A Virtual Event Management Platform with Jim Sharpe from Aventri

The events industry is enormous, generating $1.5 trillion dollars annually. But like most of life, this thriving industry was tossed headfirst into the virtual world when the COVID-19 pandemic struck in March of 2020.

The need to continue holding events remained paramount. “Marketers understand that the greatest way to get and market to leads is through events,” says Jim Sharpe, the CEO of Aventri, a virtual and hybrid event management technology platform.

Aventri is giving enterprise and mid market businesses an engaging live and on-demand event experience so that people can continue to connect in new ways.

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Jim Sharpe joined Aventri as CEO in January 2020 and is focused on leading the global Aventri team as it executes on its vision to help the world Connect Better. Throughout his career, Jim has led high-performing teams in private equity-backed tech-enabled businesses, investing in talent, service and product resulting in significant revenue growth.

Prior to Aventri, Jim was Managing Director and GM of Gerson Lehrman Group’s (GLG) largest and most profitable business unit, Financial Services. In this capacity he led several hundred professionals and achieved significant expansion of the userbase while growing revenues to over $200 million.

His recent experience at GLG was his second six-year stint at the company, following a first term which saw him co-found and lead the firm’s Energy and Industrials practice. His combined tenure at GLG saw company revenues grow 100x.

In between his turns at GLG, Jim engaged in an entrepreneurial venture, partnering with a New York private equity firm to acquire, rebuild, and operate a manufacturing company in the water filtration space. Over a four-year period, Jim developed strategic manufacturing and distribution relationships throughout the industry, won significant market share through data-driven analysis of its market, and ultimately sold the business to a European chemical company. 

Jim graduated from the University of Virginia with degrees in Commerce and East Asian languages. He resides in Westchester County, New York with his wife, sons and Brittany Spaniel.

DISCLAIMER: Below is an AI generated transcript. There could be a few typos but it should be at least 90% accurate. Watch video or listen to the podcast for the full experience!

Jim Sharpe 0:00

If you think about going to a live event, there’s sort of this serendipitous meeting that occurs where you look across, you see someone’s name tag and you go meet them, or you’re on a mission and you walk up to the booth to meet them, or you go to the coffee bar, because you exchange business cards with somebody, all that occurs in a live event. That’s very enriching. It was tough to do that in a virtual event. And so what we’ve done now, through this sort of AI recommendation engine isn’t, it just lets you know who’s in the room with you. And it does recommend people based on similar interests.

Alexander Ferguson 0:29

Welcome to UpTech Report. This is our applied tech series UpTech Report is sponsored by TeraLeap. Learn how to leverage the power of video at Today, I’m joined by my guest, Jim Sharpe, who’s based in New York. He’s the CEO out of Aventri. Welcome, Jim. Good to have you. Thanks for having me, Alex. Now, Aventri is a virtual and hybrid event management technology platform. And you guys are focused on enterprise and midmarket, Jim, help me understand the problem. Today’s issue, of course, events have always been around and I love where your virtual and hybrid events. That’s where we are. What do you see is the most pressing issue of today in people’s mindsets of having to run and manage events, whether they’re, they’re online or in person or a combination?

Jim Sharpe 1:15

Yeah, well, it’s, it’s a great question, Alex. And again, happy to be here today. So one thing you want to keep in mind when you talk about the events industry is that it’s a it’s a business that is north of $1.5 trillion. In overall spend, if you’re grabbing the entire market, and one in $5, one in five marketing dollars goes toward events. And the reason for that background is that marketers understand that the greatest way to get and market to leads is through events. And in the past, that’s primarily been a face to face type market. So the major issue right now, as we all expect, from the last year and a half now of the COVID era has been the digital transformation from a live event world to a virtual only world. And now, the big item is the hybrid world, which is a term that’s thrown around a lot. But it’s really the combination between live in virtual elements. And one interesting stat that we we identified early on in COVID, is that about 90% of event planners believe that they will continue to have virtual components in their events, even after COVID is behind us. So that was something we paid attention to early on. And we launched our our hybrid platform. And I think that’s the biggest issue of the day right now is what will be the return to live events. Hopefully, you know, more is better, I think, at the same time, what will be the cannibalization of those live events that move over to virtual only formats, and then what is the combined and perhaps even exponential growth of the market? That is due to combining those two elements together. So that’s the big, that’s one big trend of the day that we’re spending a lot of time on.

Alexander Ferguson 2:54

I appreciate you kind of setting up the space understanding the trillion dollar market. And when I talked a lot or other tech companies and we talked about Okay, how are you marketing? How are you getting people to know about it, it had been? Well, we trade shows we put out on our events, that we’re getting people to come to us. And that comes to a screeching halt. And they’re everyone’s scrambling now. Okay, how do I market? How do I get attendees, and even individuals, we, we like to go somewhere to put our complete focus on something. But now we all switch to virtual and then there’s this zoom fatigue? And like, do I really want to bother going attending this place? And I feel like there’s there’s kind of a just an overall, I’m done with that feeling. Let’s let’s get back to what we used to.

Alexander Ferguson 3:37

So and now you talk about 90% saying some sort of hybrid going forward. But how do you make an experience where it’s great for both people, I feel like it’s probably on top a lot of people’s mind is, if you’re going to tend to person, it’s fabulous. It’s amazing. It’s engaging. If you’re attending remotely, it’s fabulous. It’s amazing, and it’s engaging. And the difficulty with that. Before we dive in, though, of Okay, how are we accomplishing that? Because technology? Yes, that should be the solution. Jim, are you just are you just personally passionate about events? Like it? How many understand like where you’ve come into this space?

Jim Sharpe 4:11

Yep. Thanks for asking. So from my perspective, I’ve spent most of my career in the tech enabled services side of things. And I spent two years or two different six year terms, or 12 combined years at this very innovative company called GLG. And I’m passionate about events, but I’m actually more passionate about connecting people, which is what I believe events do. So in the business that I I worked at prior in my career, the the industry that we pioneered was one to one connections between experts and people who had questions. So they created this huge ecosystem of industry experts. And when anybody had a question, they could instantly be connected with somebody via phone that had answers to those questions based on their experience, and it became a really big business. So I’ve always been very passionate about the value that can be derived by meeting the right person at the right time, right and so therefore mechanisms that allow you to do That is something that’s very important to me. So it was a natural shift going into an entry, I saw that a this is an industry going through major transformation, technology wise, obviously a bright team with great products and a cool market. But I did really appreciate the fact that at the end of the day, what eventually does is we connect people. In fact, our tagline, which predates me, is connect better. So that’s overall part of the part of the reason that I’m MRM.

Alexander Ferguson 5:24

You joined in 2020. At the beginning of last year, what a time to go into events like well, I pick the right job.

Jim Sharpe 5:32

Yep. Yeah, I’m reminded often of my impeccable timing by my friends. So I joined January 2026, weeks before things started to change. I remember the first phone call that we received, which was regarding whether or not our staff would have to wear masks at events, or if they wanted to wear masks in the event host wouldn’t allow them. How do we handle that. And that ended up being the smallest problem we faced all year. And I went into pivot mode, which is something we could talk about, from live to virtual and now hybrid.

Alexander Ferguson 6:06

It’s it’s this, I feel like pivot has been used, or the new normal, as many people talked about, it’s like or abused the term. But in many ways every company had to but both Yes, as a technology company offering services to events, but people who are wanting to put on events, and people who wanting to attend events, everyone is having to change their mindset. And now you said now where we are today, looking forward? I feel like it’s not just okay, we’re done. COVID done, we’d have to worry about anymore. Where do you see people’s minds are when it comes to events and attending from attendee perspective?

Jim Sharpe 6:43

From an attendee perspective, I think, I think most people agree that nothing beats the value of a face to face interaction in meeting. So and I do think there’s a lot of zoom fatigue, we all feel it after having countless 1000s of virtual interactions, and we crave that human interaction. So I think overall, there is a large pent up demand to get back to live format, so that that’s coming and, you know, fits and starts, obviously, based on what’s going on in the world. But at the same time, I do think that is trending this way. And I think people are eager for that. Now, the interesting thing about about the the hybrid event world and the virtual component of live events is that there are numerous advantages that you unlock by having a virtual component. Some of those include new revenue streams, meaning exhibitors exhibiting differently, attendees attending differently, imagine a 20,000 person live event and now can have 2 million people dialing in remotely. That’s an interesting ecosystem to unlock. It also creates, it creates a also an insurance policy in this day and age, you never know if your event is going to be live or not. So I think the fact that you can switch seamlessly between live and virtual is exciting. And then also the networking capability. Now that platforms like ours have more intuitive networking capability, you can make matches around the world between live and virtual event formats pretty seamlessly. So there are these benefits to the virtual

Alexander Ferguson 8:03

side. Let’s talk about that one, specifically, because I feel like I felt it. And I’ve talked to other people who felt this as well, that’s what’s been lacking in online events is the ability to network like you used to in person, how have you been focused on addressing this?

Jim Sharpe 8:21

So it was a huge topic for us, because one of the things that we found when we spoke with our customers was that attendees were aware of the fact that the virtual experience is relatively flat, right? You had someone broadcasting content to you, you were in a room with people, but you couldn’t see them, you couldn’t interact with them, as cleanly. And that became a real problem, because that’s gonna have people too Now you may have your attendees spend less time in the meeting, maybe they’re multitasking, which isn’t something you do as well, at a live event, people are pretty focused, as you mentioned, they’re spending real money to be there. So what we got to work doing was said, How do we enrich the networking experience? Because that’s obviously, top two reasons people go to events. And, and so what we did was we actually, we started to, first of all create tools that allow networking. So how do people want to network? Well, they want to go to a breakout room with like minded people, they want the opportunity to do a video chat with somebody, they want to be able to go down the list of attendees, and then click on someone’s profile, and then invite them to connect with them. So those are all the tools that we created. But more importantly, the thing that I think really broke it open for us is that we created an AI driven engine that makes recommendations for you. So when you actually come into the event, and you register for the event, it’ll ask you a few questions about yourself five questions. And it’ll ask you, what would you like to learn from the event. And what it does is it uses like a basic AI engine to pair you up with people. And it stack ranks the people that it thinks you’d be most interested in meeting and then the list goes on and on from there. And if you take us up on those recommendations, the system learns from itself and starts to make better better recommendations for you and the rest of the world. So the good news with that is that like if you think about going to a live event, there’s sort of this serendipitous meeting that occurs where you look across you see someone’s name tag and you go meet them, or you’re on a mission and you walk up to the booth to meet them. Or you go to the coffee bar, because you exchange business cards with somebody, all that occurs in a live event that’s very enriching, it was tough to do that in a virtual event. And so what we’ve done now, through this sort of AI recommendation engine is it just lets you know who’s in the room with you. And it does recommend people based on similar interests, and we’re finding people take us up on it, because at the end of the day, they do want to get that networking benefit. So I think that’s a it’s a talk about trends, I think the continual improvement of data driven AI enriched recommendations, whether they be for networking or otherwise is a big trend that, that we’re investing behind and excited about.

Alexander Ferguson 10:34

Like the immediate example that comes to my mind, as you’re on LinkedIn, and even see recommended connections you should have based off of your other connections, is that the kind of mindset that you’re going to be at a virtual event, and here’s some other people attend this event, you should probably connect with them.

Jim Sharpe 10:48

Yeah, that’s, that’s basically, that basically brings to life I mean, it’s just that, you know, you’re there in a room with like minded people you’re interested in, you know, these three sessions, you know, there are a bunch of people who also share that interest in those three sessions, or based on whatever it is your goals are for that particular event. And we try to help spur that conversation to get you going. So we say, Hey, would you like to meet us people? Click on here to invite them to an immediate video conference, right. So there are those technologies that we think are having an impact and helping bring these virtual events to life. Other things with virtual events was that, you know, in addition to the networking, a lot of the sessions were very flat at the beginning, because in a live event format, someone can sit there in an audience for an hour and pay attention. It’s just the way they were conditioned in a live environment. In a virtual environment. That’s not true. You need punchier things you need shorter, you need more personalized, you can’t just have Talking Heads everywhere. And you also need gamification, you know, in trivia, or other things that keep people engaged in that conversation. So I think that we learned actually, between version one and version two of our virtual platform that we had to have more of that even punchier type interaction and gamification and other things that the, that the attendee could experience to enjoy the virtual event and stay tuned in,

Alexander Ferguson 11:58

you see a future of online being much more interactive, not like a speaker asked a question and you think about it, but more of like, you’re actually pressing buttons. And you’re, you’re playing a mini game in between events? Yeah,

Jim Sharpe 12:12

absolutely. So many people. Many people have participated in various, you know, trivia things virtually just to keep the team entertained. And all that just think of that, from an event perspective, where you’re in the room, you can pull the audience pull a virtual audience on a particular item, they can vote immediately, that can spur the conversation or take it in a new direction, just more much more gamification, and keeping people interested. Also, shorter form videos content that is on demand, meaning you don’t just have to go to an event and have everything broadcast to you as it occurs, you can also have a library off to the right like we do, where people can just go back and they can view the content they want. And what the interesting thing about this, Alex is that, you know, imagine you go to an event for two days, but in the second day, you don’t have time to go live to that event, you can go back to your let’s just say you’re working from your hotel room on the second day, because you’re very busy, you can actually go into that virtual event and start engaging with the very content that’s taking place on your own schedule, right through the library. So therefore, you’ve actually become a virtual and live or hybrid attendee yourself, right? So you may be interacting with both sides of that very event. And that’s why like, it’s so important that the platform that the attendee is engaging with, is an all in one platform that is keeping their interests their data in one place in a secure place to make sure that the marketer throwing the event actually knows how to track that attendee, and make the most for that,

Alexander Ferguson 13:32

that attendees experience. Do you think people actually attending event in the future in person is going to be interacting with the hybrid element, the online elements at the same time or after?

Jim Sharpe 13:47

Yep. Now, often at the same time, so the the key link between this is the mobile app. So we’ve invested heavily in the mobile app. We believe that when someone’s walking around a live show floor in the future, they will get significant recommendations, not only about networking, but also which sessions to go to based on data. But in the meantime, the mobile app is allowing people to watch a virtual content while they walk around the live event. It’s allowing them to network with somebody and they don’t know if that person is 50 feet away at any coffee bar, or 5 million miles away, across the world virtually. But that’s what the mobile app does now. So you’re seeing people that in these early hybrid event formats are starting to interact globally. And we’re excited about that particular trend. We, you know, funny story, we had a, we had our own hybrid, all hands meeting just to test it all out. We we had the audio visual partners involved, we had our producer partners involved. I was giving a live broadcast with some of my teammates. We had people in the audience live, we had people dialing in remotely, even people on the mobile app only. And just watching the interaction go is very interesting. First of all, you have to make sure nothing breaks which is very important in this industry to make sure that all your systems go which is another reason you need a very stable platform but just seeing the different types of interaction that occur when you’re in this new world, this new format was was pretty exciting to us.

Alexander Ferguson 15:03

you’re describing this concept of being in person an event, but still being online. I’m wondering if people get bored at a particular session, they’ll just pull up their laptop or computer and start to attend another session in another room because they won’t have to physically move. But it’s changing the way you look at events in a very nonlinear way. Another big concern, though, of course, is safety and for COVID reasons, etc. And there’s many different ways technology can play a role in that space. How are you guys approaching safety concerns?

Jim Sharpe 15:42

Yeah, so obviously no, no topic more relevant today than then safety. And so there are a few things that we think about when it when it comes to safety. The first has been this, this move to an all in one platform that goes between live in virtual meaning creating that insurance policy or that pivot point, where if you had to move entire event online in a hurry, you could do it in the click of a button, which is reality with an entry. Other areas of ad, first of all, we believe that a big area of safety is allowing the the check in process and the physical experience at the event to be more hands free, and less crowded. And so what we’ve created, for example, is a digital badge. So we leverage this within for my back in March, you may have seen the headline, we’ve created a digital badge, which has a QR code that you download before you go to an event. So you no longer need to have a paper, a paper badge that you wait in line to pick up when you get there, you carry this pass around with you, you can make payments with that pass, it has data on your attendance, you can walk into a session and hold it up to a mobile session scanner, you don’t have to have to interact with any check in table weren’t passing paper business cards back and forth like you did in the past. So that’s a big area of safety that we’re we’re excited about. Another area that’s emerging is facial recognition. And obviously, this has major security concerns of its own and privacy concerns. But facial recognition in in big event formats is is is coming to be a reality. And bases are being used. Do you see what right now? I mean, right now you only see the challenges with facial recognition. What is the security side of it? Number two is that you have to invest in hardware to do it, right. So you see it being leveraged now in applications that make sense like at airports or large stadiums, where they needed high octane security to know but what what’s coming down the pike, we think, is that this will become more accessible to all event planners for facial recognition without it allow you to aid manage the crowds that are coming in, you can identify what’s going on in your event, but also it’ll provide some security, like security layer there as well. I should also mention that both facial recognition and digital passes can also help you with crowd control, just meaning that in this day and age, you can’t have too many people in one session at event, you can’t have an overly crowded trade show floor. And it allows you to identify zones that are getting overheated. So that you may want to, you know change the flow of attendees around there. So there’s a lot going on with safety right now. We also feel that lead retrieval so one of the biggest things that occurs in events is that you walk into a booth, you meet somebody, you exchange information, and you’re a lead in their database. And vice versa. We now have leveraging that digital pass, you can do that without exchanging any paper information. So that’s contact with lead retrieval. And we in our case have actually also created virtual booths at virtual events. So now you can go to a virtual event, you can see a logo of someone you want to have a company and exhibitor, you click into that. And there’s a representative from that exhibitor waiting for you to do a video conference with them. So it’s almost like you’ve done a you’ve got to a virtual booth now, and that immediately exchanges information between the two parties, and now you have a lead. So just a lot of things going on with with contact and this interaction of these events.

Alexander Ferguson 18:58

I think the challenge sometimes with online is people lean to the anonymity aspect, like I’ll just kind of encroach here and see what’s going on. But I don’t know, I don’t want to say tell you everything I’m about myself. Do you see that as people requesting as far as the attendee side, or people still willing to just give as much information doesn’t matter, as they would in person?

Jim Sharpe 19:21

No, I think that’s a great point. So I think, Alex, what we’re seeing on the virtual side is that in terms of people sharing their information, it’s sort of a multi step process, right? So a good example of this is when someone enters a virtual booth, and we learn this through iteration is that often there are people who just want to go in there and like, virtually pick up a leaf off the table. Basically Think about that. They want to learn a little bit about the exhibitor. Okay, that’s it. The next step would be like, they want to proverbial like drop their, you know, the business card in a fishbowl, for example to like, you know, follow up later. So that’s somebody who’s saying, Okay, I’m willing to like, let you know I was here, and then there’s people who are saying, okay, I really want to engage with you now and let’s exchange info, real time. And that is is a multi step process and you don’t get somebody there. Like instantly the same way that at a live event, someone walks into a booth and they go up to, you know, they have different ways of interacting with that booth. So to your point, we are seeing a little bit more hesitancy on the virtual side. And I think that’s also just because of the format, you know, you’re not as invested in being there.

Alexander Ferguson 20:18

So it’s almost as event planners, you have to realize the difference between the format’s just naturally of what you can expect out of it.

Jim Sharpe 20:26

Yeah, but a great, great thing about the virtual format is that the, you get a richer data stream, though, right. So in a live event, you may get more interactivity, everybody’s there with a purpose. But it can be harder to track what people are doing their and therefore harder to market to them in the future. At at a virtual event, you’re actually gathering richer data on what people are doing, how much time they’re spending in various places. So even if they’re a little bit more hesitant with sharing contact information and other things, you do have a greater ability to identify the interests of the parties that are there. So for the attendee experience, of course, yeah, if you want to hold back your information, you have the right to do it. But at the same time, you’re attending that event for a reason, the marketer that’s organizing that events doing the same thing, and it helps helps create a better bond between your rare tie in terms of data between the two.

Alexander Ferguson 21:12

Events has been around since I think 2008. Is that right?

Jim Sharpe 21:16

That’s right, certainly predates me. One thing. One thing that is interesting is that we have a tremendous amount of experience and events. And I think that’s one of the big differentiators in the market right now is that a lot of people jumped in the market last year, they have brilliant products. But until you’ve done until you’ve organized an event, 10 years in a row for a leading bank or insurance company like you haven’t seen at all in terms of the live event format, and what’s required to pull that off. And I think that’s exciting and distinct

Alexander Ferguson 21:46

element of the venture business is many ways to approach when it comes to situations like this is either bringing new technology, then you have to figure out the customers and their needs, or you already have the customers know their needs. And then you have to develop the technology for the new solution. But either way, it’s being able to move forward into a new space, you talked about these hybrid events. I’ve also seen some push, we talked about virtual to to the next level, one would say an immersive like virtual space with avatars to that extent, what is your perception and perspective of the usability and the acceptance of to that a virtual event that is truly virtual reality?

Jim Sharpe 22:29

Yeah. So we think about that, often, we find that most events, the vast majority of events don’t need the immersive virtual experience to be a better event. So that So for the most part, I’d say 90% of events that are taking place are not engaging in some sort of virtual immersive environment. But there is significant marketing appeal, especially for exhibitors, for the event that do have that. So if you’re throwing a big virtual tradeshow, you needed to look and feel like a big virtual tradeshow, and therefore there are several immersive players that are out there that have great technology. Now we are heading in that direction, we’re sort of developing our way there right now, to have that, to have that sort of immersive you walk into a job fair, and you’re actually already inside the arena feel. And then the exhibitors are over there in the 3d booth. That’s very different than where we are today sitting on zoom, you know, we’re exchanging content, but we’re not we’re not really visibly experiencing the event. Right. So I think that um, so I think that is something that we’re investing toward. And then if you take it to the next level is what you’re talking about, which is, you know, realistic avatars, holograms, you know, gamification around the room, like you can have treasure hunts going on in the virtual arena, so that people are interacting with the entire corner of it. So I think there are a lot of futuristic type things you can do. And I think I think those will, those will come to life. I think that will come to life, because there will be certain elements of the trade show and job fair market that stay virtual, and therefore they will need to have some of these more immersive environments. So we’re heading in that direction.

Alexander Ferguson 23:58

Do you think those who are pushing or desiring more for that type of experience is the attendee or the the exhibitor the person who wants to put on a booth?

Jim Sharpe 24:09

You know, it’s a great question. I think, I think there is sort of a, I think for the exhibitor, it is a it is a real need, meaning that one of the issues with virtual events in the past year has been exhibitors finding it challenging to justify the cost of being there, and that is getting better. And there are different ways that virtual providers did that. So I think for the exhibitor going forward, I actually do feel like they’re willing to engage more with an event that has that more immersive feel to them, because it feels familiar, and it’s very visible. I think, for the attendee, a lot of people would think that the inner immersive experience is very cool. But I don’t think it necessarily is a need to have in terms of what the goals of the event are, you know, you want to meet somebody, you don’t need to have an avatar that looks exactly like you to go around and do it. It’s neat to do. It’s helped with fun, but it doesn’t necessarily make it better for you. networking and then the content obviously takes place once you click on something in that immersive environment. So I think overall it’s a fun to have for the attendee. I could be wrong about that but I think they liked seeing that but it’s not a must have but I think for the exhibitors it’s a must have at the at the higher levels.

Alexander Ferguson 25:16

Appreciate the the two part perspective of exhibitor to attendee it. I agree the attendees, it’s in some way superfluous to what they’re the reason they’re there. But it could be interesting could be fun. Yeah, but it’s not become a standard as an attendee yet for that type of experience. I think that’s right, yeah. Now, this future then of hybrid for people being able to attend, do you see, so gonna be like weighing still mostly in person in the future, and they’ll just be an X percentage of online?

Jim Sharpe 25:50

Yes, here’s how we think about it. I talked about this often with investors and otherwise. So our prediction, which doesn’t mean it’s right, is that 80% of live formats are going to go back to live, meaning that that was the format they had, it’s going to primarily be back in live. There we go. The other 20%, we think is going to be cannibalized and become virtual only. So just think of an organization that has five events per year. Now four of them are live, one of them would be virtual, meaning the content or the budget, don’t support it. So we expect that to sort of be this shift there. And then we expect the sort of growth in the market to come from the hybrid formats where you have the live and virtual elements combined. And we’re modeling that that would be somewhere like high single digits to start and then going up into maybe the 15 to 20% range of events that have some sort of hybrid component, it’s not simple to pull off, you have to really think through what you’re doing, you may not need to have more budget to do both. So therefore, not all events are going to want to have a hybrid element. So we’re counting right now on five to 10% of events having a hybrid element to them, and then it’ll start to get more sophisticated as time goes on.

Alexander Ferguson 26:58

Do you see then then the the spending for exhibitors is going to come back very quickly. For for events?

Jim Sharpe 27:05

Yes, I think from that stat I gave earlier about one in $5 going toward events, I think that’s because the the forum is so valuable. And so therefore, what we expect is that exhibitors will continue to feel like most marketing channels are very noisy, they need to go back to the event, to engage people, there’s a lot of pent up demand there. So I think they’re gonna have a lot of their dollars back to live. And I think that the way that they’ll continue to sponsor the virtual event will be perhaps at a different level, or as long as there is a right type of experience for them to have there. They’re willing to do it. I think last year, exhibitors really had no choice like they were, they had big budgets to spend on marketing, they had to go to virtual events that they did, and they will, but at the same time, I think my god is that most of them are going to be shifting a large portion of their, their spend back to the live event business and then finding new and creative ways to to be satisfied on the virtual side.

Alexander Ferguson 27:56

What are you most excited about?

Jim Sharpe 27:59

Wow, that’s a great question. So many things. I mean, I’ve been talking to my team about this this week, because, you know, I, despite the fact that this has been such a challenging 18 months for so many people and you know, globally, the impact that it’s had, especially on our on our industry and professionals within the industry, I’m so hopeful and excited about the rapid pace of change going on right now, within our market. We’ve talked about it for the last 30 minutes here, it’s it’s a very exciting time in our business, it’s going to change the way that attendees, all of us included, go to events. And I’m excited for that. So I think that overall the type of technology that we described, I’m excited to be on the forefront of that and leading a team. I think there is there’s an additional innovation here that we haven’t even talked about the day that we’re just going to make content far more available real time on an ongoing basis after events. And those are the types of things that are on my mind for the future. So I’m excited about that. And then just kind of like back to basics, I think I’m also excited about leading his team to execute I think I came in here I joined the company, early January 2,021st year didn’t go as we planned, obviously, the second year is somewhere in between. But I’m very proud of what we’re doing and excited to help lead this team to do great things.

Alexander Ferguson 29:15

We’re excited for it for everyone says back to normal, but it’s not a normal. It’s it’s we got a new, new opportunity for innovation to play a front role. And in every sphere, especially when it comes to events. those that want to learn more of the latest features of Aventri, go to a that’s a Thank you so much, Jim for sharing the what you’ve been working on the insights and the future of event management marketing.

Jim Sharpe 29:43

Thankyou very much, Alex. Appreciate the opportunity today.

Alexander Ferguson 29:47

I will see you all on the next episode of UpTech Report. Have you seen a company using AI machine learning or other technology to transform the way we live work and do business? Go to UpTech and let us know


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