With COVID-19 restrictions still in place around the world, the need for virtual events is more apparent than ever. Numerous platforms have stepped up in an effort to fill the void with a variety of features from Facebook’s paid online events and Instagram’s announcement of monetization in IGTV to LinkedIn’s introduction of virtual events into pages. One thing is clear from this flurry of updates — these options are here to stay and will likely be utilized long after the pandemic is behind us.
Today, Google is getting involved and providing more tools in this space through an expanded launch of its Fundo virtual events platform aimed to help creators and brands seamlessly schedule and host events through simplified organization and promotional tools.
Creating meaningful experiences online
Originally developed in 2018 by Google’s Area 120 incubator, Fundo began as a tool to allow YouTube creators a way to organize host paid, ticketed virtual meet-and-greet events. Following a beta launch last summer for several hundred testers including fitness instructors, business and lifestyle consultants, Fundo is now available for anyone to use and can be leveraged for a variety of cases including workout and cooking classes and workshops.
“Over the past year, many parts of life had to move online and become virtual. While we didn’t build Fundo specifically because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the mission of creating meaningful experiences online is even more important today,” shared John Gregg, General Manager at Fundo in the official announcement.
The one-on-one focus is an important way for creators to host an intimate event with a single individual or small group while workshops are an important feature during a time when small businesses including are facing substantial obstacles. Outside of presenting more ways to spread the word and share content, the option adds greater flexibility in which creators can schedule an event in advance, or let fans request a time and have the option to bring in co-hosts or special guests.
“In 2020, a lot of things are online,” Gregg said in a separate statement to Variety. “We’re not exclusive for YouTube creators. We think it provides value to any kind of creator… There are lots of different ways it can be used.”
Taking the complexity out of virtual events
A primary goal of Fundo is to take the headache out of hosting a virtual event, especially when you’re dealing with a ticketed experience. Through a single end-to-end platform, creators and businesses can schedule their event, manage sign-up and payment processes, communicate details about the livestream, and more.
There are no apps for external software necessary for Fundo: Event hosts and their guests access everything on the site through a special-purpose video-chat system separate from YouTube. A fan favorite feature? The built-in “photo booth” feature, in which each attendee gets a photo with a creator-customized frame.
Hosts are in control of the price to sign up and any discounts and whether they want a given event to be free, though Google takes a 20 percent cut of revenue generated per Gregg. Furthermore, some creators using YouTube Channel Memberships are able to offer Fundo Meet & Greets exclusively to channel members as a premium perk. To help fuel cross-channel promotion, Fundo users are able to create an account including their other social media profile details, as well as a personalized URL for easier access.
Safety and discoverability
Fans are able to find events happening on Fundo through the home page, or through links that their creators share. Once they’ve chosen an event iall they simply have to do is answer a few basic questions, and complete a ticket purchase. Fundo manages everything else including generating the event link and sending reminders leading up to the event. The platform also provides technical support if it is needed.
While Fundo prides itself on putting creators in control of their event, safety is also a top priority. To support in this regard, Fundo checks every event guest’s ticket and monitors for reporting and flagging of potentially harmful or abusive content
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