Happily is a masterclass when it comes to production, animation, and all things video.
VC Platform is a thriving global community dedicated to elevating the venture capital platform profession on a global scale. With a strong vision, they strive to foster collaboration and excellence by promoting and upholding high standards in portfolio and firm management. Their primary focus is on benefiting not only their member community but also the portfolio companies they serve and the broader venture capital industry.
At their highly anticipated annual summit, VC Platform brings together a substantial portion of their 1,800+ members for an immersive in-person experience. In addition, participants join via livestream, ensuring accessibility to members across the globe. This 3-day summit serves as a space for face-to-face connection and knowledge sharing among the community. Building upon the triumph of their previous summit organized by volunteers, VC Platform Global Summit in New York aimed to take their event to new heights in 2023 by collaborating with a production agency. VC Platform partnered with Happily to scale the summit reach, elevate the experiential design, and oversee onsite logistics.
The VC Platform Global Summit presented a monumental challenge for all parties involved. Originally intended to accommodate around 350 onsite attendees, the scope of interest surpassed initial expectations when registration opened. It was this unexpected boom in registrations that prompted the VC Platform team to ask Happily if it would be possible to double the attendee size. Faced with a mere two-month window until the event, for Happily the question was less if we could successfully scale from 350 to 700 participants - we know how to hustle and make that happen - but the question our Strategy Studio posed was ‘we can, but should we?’
The VC Platform Global Summit 2023 production encompassed the full spectrum of Happily's services, combining the expertise of our Strategy, Experiential, Creative, Broadcast, and Web Studios. The Happily Strategic Studio leveraged insights and feedback from the previous year's summit, tapping into the vibrant community that had been established. With numerous possibilities for event programming and production, we adhered to a set of guiding principles that served as a compass for decision-making, ensuring that the end result would faithfully embody the summit's intentions and goals. These guiding principles included:
What an awesome few days at the #VCPlatform summit! Learned a ton, saw amazing friends and met incredible new friends.
Following thorough site visits, Team Happily confirmed that the capacities of the venues contracted by the client were insufficient to accommodate a doubled increase in attendees. This capacity issue applied not only to the main conference venue but also to the after party. One venue that had already been selected was Quorum by Convene in Midtown West, New York.
This brand new site was still undergoing finishing touches during pre-production, and the VC Platform Global Summit would mark its inaugural event. The original agreement with Convene stipulated a maximum capacity of 400, with stringent safety regulations in place. Considering the opportunity to upscale, we carefully weighed the advantages and disadvantages, recognizing that there were both pros and cons associated with this decision. After careful deliberation and detailed floorplan planning, we advised for a more moderate upscale approach: a significant 140% increase (525 participants) instead of a crammed full 200% (700 participants). The deciding factor for our Strategy Studio was the 'Sell Out vs Sold Out' mindset; aimed to strike a balance between maximizing ticket sales and delivering a rewarding and highly sought-after experience for attendees. Based on our guiding principles, this solution felt like the optimal choice for the event.
The Happily Creative Studio and Creative Director established a unique event identity and brand expression for the summit. By reimagining the existing brand assets and introducing fresh elements like vibrant colors, bespoke event logos, and captivating iconography, we elevated the overall visual identity to make a lasting impression. Through close collaboration with the VC Platform team, we developed a clean design style that resonated with their audience. Inspired by the team's profound industry insights, we centered the design concept on the idea of rediscovering one's network, infusing the entire visual narrative with a sense of connectivity and engagement.
Convene offers a cutting-edge environment filled with immersive elements, screens and digital totems, providing an ideal canvas for our Creative Studio. The standout feature was the awe-inspiring 270-degree digital screen, known as 'The Ribbon', located in the Grand Hall. We maximized The Ribbon’s potential with custom motion graphics, carefully crafted compositions, and bespoke creative assets tailored specifically for this remarkable display. By recruiting a seasoned Creative Director with a successful track record in spearheading Apple product launches, we leveraged their expertise as a motion graphic designer to maximize the potential of environmental technology. This strategic hiring decision not only allowed us to harness cutting-edge technological advancements, but also enabled us to reallocate budget from fabrication and build components, redirecting it towards other key areas of the project.
The Happily Web Studio crafted a custom microsite specifically for the summit, acting as the central hub for all summit-related activities. Its seamless registration process generated an overwhelming response, leading to a significant number of registrations. Moreover, the microsite functioned as a comprehensive information resource, providing detailed session schedules, speaker profiles, and FAQs, consolidating all essential information for attendees in one centralized platform.
Happily also coordinated a customized event app that offered attendees a seamless experience. This user-friendly app from EventMobi provided easy access to essential information, including an interactive agenda and venue maps, ensuring that participants could navigate the event easily. The app offered a valuable feature of sending timely reminders for program items, keeping attendees informed and engaged throughout the proceedings. Additionally, event organizers could effectively communicate with all participants by delivering important announcements directly through the app, enhancing overall communication.
The Happily Broadcast Studio convinced the event committee to take a bold approach by ditching the traditional stage setup and opting for a captivating ‘Theatre in the Round’ concept in the Grand Hall, marking a pivotal highlight of the production.
This innovative decision created a dramatic focal point with the stage at the center. As we like to think of it, Happily brought a literal platform to VC Platform and made that the focal point. Speakers were able to freely move around, facilitating intimate conversations among panelists, and provided an enveloping experience with an immersive 360° view complemented by The Ribbon. By embracing the 'Theatre in the Round' concept, we fostered a strong sense of community among the audience as they faced each other and actively engaged with those around them, breaking away from the traditional stage-facing-audience setup. Embracing the bold and unconventional 'Theatre in the Round' concept aligned with our guiding principles for this community.
To elevate the viewing experience across different areas, our Broadcast Team implemented a strategic approach using video feeds from the Grand Hall. These video feeds served three purposes: providing alternate angles of the round stage on ‘The Ribbon’, displaying content on screens in overflow spaces within the venue, and enabling remote viewing through a dedicated webstream. By leveraging the remote controlled cameras available at the Convene venue, we successfully maximized seating capacity while eliminating the need for floor camera operators. Throughout the process, our Broadcast Studio kept the guiding principle of prioritizing the onsite experience for attendees at the forefront of all decision-making.
VC Platform Global Summit 2023 far exceeded my expectations. From gorgeous views at the Google office on opening night to career-specific talk tracks and a couple of free books (that I'll get to after finishing Closing the Equity Gap), my favorite part by far was the people and the culture this profession has. The level of openness and friendliness was unmatched, even with complete strangers from as far as New Zealand, Japan, and Israel; for 60% of attendees, this was their first time joining. As an event planner, I want to say that this was extremely well done, VC Platform board and team! Can't wait for next year.
The VC Platform Global Summit presented a remarkable challenge that required innovative thinking and strategic decision-making in a tight timeframe of just a few months. With a strong commitment to the guiding principles that reflected the essence of the community, Happily successfully partnered with VC Platform to elevate the flagship event. The summit witnessed an unprecedented turnout, with 480+ attendees, making it the largest VC Platform Global Summit to date. It also boasted the highest number of breakout sessions ever, captivating participants and resulting in instances where room capacities were exceeded due to overwhelming interest.
The feedback from the community following the VC Platform Global Summit 2023 was overwhelmingly positive, exceeding expectations and delivering an unforgettable experience for all attendees. The consensus among participants was clear: this year's summit witnessed a notable improvement in production quality compared to previous years, setting a new standard for excellence. The enhanced production value generated a sense of excitement and anticipation for future events, ensuring that the momentum of success will continue to propel the VC Platform Global Summit forward.
Highlights included the exclusive kickoff celebration at Google's offices located at Pier 57, featuring presentations by notable individuals, including New York Governor Kathy Hochul and Google's Vice President of Global Client Partner, Torrence Boone. Over the course of the three days, the summit delivered on every front, with stunning views, engaging presentations, insightful talk tracks, and valuable resources for the VC Platform community.
One of the most remarkable aspects of the summit was the high percentage of first-time participants, with 60% of attendees joining for the first time. This created an environment brimming with fresh connections and shared experiences. What truly stood out was the incredible people and the vibrant culture that defines the VC Platform profession. The level of openness and friendliness among attendees, even among strangers from different corners of the world, was unparalleled.
What an amazing start to the VC Platform Global Community Summit in New York, with the opening plenary hosted at Google’s Pier 57 and guest speakers NY Governor Kathy Hochul and ESD Commissioner Hope Knight! We are now a community of nearly 2000 people across a variety of #vcplatform functions spanning coasts and continents 🙌! Platform as a role in Venture Capital attracts tinkerers, problem solvers, dreamers, and certainly doers. To see this strength (and growth) in numbers is absolutely inspiring 💯! #people #innovation #venturecapital #community #growth