Virtual event platforms helped small businesses stabilize through Covid, cut down costs, says expert

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July 07, 2021 3:53 PM

Technology for MSMEs: Airmeet dubbed as Zoom’s alternative in India also competes with other similar apps such as Google Meet, JioMeet, Microsoft Teams, VConSol, Cisco, Webex Meetings, etc.

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Technology for MSMEs: The virtual meet-up and event platforms have helped small businesses stabilize and cruise through the pandemic’s limitations without worrying about business disruption and also understand the future of remote work by bringing people together across geographies, Lalit Mangal, Co-founder and CEO of Sequoia-backed Airmeet told Financial Express Online. The platform dubbed as Zoom’s alternative in India also competes with other similar apps such as Google Meet, JioMeet, Microsoft Teams, VConSol, Cisco, Webex Meetings, etc. Mangal had last co-founded the prominent real estate portal CommonFloor that was acquired by Quikr in 2016 for $200 million.

Despite having numerous video conferencing products in the market, small businesses and startups had faced difficulties in bringing employees together to achieve their mission and vision in the post-pandemic world. Communication had, in fact, become unidirectional in a remote environment. As a response to the existing situation and to remain on top of planning and strategy development, businesses were required to adapt to the new environment to yield growth. This made entrepreneurs and their employees lose momentum and interest as it became difficult to connect with employees and establish a work culture remotely. Besides these, employees were hoarded with armies of meetings, making them lose productive hours.

The pandemic also brought in a lot of limitations in business expansion strategies. While hosting events on video conferencing platforms became a norm, however, “It did not produce meaningful results. Since events in these platforms are not engaging and did not give space for networking, it affected the rate of growth of young businesses. Moreover, customer retention and expansion became a problem,” said Mangal.

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As small businesses earlier incurred huge financial investments and organizational logistics for running an entire office, operating remotely through virtual events platforms could cut down the cost of office spaces, maintenance, and staffing. Consequently, it led to the growth of platforms such as Airmeet as well. In the past 1.5 years, Mangal said Airmeet grew to over a 300-member team and more than 2,400 customers including Nasscom, Walmart, Infosys, Accenture, Microsoft for Startups, University of Toronto, Chargebee, Florida International University, etc.

Airmeet can concurrently host up to 1 lakh attendees on its platform. “We cater to a global audience since the logistics, efforts, and resources that went behind the live events were tremendous and all these constraints were restricting the scope of knowledge sharing across the globe. We have seen constant growth during the lockdown when compared to pre-Covid times,” added Mangal. The platform claimed it last month hosted the world’s largest remote work summit with the participation of over 800 people from more than 35 countries. The global video conferencing market is likely to scale up from $9.2 billion in 2021 to $22.5 billion by 2026, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 19.7 per cent, as per MarketsandMarkets, as Covid has triggered a transition toward remote working among the workforce.

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