Cvent Holding Corp. on Thursday began trading on Nasdaq following a digital makeover aimed at retooling the 22-year-old event-management software company for the age of video conferences and virtual meetings.
The move comes five years after the former public company was acquired by Vista Equity Partners for $1.65 billion and taken private. In July, Cvent agreed to merge with Dragoneer Growth Opportunities Corp. II, a special-purpose acquisition company, returning to the public market with a valuation of roughly $5.3 billion. Early investors include Fidelity Management and Research Co., Hedosophia, Oaktree Capital Management and virtual-conferencing giant Zoom Video Communications, the company said.
Based in Tysons Corner, Va., Cvent has roughly 21,000 customers worldwide and about 4,000 employees, the company said. Until recently, it focused primarily on providing cloud-based software designed to help organizers manage live events, including venue selection, registration and onsite check in, among other tools.
But like many companies, the onset of Covid-19 forced Cvent to pivot online and re-tailor its technology to better serve a fast-growing virtual market.
“Our product strategy changed,” said David Quattrone, Cvent’s co-founder and chief technology officer. Before the pandemic, he said, more than 95% of the company’s revenue was focused on in-person events. “When the pandemic hit in 2020, the entire world shifted to virtual,” he said. In response, the company embarked on a full reconstruction of its platform, adding updated tools and functionality geared toward remote events.
Cvent was an early adopter of a software as a service, subscription-based model in which software is delivered to users online or in the cloud.
For organizations and vendors focused only on in-person events, the pandemic was a shocking wake-up call, said Adam Preset, a research vice president at IT research and consulting firm Gartner Inc.
But even for tech firms that already offered a mix of face-to-face and virtual events, the swift transition was jarring, he said. “Demand for virtual events was high, which meant that sometimes some providers were turning business away because their pipelines were full in the panic and rush to virtual,” Mr. Preset said.
Sales in the global virtual-events market, which hit $94 billion in 2020, are expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 23.7% over the next seven years, according to market analyst Grand View Research.
Cvent last month reported $134.1 million in total revenue for the quarter ended September 30, an increase of 13.1% from the same period a year earlier. Revenue from Event Cloud, its main software platform, was up 27.2% to $92.5 million, the company said.
“From a tech perspective, the pandemic accelerated trends we were already seeing—and planning for—with our pipeline of investments and redesigns,” Mr. Quattrone said. “It really was a complete pivot from the in-person focus we had been used to for more than two decades.”
He expects the market to continue to evolve over the next few years. If 2020 and 2021 were all about virtual, 2022 will be all about hybrid or a blend of both in-person and virtual experiences, he said. “The fact of the matter is, no matter how the industry decides to meet in the future, we’ll be there.”