of crisis and uncertainty like the one we are facing now. The popularity of event marketing remains high even as many event marketers are making the tough decision of whether or not to cancel their events. Major conferences started to go virtual and many B2B companies are still hosting smaller meetups and happy hours to engage with their business partners, clients, and potential customers. We are bullish in backing Banzai which helps event marketers find the right audience for their events, whether they be in-person or virtual.

Events are the largest marketing spend for B2B Companies

In 2018, event marketing spending in the United States reached 62.29 billion U.S. dollars, an increase from 57.7 billion dollars from the previous year. Gartner makes $400 million per year in events by selling sponsorships and promotions; assuming they have a 50% market share, the technology market alone is $800 million per year for event marketing spend. This doesn’t even include other large industries such as financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, construction, among others.

Events are extremely useful for B2B companies to build relationships with developers, channel partners, and system integrators in their ecosystems. As the number of SaaS companies grow, the need for event marketing grows. Therefore, an increasing number of B2B companies are using events as a way to engage mid-career professionals.

Biggest Challenge for Event Marketers: “Filling the Room”

There are many platforms to create a sexy event page that will grab eyeballs. The challenge, of course, is transforming these eyeballs into actual foot traffic to your events. Until fairly recently, email and phone calls have been the main channels used to reach potential event attendees. However, in recent years, other channels such as LinkedIn or Twitter Direct messages, targeted ads became widely available, most of which are thanks to API technology.

Managing this multi-channel event marketing process is daunting. Oftentimes, companies use internal resources such as Sales Development Representatives (SDRs) to help the process but there is a misalignment in their incentive structure. SDRs are compensated for meetings booked for sales leads but not for filling the seats at events the marketing team is hosting.

Banzai is the answer to this problem.

What is Banzai?

Banzai is an end-to-end event marketing platform for field marketers that leverages proprietary data to help them find the right audience for their events. They create an event page, define audience profile, manage reminders and confirmations, and integrate data with Marketo or Salesforce for attribution.

They currently have 100+ customers using their platform and the number is growing. Banzai’s event marketing automation solution has helped their customers generate over 30,000 event and conference registrations around the world. Most of these customers are B2B tech software companies including Microsoft, which hosts ~8,000 events annually, varying from user groups, forums, executive dinners to happy hours.

What is exciting about Banzai is their unique positioning as the market leader in the field of professional interest data that enables companies to target their audiences. The network effect Banzai can create is truly galvanizing. Our previous portfolio company, LiveRamp (NYSE: RAMP) also had success with a similar theme.

Joe Davy (Founder and CEO) is a highly talented technology executive and a product genius. He is also a former GM of small business sales at Avalara (AVLR (NYSE), a Seattle based tax compliance software company. Joe has worked closely with Avalara president and founder CEO, then went on to found his own company. Andy Linteau has been working with Joe at two other startups Joe was CEO at and has been bootstrapping the business with Joe since the inception of Banzai in 2017. They are proudly announcing the first institutional financing round with 100+ B2B Banzai customers under their belts.

Going forward

We are thrilled to lead the $7M Series A financing round for Banzai. With this round of financing, the company plans to double their headcount and expand product and service offerings in the Event Marketing Automation category. Find out more about the company on the official announcement here: Banzai Raises $7M Series A Funding Round to Simplify Event Marketing

Banzai is hiring at their HQ in Seattle, WA! — Join us.

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