Building a virtual support network for entrepreneurs
Virgin StartUp is a nonprofit organization founded in 2013 to help entrepreneurs build better businesses. Through advice and funding, the organization supports founders and offers guidance to early stage companies. As part of this mission, Virgin StartUp runs one of the UK’s largest entrepreneurial mentoring programs, as well as late-stage accelerator programs, and a series of regular events.
Every month, Virgin StartUp hosts a two-hour MeetUp event that brings its community of founders together from around the world. During each event, attendees can access advice as well as inspiration, and network with a group of founders on a similar business journey. The aim is for attendees to leave feeling connected, supported, and energized.
A key challenge for Virgin StartUp when it started planning to move its MeetUp series to virtual was making sure attendees felt truly engaged, rather than broadcast at. Virgin StartUp chose Hopin because of its ability to provide attendees with an immersive experience that was far superior to outdated webinars and competitor events. The ability to easily create and manage events with a small team and very little technical knowledge was another key selling point.
As part of its pre-event communication strategy, Virgin StartUp used Hopin’s registration features to set up different ticket types, including priority access for its Funded Club. This is the organization’s group of current mentees undergoing a six-month accelerator program to get the most out of their Virgin StartUp loan. By customizing the look and feel of the event, all touch points were branded to align with the organization, ensuring members of the Funded Club and other attendees felt at home and immediately recognized each MeetUp as part of Virgin StartUp’s wider work.
"We looked very carefully at all the different event platforms that were out there and felt confident that actually Hopin delivered something above and beyond." –Andy Fishburn, Managing Director, Virgin StartUp