Sequel Will Power the Next Online Video Revolution

The story behind Javelin’s Series A investment

Community Events Management — Hybrid or Virtual — Needs a Makeover

Sequel.io homepage

About two years ago, the world tip-toppled into a virtual realm like no other: large in-person gatherings were federally mandated as a no-go, employees went remote, travel became an anathema, and businesses struggled to develop, engage, and grow core communities.

Video became the marquee medium to connect and communicate. In 2020, 96% of consumers increased their online video consumption, and in 2022 an average person is estimated to spend at least 100 minutes per day on e-videos.

The trend transcended onto commercial applications — businesses shifted their in-person sales and marketing budget onto hosting virtual conferences and webinars, fully relying on the internet to acquire and retain customers.

Communal, live, and engaging video experiences skyrocketed across multiple use cases such as fully remote and hybrid virtual workspaces, conferences, live shopping, and topical persistent communities, such as gaming, crypto, finance, etc. But companies struggled to find the perfect solution that met all their needs across these various use cases — a multi-use-case video tool that could be embedded with no-code in their own native brand format, that was easy to customize and could be set up by a non-technical user within minutes.

Enter Sequel, an integrated SaaS platform that enables organizations to live-host their internal and external audiences natively within their own websites, offering robust features that make e-communication seamless and enjoyable. Sequel can be as easily set up by a marketer as a developer. It includes community engagement features, like chat/polls/Q&A; a usage-based pricing model with lower cost and time to implement; whilst being hyper focused on enterprise-grade security and customer success. The perfect product to empower the next wave of video experiences centered around communities and a new way of working.

Meet Oana: Striving to Power the Next Generation of Community Events

When we were introduced to Oana Manolache (CEO/co-founder) by our good friends at Struck Capital, the phrase we kept coming back to internally is that she is a “force-of-nature.”

Oana Manolache, CEO and co-founder of Sequel.io

Thoughtful, strategic, and on-trend, Oana realized that companies put high value in embedding their proprietary brand experience within their own internal sites for e-conferences, webinars, communities, live shopping, and internal company meetings.

Having spent years at HP as the Americas Marketing Strategy Lead, she directly experienced the problem of needing to scale communities quickly without hampering the overall guest experience.

Oana knew that the best product in this market had to be embeddable by marketing and non-technical teams without developer support.

In addition, the product needs to power a variety of use cases, including one-time conferencing, series of events, managing remote workforces, virtual community building, and more.

Sequel manifests such a solution — easily implementable with no-code in a matter of minutes supporting several different use cases:

Getting To Conviction on Sequel’s Market Leading Position

Broad Go-To-Market Strategy

As we delved deeper into the landscape of companies supporting live communication, it became clear to us that there were gaps in existing solutions that could cater to end-customers of all different sizes.

Either pricing was prohibitive, experience was not embedded, required heavy developer input to customize, or lacked strong community engagement features.

While Zoom and Hopin are leading platforms today, customers noted how these platforms did not fully get the job done on multiple use cases. Zoom is primarily used for small group conversation and requires a lot of in-house production support with no off-stage preparation tools for larger scale events; and Hopin takes native audiences to an external site creating an off-brand customer experience, lacks customization capabilities, and is primarily suited for one off-mega events.

We were immediately drawn to Oana’s vision for a broad go-to-market approach via no-code embed, usage-based pricing, and low-code APIs enabling strong product-led growth of the business. This was a classic “picks and shovels” play that we felt could power the next generation of online video experiences, putting power in the hands of the community, content, and enterprise curators. Upon talking to some of Sequel’s early customers we were blown away by their sophistication on the product and customer success side, and their ability to outperform and win large accounts from a broad base of entrenched competitors.

Fast & Seamless Onboarding for Non-Technical Users

A key value proposition for Sequel is that the platform enables a non-technical user to spin up an event in a matter of minutes.

They are maniacally focused on ease of use and fast implementation times as their primary KPI.

This focus on the non-technical user and ease of implementation convinced us that Sequel could achieve hyper-growth quickly, becoming the leading engine for any company looking to live-host video experiences of all types.

Technically Astute with Best-In-Class CX

During our diligence, customer calls surfaced two additional core benefits of the Sequel platform: their focus on technical astuteness, and best-in-class customer success/support.

Andrei Ermilov, Chief Technology Officer, brings extensive software engineering experience aligned with Sequel’s product and technical needs.

Andrei helped develop marquee technologies at Microsoft and Intel (WebRTC, Typescript, container orchestration on Azure amongst others), and customers highlighted both Andrei’s and the customer success team’s strengths in approachability and rapid response — acutely listening and acting on their core pain points with future product development.

True customer love is hard to garner, and we at Javelin were particularly impressed with Sequel’s ability to do so from the earliest stages of product building.

Growing Community-Focused End Markets

A natural customer focus for Sequel has been companies where building community is a key component of their overall day-to-day operations. In recent years, verticalized online communities have proliferated in sectors like gaming, crypto, fashion, beauty, personal finance, and so many others. Many of them want to embrace video to have a richer layer of interaction, to deepen bonds, and to keep community members engaged. Sequel is the perfect tool to power these communities and help them scale with video. A non-technical leader/entrepreneur can focus on their core strengths of community building, while Sequel handles the rest.

For example, gaming social network Ritual Motion, utilizes Sequel to power everyday communications and information with its gamers, allowing Ritual Motion to focus on other value-additive business aspects. Sequel being core to operational layers of businesses in rapidly growing sectors like gaming, crypto, live shopping, personal finance, is something we are extremely excited about.

Looking Ahead

Going forward, even in a post-pandemic world, we believe customers will sustain hybrid events and online communities will become even more prevalent across a variety of sectors.

Hybrid experiences allow for larger scalability/reach of attendees, as well as deliver informational and marketing content more efficiently with a lower cost.

Further, demand will continue to grow across vertical community/creator economy use cases and continued recurring user engagement via video will be key in driving growth for all companies.

When we invest, we always ask ourselves, how is this company going to help people and work for them? There is little doubt in our minds that if Oana and Andrei succeed in their vision, Sequel will be a tool that unlocks human connectivity and productivity across professional and interest-based communities and becomes a category defining company in the process.

We are ecstatic to lead Sequel’s Series A, and to partner with Oana, Andrei, and the Sequel team on their journey for years to come!

— Alex Gurevich and Tasnia Huque

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Javelin VP

Early stage venture capital with the culture of a start-up and the spirit of die hard entrepreneurs