Brella @ TechBBQ

TechBBQ brings AI-powered matchmaking back to in-person!


TechBBQ is the largest startup and innovation summit in Scandinavia. Their history began in 2012 with a casual gathering of entrepreneurs meeting in a park around a BBQ grill to connect and celebrate their achievements.

Their first official event was held in 2013 with around 300 attendees. Today, the summit has evolved into an annual 2-day event attended by thousands of professionals from all corners of the tech industry. 

The ultimate goal of TechBBQ is to gather and strengthen the Nordic startup ecosystem by building communities of like-minded professionals, and most importantly, connecting startups looking for funding to investors on the hunt for new business opportunities.  

In 2020, TechBBQ partnered with Brella and went live as a fully virtual event. This year, with the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions, the event went back to in-person connecting thousands of live attendees through AI-powered matchmaking. 

Here’s what happened! 

TechBBQ - Brella (10)

Source: TechBBQ

The challenge

After hosting their last virtual event in 2020, TechBBQ 2021 came back stronger than ever with a 2-day in-person conference attended by 4,500+ attendees out of which more than 2,600 joined Brella. 

Faithful to their vision of bridging the gap between emerging startups and investors, the minds behind TechBBQ knew that one right meeting can completely skyrocket the growth of a startup; and they also knew that no networking opportunity should be left to chance

“Networking has to be efficient. The attendees don’t want to waste their time, they need to know who they’re going to meet and when.” With his vast experience in the event industry, TechBBQ Head of Events Mikkel Bendixsen knew the value of structured networking and wouldn’t settle for anything less than an AI-powered event and matchmaking platform to ensure no meeting slot at TechBBQ was wasted. 

With this goal in mind, TechBBQ partnered with Brella for the second time, bringing the full power of matchmaking to their in-person event.

Their major action points for 2021 were: 

  • Foster pre-engagement and educate both attendees and sponsors on matchmaking.
  • Help all participants achieve their networking goals.
  • Host more 1:1 meetings than the previous year.  

TechBBQ - Brella (6)
Source: TechBBQ

The solution

How did Brella help TechBBQ bring together and match more than 2,600 out of 4,500+ attendees? The success strategy was built over three major pillars that went from pre-event engagement all the way to the setup of the venue.

Here they are:

1. Tailor matchmaking to the audience: what are the trending interests?

Why are thousands of people joining TechBBQ? This was perhaps the most important question in need of a solid data-based answer.

During the initial consultation, Brella’s customer success manager and the TechBBQ event team worked together on establishing the best categories for matchmaking. In order to do so, they rounded up and analyzed the previous data from TechBBQ 2020 collected through Brella. The stats showed clear trending topics, as well as what networking interests attendees had selected the most.

Numbers don’t lie, and thanks to this valuable data, they were able to optimize the matchmaking categories for 2021, making the selection as relevant as possible to their attendees’ networking goals. 

Bring AI-powered matchmaking to your next event


Help all participants achieve their networking goals - achieved!

TechBBQ - Brella (3)

Source: TechBBQ

2. Foster pre-engagement and educate both attendees and sponsors on matchmaking.

Following Brella’s guidance, TechBBQ opened the networking platform two weeks before the event, and they invited their attendees to join and start connecting with their top matches.

From the beginning, Mikkel has stressed the importance of maximizing attendees’ networking time, and we couldn’t agree more. Opening the platform weeks before the event allowed attendees to be matched with their top connections, engage with them prior to the event, and book meetings in advance without wasting a single available slot. 

Fostering pre-engagement on Brella paid off, as 63% of all the meetings were booked in advance and the live chat came abuzz with nearly 12,000 messages being exchanged!

As a part of their pre-engagement strategy, the TechBBQ event team worked together with us on a successful communication strategy. The aim was to build momentum and educate both attendees and sponsors on how to make the most out of Brella and matchmaking. The communication plan included demo videos and FAQs on how to navigate the platform and optimize the personal user account for matchmaking.

All in all, between tailoring matchmaking categories and creating an effective pre-event communication strategy, the TechBBQ event team gave their attendees all the right tools to get the most out of their experience. The feedback was nothing but a reflection of this winning strategy, with some attendees stating that Brella made all the difference for their networking.

Foster pre-engagement and create momentum around networking opportunities - achieved!

TechBBQ - Brella (4)

Source: TechBBQ

3. Turn the networking area into the hotspot of the venue.

Brella’s AI-powered matchmaking software will identify the best matches and bring them together in a matter of seconds. But how do you help thousands of attendees meet each other in person? 

When it comes to facilitating networking at in-person events, we can never overlook the importance of the venue and the positioning of the networking area. After studying the blueprint of the venue together with our customer success manager, TechBBQ planners decided to strategically place Brella’s networking area right after the entrance. The placement turned the networking area into the real hot-spot of the venue, making it impossible to miss. 

“I was positively surprised about how active people were on Brella, and our networking area was always full. We ran out of spots, and it was fully booked on the first day!” - Mikkel Bendixsen, Head of Events at TechBBQ

Host more 1:1 meetings than the previous year  - achieved!

TechBBQ - Brella (1)

Source: TechBBQ

TechBBQ's success in numbers

Brella’s analytics and data translated the success of TechBBQ 2021 into numbers. Let’s take a look at them!

AI-powered matchmaking coupled with an efficient pre-event communication strategy led to 2,800 meetings (with a 39% meeting acceptance rate, a huge improvement compared to the 32% acceptance rate of the previous year). In fact, TechBBQ ended up hosting way more in-person meetings than expected, and they’re now planning on doubling the number of networking tables for their next in-person event. 

Last but surely not least, TechBBQ 2021 became a real paperless event, which benefitted both their budget and the planet!

Brella’s users could access all the practical information via their electronic devices, and  Mikkel was proud to reveal the only printed papers at the event were small A5-sized maps and attendee nametags.

He also added that substituting paper with one handy event app also improved the attendees’ experience. As a concrete example, he told us that in case of any last-minute changes to the event agenda, all attendees can be informed directly in the app with no need to reprint leaflets and distribute them.

Finally, when asked how does he feel about our partnership for TechBBQ 2021, this is the answer Mikkel gave us:

“Together with Brella, we managed to elevate the whole experience for our
attendees. It’s not only a solution for AI-matchmaking, but also a platform for event
information, sponsor booths, live streaming and so much more. I look forward to
collaborate with Brella in the future to bring our events to the next level!”

Are you planning your next in-person event? Are you wondering how to bring your attendees together in the easiest and most efficient possible way? You’re in the right place! Message our team and we'll contact you for a demo.

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