How Sapphire Ventures Increased Virtual Registrations By 437% With Bizzabo


Sapphire Ventures was founded in 1996 as a venture capital firm. With over $4 billion in assets, the firm “helps entrepreneurs build companies with [their] demonstrated expertise, value-add services, global reach, and entrepreneurial values.”

Sapphire Ventures started the CIO Network as a way to connect enterprise decision makers with promising startups. Their goal is to give emerging technologies the chance to get valuable feedback and meaningful investments while allowing CIO’s and other investment decision makers to “identify new and emerging technology that they should be looking out for to help them solve their business issues.”

Six years ago, Sapphire Ventures launched their first CIO Summit. The annual event brings together Global 2000 CIO’s and CEO’s of startup companies, as well as other venture capital firms. They convene for a day and a half of intimate conversations about the future of technology and valuable networking opportunities.


“The biggest differentiator was that [Bizzabo] had more end-to-end flow – from registration to website development to day of attendee management and interactive features, all the way into reporting – all seamlessly integrated.”

— Scott Brown
Vice President of Marketing, Sapphire Ventures


About their Event

Main Points of Contact

Scott Brown — Vice President, Marketing, Sapphire Ventures


Sapphire Ventures




Palo Alto, CA


Venture Capital

Favorite Features

On-Demand, Registration Management, Analytics

Number of Events Per Year


Types of Events They Plan

CIO Network Conferences


Due to COVID, Sapphire decided to move their flagship event, the annual CIO Summit, online. Making major changes to an event that was more than 12 months in the works was an immense task to take on.

One of Sapphire’s biggest value adds for their CIO Network is exposure to leading technologies. The team’s most important goal for the virtual CIO Summit was to keep the CIO network momentum going until they were able to meet in person again. They were concerned that the relationship with their buyer network would decline if they weren’t able to produce a high-touch event in more than 18 months. Sapphire needed to find a way to create a value add experience in a virtual environment.

At first, it seemed like an easy shift. However, the team quickly started seeing the issues other events were having – from lack of engagement and “network outage issues to hour long sessions online that nobody could pay attention to.” Sapphire realized that they needed a platform that could scale to the size and quality that their Global 2000 executives had come to expect.

They were looking for a simple, plug-and-play model where they could manage every aspect of their event in one place. Sapphire went through six formal RFP’s before eventually choosing Bizzabo.

Event Session - - Sapphire Ventures Case Study

Solution: Streamlining Event Operations and Creating Valuable Time Savings

The team’s most important need was finding an end-to-end solution that would save them time and energy while supporting a high-quality event.

Sapphire used multiple features of Bizzabo’s platform that saved them both time and effort. For example, with instantaneous updating, they could make changes once and it would pre-populate in all instances of their event website. “We were making updates on the fly, or we’d get a new headshot from a speaker and be able to populate it right away. And that just streamlined our ability to put a high quality experience into market.” By only having to make changes once, Scott and his team were able to effectively use their time to focus on creating a valuable event that delivered a great attendee experience.


“If I had to highlight an area that was a big time savings, it was the attendee class management. We were inviting different audiences: startup CEOs, Global 2000 executives, other venture investors. And being able to see how that audience breakdown was coming in, in real time was extremely valuable.”

— Scott Brown
Vice President of Marketing, Sapphire Ventures


The registration and attendee management capabilities also saved the team a lot of time. One of their biggest goals for CIO Summit was to maintain the quality audience that their network is known for. Bizzabo’s registration management allowed them to manage and curate their audience all from one place. While their target audience was CIO’s, attendees were able to invite other team members using a Bizzabo invite link, such as security or engineering, so they could compare takeaways and have an interactive team experience. The team built this invite link to go live during the event, which created a seamless registration experience for both the audience and the Sapphire team.


“I just know that we could not have pulled it off without having that end-to-end. Being able to handle all of the registration, confirmation, and calendar functionality, having all of that be automated was a massive resource savings for us.”

— Scott Brown
Vice President of Marketing, Sapphire Ventures

Solution: Delivering a High-Touch Virtual Experience

Sapphire Ventures’ vision for CIO Summit 2020 was to create a virtual event that maintained the quality audience they were known for while giving the attendees a space to interact with each other and engage with the content. Bizzabo Stream and Simulive allowed the team to create a seamless, quality experience by pre-recording their content and streaming it live to their audience.


“We decided to go with Simulive, which actually worked out really well because we were able to pre-record all the video content and make it broadcast quality, make it really engaging, and hit those tight time marks. And that ultimately drove a lot of the success we had.”

— Scott Brown
Vice President of Marketing, Sapphire Ventures


The team also used Bizzabo’s on-demand capabilities to drive even more views and cater to their international audience. Sapphire Ventures typically has 10% international attendees at their in-person events, but an impressive 30% of the audience at this year’s virtual event was international. They attribute this to both the virtual environment as well as Bizzabo’s on-demand features. During the live event, Sapphire had 400 on-demand sessions. Attendees were able to listen to the sessions no matter where in the world they were located, at their convenience. As Scott put it, “The on-demand functionality became very valuable because people were able to do some catch-up viewing while the show was live, and then post event we’ve gone ahead and turned that live for on-demand registration.”

On Demand Registration - Sapphire Ventures Case Study

Solution: Surfacing Meaningful Insights with Data Analytics

Scott and his team also valued being able to measure their event success using Bizzabo’s analytics capabilities. The team felt confident in pulling their own reports and were able to see deep audience analytics and answer questions about what was happening in real-time.


“The real-time analytics, being able to see how people day of were actually responding and engaging was really valuable, because my team was in real-time slacking me asking, ‘How many people do we have on, what’s going on, what are they watching?’”

— Scott Brown
Vice President of Marketing, Sapphire Ventures


The intuitive tools made it easy for the Sapphire to compare their event metrics to the KPI’s and event goals they set out to achieve. They initially were targeting 750 virtual attendees with 40% (300 people) tuning in live, hypothesizing that many people would watch the on-demand. They surpassed their goal with 802 registrants and 42% (337 people) of attendees watching at least one live session. In fact, attendees watched an average of three sessions each, exceeding their goal of two live sessions per person. Attendees were also highly engaged, staying through 80% of each session. The team also attributes this success to their decision to deliver content in smaller, bite-sized sessions.

The team was able to capture real-time data before, during, and even after their event. Virtual events offer a larger opportunity to understand event success using data. Sapphire Ventures realized how much more information they could gather by hosting their event online, and used Bizzabo’s data capabilities to surface that information.


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