we.CONECT was founded in 2011 by two self-confessed “passionate event industry geeks” with an entrepreneurial spirit. Henry Fuchs and Daniel Wolter saw an opportunity to meet the need for change within the event industry with a new approach to b2b-conferences within the innovation, enterprise and tech sectors.
“We have grown by more than 50% yearly ever since,” reveals Henry. “Today, we serve engineering and manufacturing, automotive, digital transformation and the IT sectors across DACH, Europe and the US market. Our focus has always been on interactions and creating forums and platforms for meetings and connections. This allows decision-makers to interact and network with their peers and get the latest ideas and industry trends. In our environment, they will be given opportunities to grow their businesses and skill sets.”
A diverse network
we.CONECT boasts a 50,000+ strong network, taking pride in having companies as clients rather than simply defining their attendees as the audience. “Our ambition is to fuel them with new ideas, new connections and new inspiration,” pledges Daniel. “We attract everyone from specialists and strategists to management newbies, geniuses and visionaries to help the world’s biggest brands, most innovative companies, and the most promising start-ups, shape tomorrow´s business.”
The rollcall of clients is impressive… Adidas, Adobe, Amazon, BASF, BMW, Coca-Cola, Daimler, Google, Paypal, Nasa, Tesla, Apple are all part of we.CONECT’s network of business partners enjoying unique event experiences alongside the likes of Bosch, Cisco, IBM, Microsoft, Nvidia, Samsung, Siemens and SAP.
The 1.5 million business users in we.CONECT’s ecosystem demand excellent networking and learning opportunities. “Our events are packed with more than 30 session formats covering different interactivity levels – strongly geared to our customers’ needs,” says Henry. “The problem solving and discussion focused world café-sessions and our ‘Live Tech Take’ are two great examples of formats our clients greatly appreciate.”
Digital ‘managed’ events
we.CONECT’s Digital Managed Event (DME) offering is for exhibitors that don’t want to share their leads with others. “They bring the content and the crowd; we assist with the hosting, event infrastructure and marketing of the event,” explains Daniel. “With a DME, exhibitors have an opportunity to tailor-make an event relevant to their product and solution; it’s a chance to invest in your own exclusive and customised format.”
we.CONECT’s hybrid business event portfolio offers business leaders from all over the world exclusive content, leads and an opportunity to be a part of evolving business communities to gather information, share knowledge, network with peers and find solutions for business-critical challenges. “We believe it’s imperative to be part of a new world of networking with other global players and niche businesses both live and fully digital in an ever-changing world,” asserts Henry. “The hybrid format delivers in that regard. It offers total flexibility, is COVID-compliant and enables both the audience and the exhibitors a chance to make the most of their experience.”
Daniel and Henry began innovating with the digital transformation of events back in 2016 through the development of their own event app platform and in 2018 with their own first digital events – long before Covid became an issue.
“When the pandemic hit, we were able to react with agility and digitalise our entire event portfolio in 2020,” recalls Daniel. “One of the key enablers was our own virtual event platform, hubs101. It’s a complete platform, built on our event insights and know-how with the latest technology in focus. We’ve gradually developed it over the years, like the company itself, with constant tweaks and improvements. hubs101 has now been road-tested by more than 10,000 customers and hosted over 500 events, which is just the beginning…”
The we.CONECT team continually add new functions to improve usability based on the feedback received from each event. These invaluable insights contribute to the continued innovation of 30 different session formats that inspire attendees to interact and learn from each other’s experiences.
The timing of the public release of hubs101 with the pandemic was a coincidence but the team felt the platform had reached a stage where it could be beneficial for others. “Before Covid, we’d launched the platform to host 12 online events,” remember Henry. “When the lockdowns started, we identified the potential for virtual events and were able to scale up the platform to host most of the used-to-be on-premises events, working on over a hundred in 2020.”
hubs101 users can enter their event interests, business goals, and expectations on the platform; that data is sorted and matched with other participants’ entries. The AI matchmaking function enables hubs101 attendees to find the business partners they’re looking for and connect with them immediately. This saves time and avoids the uncertainty to connect with the right person on an on-premises event, and thus helps businesses reach their ROI more quickly.
“Our goal is to provide event attendees with the best event experience,” adds Daniel. “Therefore, we’re constantly searching for ways to take the current online event experience on hubs101 to the next level. Right now, users can attend a virtual event smoothly and find the right business partners with an AI matchmaking function. And we aim to expand that function to include not only attendee matching but also interest matching. In the future, hubs101 users can expect to meet the right person and get suggestions for the right event, based on their own goals and expectations they provide to the platform.”
The pandemic has accelerated the process of event digitalisation. Henry and Daniel have embraced the challenge and are determined to continuously help define the future of the event industry, and to transform as many events as possible to a full-scale hybrid experience. “In these times when marketers worldwide rank virtual events as a top three method to generate leads, boost revenue and improve brand impact, we.CONECT and hubs101 can help shape and improve any company’s future strategy and tactics for events and meetings.”
Learn more about emerging trends across the tech panorama in the latest issue of Interface