Brella @ Sunrise North Island

“We were 5 days out from the event and my previous plan fell through."


With only days before their big event, Joel Connolly from Blackbird VC was living every event organizer’s worst nightmare.

Their event app solution fell through 5 days before the event, and he needed something to replace it - fast.

Sunrise North Island, touted as a love letter to Kiwi founders from Blackbird, brings founders and investors from around the world to New Zealand. In order for each attendee to get the most from this incredible event, they needed a simple way to connect and meet each other.

As well, as tech founders, much of the audience expected a simple yet elegant tool to simplify the experience.

Sunrise North Island

The challenge

Sunrise North Island faced every event organizer’s worst nightmare – 5 days before the event, their event app fell through. What were they to do?

After getting a recommendation from a former Brella user in Silicon Valley, Joel reached out to Brella’s team and received a prompt confirmation that he would have an event created and ready for their attendees by the event date.

“The Brella team set me up overnight, worked to fit within my budget and then stayed with me right up until the event.”

With only 4 days from first contact to the event itself, there was no time to lose. Here’s a timeline of how Sunrise North Island managed to have a working event networking solution in record time, despite missed kickoff calls, a broad time zone difference and only 96 hours until show time.

The solution

4 days before the event

Joel contacts Brella’s sales team, stressing the urgency of his request. Before the day is done, a personal Customer Success Manager is assigned to Sunrise North Island and the event creation begins.

3 days before the event

There is some miscommunication and the kickoff call is missed. Not to worry, though, as our customer success manager records the kickoff call, detailing the important aspects, and sends it to the event organizers.

Happy with the call and the information provided, the event organizers add their info easily, aided by Brella’s easy-to-use platform and integrations.

The event organizers are also able to add their schedule to their event website in 5 minutes using Brella's schedule widget, saving precious time. 

2 days before the event – Brella launch

2 days before the event begins, the platform is complete and Brella is launched. Typically, the best time is 2-3 weeks before an event. So there were many nail-biting moments, since a large part of generating pre-engagement is getting a critical mass of users well before the event.

However, the Brella team has also noticed a phenomenon that the urgency of releasing a networking platform days before an event can drive great adoption. Attendees don’t want to miss out on relevant connections, especially not startups and investors.

1 day before the event

The attendees take to Brella with gusto and 58% of meetings are booked before the event begins, and 353 of the eventual 358 users join the platform, despite the short deployment time.

However, there is still the event to worry about. Will attendees actually go to their meetings? Will there be more meetings booked? Only time will tell.

Two speakers presenting at Sunrise North Island

The results

Even with only 96 hours to create the platform, deploy it and communicate it to the attendees, against all odds, the launch succeeded.

But did it work? Did the pre-event success translate into a real event win?

We asked Joel how he felt.

“Hey everyone,

I thought I’d share a bit about my experience.

I ended up going with Brella. For those that haven't used it, Brella registers users and uses a matchmaking engine to recommend and facilitate 1:1 meetings at events.

We were 5 days out from the event and my previous plan fell through. The Brella team set me up overnight, worked to fit within my budget and then stayed with me right up until the event.

The results were bonkers. Sunrise is a 500 cap event. We had 358 people download the app and 459 1:1 meetings booked through it. 2611 messages were sent via the app.

Anecdotally, I had people coming up to me all day telling me how great it was.

Of the people I surveyed, 92% of them said the meetings they had were valuable and the majority of people booked 5 or more meetings. I'll probably never run another conference without using Brella.”

Organizing 1:1 meetings at your event doesn't have to be stressful. Contact our team and we'll provide you with a demo of how simple event networking can be.

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