ON24, the digital experience platform focused on webinars and other virtual events, has opened an IPO due to its strong growth, especially in the second and third quarters of 2020. It is expected to appear on the NYSE as “ONTF”.
In a September 2020 interview, Sharat Sharan, co-founder, and president of ON24, said: “ It’s not space science to realize that customer engagement is actually online. We all expect physical events to return, but the trend towards greater online customer engagement has accelerated and will grow. I don’t think this is a reversible trend.
The virtual application. As new opportunities arise for virtual experience presenters, we ask Sharat Sharan, co-founder, and president-CEO, to reflect on the current environment. In this unfortunate time when the physical world was peaceful, there were organizations generating pipelines and demand, making our business stronger, but the core of what we do remains the same.
Has the growing demand for remote experiences been overwhelming? “The demand was very strong, let’s put it this way,”. “We are hosting hundreds of thousands of live experiences and webinars this year.” According to him, there will be a significant increase in turnover in 2019.
ON24 conversion tool. ON24 tracks what Sharan participants call “digital body language”, which can then be converted into valid data. “Because more and more potential customers are self-taught in B2B,” he said, “what our platform uses for this is what we add, more purchase intentions, like when they are ready to discuss a meeting with a seller. The platform we have. It also provides a much clearer indication of purchase intent.
The data can be sent to a marketing or CRM automation system and made available to the SDRs in a timely manner. Sharan says this reflects the ongoing shift towards a B2C-like experience within B2B. It’s almost an e-commerce experience: ‘I was trading, now I’m ready to sell.
Accelerated changes. It was already clear that physical events are expensive and difficult to escalate. Will this transition to virtual events continue when face-to-face events become possible again? “It’s not rocket science to realize that customer engagement is essentially online,” Sharan said. “We all expect physical events to return, but the trend towards greater online customer engagement has accelerated and will increase. I don’t think this is a reversible trend.
One option where Sharan listens to customers is “hybrid events”. “Once we can do that, we will probably go back to our Webinar World conference on a physical situation, but we can get a supplement that will be the virtual part.” Customers are also demanding more networks and more human involvement. “We integrate it into our product, but the essence of what we do doesn’t change.”
Because we care.
The accelerated evolution of digital experience and opportunities could hardly have been more evident. The question is whether the march will be reversed if and when the pandemic subsides. ON24 is well-positioned to position itself in this and continues to develop its platform.
The company ON24.
At the heart of ON24’s offering to customers is the ability to access information about engagement during events such as webinars, through surveys, surveys, and other resources. In the prospectus, the company states, “We provide a leading cloud-based digital experience platform that enables businesses to convert customer engagement into revenue through interactive webinar experiences, virtual events, and multimedia content experiences.”
ON24 is an experienced provider of the Martech standard, which was founded in 1998 as a video streaming platform under the name of News Direct and became a webinar platform in 2003. Self-service webinar product with a central level of data generation that sets it apart.
Pay for the losses.
The growth of the company in recent quarters was preceded by a period of net losses. The prospectus reports a net loss of $ 17.6 million and $ 17.5 million for 2018 and 2019. For the nine months ended September 30, 2019, the prospectus reports a net loss of $ 14.1 million; but for the same period in 2020 net profit of $ 11.2 million.
ON24 recently hired a new CMO, Steve Daheb, whose resume spans six years as senior vice president of Oracle Cloud and senior marketing roles at Citrix and Symantec. Additionally, the RevNEXT market was launched last November, with vendors offering complementary components of a revenue-generating B2B technology stack. Participants include Bombora, Demandbase, Drift, Integrate, LeanData and 6sense.
Because we care.
ON24 is a leading provider of virtual opportunities and the timing of this exchange makes sense. The prospectus correctly identifies the underlying trends that contribute to the wind in the sails of the company:
‘The new need is large-scale, personal, and interactive digital involvement with the customer. The democratization of the content has led to the education of potential customers. Traditional automated marketing approaches are increasingly ineffective. Data privacy requirements limit automated digital marketing.