The last time there was a startup acquisition in the Egyptian tech ecosystem, it was the transport-tech firm Tareeqi being taken over by an Omani IoT firm, eMushrif. As the country’s early-stage scene continually attracts investor interest, another company has completed a cross-border, passably high-profile sale.
Today, it’s Eventtus, an event management software startup whose reins are being taken over by Bevy, a California-based enterprise software startup. While the value of the deal is off the record, the deal marks an exit for Eventtus’s earlier investors, including 500 Startups.
Bevy assists businesses to build, grow, and scale global customer communities, with a platform that provides virtual, in-person, and hybrid digital-physical events. Headquartered in Dubai, Eventtus, on the other hand, sells different event management solutions to organizers.
Of all the industries heavily upturned by the pandemic, events were among the first on the coronavirus chopping block. Lockdowns, social distance, and the work-from-home lifestyle implied that hosting live events would be a lot harder than it already was. Stemming from efforts to keep the contagion under relative control, venues were shut down and large gatherings dwindled for safety.
As a ripple effect, the demand for virtual vents increased, and the concerned providers had to change their business models to survive the change of tide. They were not only pivoting but also working to meet new stockholders, investors, and even customers. This practice has now led to a new breed of event management startups focused on providing everything from in-person meetings to live streaming, webcasting, and virtual shows.
Eventtus was founded in 2013 by Mai Medhat and Nihal Fares. Built out of Cairo, the startup kicked off as an event management service for offline events. At the time, the company was basically helping organizers to engage with their audience through digital apps created solely to enable such. But when the global health crisis struck in 2020, Eventtus tweaked to become a virtual events platform.
The change in business model has seen the startup host conferences, workshops, summits, and expos online, offering tools that better how speakers engage with their audiences. In April last year, Eventtus raised an unspecified funding amount from Cairo-based Algebra Ventures, Saudi-based Hala Ventures, and Daal to fund its virtual ambitions.
According to an official statement, Eventtus did not sell to Palo Alto to raise money or bail itself out of a financial constraint. The company quietly started its fundraising history with a USD 175 K seed. Two undisclosed funding rounds later, Eventtus secured a Series A of USD 2 Mn, followed by an Algebra Ventures-led venture round of USD 450 K.
Speaking about why Eventtus decided to sell, Mai Medhat told MENAbytes it made a lot of sense to join forces with Bevy to compete on a much bigger scale. Answering our question, she also said that the decision had nothing to do with fundraising. By selling to Bevy, the startup looks to latch on the avenue to operate its events management platform on a scale previously beyond its reach.
To license Bevy to scale their communities and manage their virtual conferences, businesses pay USD 200 K to USD 1 Mn annually. To become the golden standard of a pandemic-impacted events management sector, the company enables enterprise brands to host huge events online and scale their global communities via a network of international, high-frequency events.
Bevy powers enterprise event communities for brands such as Google, Snowflake, Facebook, HubSpot, Adobe, Salesforce, Slack, Twitch, Atlassian, Zendesk, Twilio, and others. Last year, the company was a strategic advisor to 125 new and existing enterprise brands as they shifted from in-person communities to virtual and hybrid events.
Last March, Bevy landed a Series C of USD 40 Mn, valuing the American business at USD 325 Mn. The startup did that from an investor pool that included LinkedIn, Accel, Upfront Ventures, and others. Bevy’s last raise also brought in 25 Black leaders as investors.
Reportedly, the diversity of the investment round had a big hand in the startup’s valuation, which at current, is four times than it was a little over a year ago. To date, Bevy has secured a total of USD 60 Mn in venture funding.
The team credited with the existence of Startup Grind, which included Derek Andersen, Joel Fernandes, and Alex Bending, founded Bevy in 2017. In 2019, the startup bought over CMX, a community professional business that specializes in offering education, training, and networking opportunities. Interestingly, Startup Grind has been hosting events on Eventtus before now, for some years.
Like Eventtus, Bevy has a workforce that is completely remote. Its team is located in 10 different countries across 4 continents, which now includes Africa where it has freshly bought another company.
This year, Bevy plans to reach USD 30 Mn in accounting rate of return (ARR), which if realized, would mark a 15 percent jump from the same results in 2019. Eventtus’s founders and team members will port to Bevy but continue to operate remotely. Perhaps the Egyptian acquisition will enable to company reach its envisaged milestones.
In a statement to MENAbytes, Mai said, “I have known Bevy and Derek Andersen for a few years. Bevy has been using Eventtus for its global conferences for many years. It’s one of these stories when a customer turns to love the product, finds a fit and it turns into a successful acquisition. Bevy is focused on enabling businesses to build community and the acquisition allows for us to meet attendees where they are at and how they prefer to experience events.”
An unarguable proof of value has seen Egypt become one of the hottest destinations for venture capital investments in Africa. As startups from the country continually score larger funding rounds and usher in new crops of blue-chip VCs, it is consequential that some startups from that not-so-nascent tech ecosystem are landing acquisitions as well.
In mid-2019, Match Group—the USD 20 Bn parent company of Tinder, Match.com, Meetic, OkCupid, Hinge, PlentyOfFish, Ship, and OurTime among other global online dating services—bought Egypt’s Harmonica for an undisclosed sum to reach the the dating market of the Muslim majority.
Featured Image: PCM.org