While the pandemic is dimming prospects for plenty of local businesses, two companies are finding a bit of light amid all the darkness.
Based in White Plains, VeeKast was founded in 2006 by Jamaican-born entrepreneur and former 914INC. Wunderkinds honoree, Donvil Collins. While VeeKast has long been offering a range of video services including branding, promos, and commercial work, recently the company has begun focusing on a fast-growing asset: virtual live performances.
This month, VeeKast launched VirtEventPro, a professional live virtual event production service aimed at helping individuals enjoy all the events they are used to, while avoiding in-person interaction. According to VeeKast, the service can be simultaneously streamed on several platforms, support multiple presenters from different locations, include interactive features, and can even be used for fundraising purposes.
Meanwhile, White Plains-based Hospitality Resource Group (HRG) has teamed up with Corporate Audio Visual Services, based in Elmsford, to develop a new platform that also helps nonprofit organizations hold virtual fundraising events. In a bid to aid area organizations impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, Hospitality Resource Group’s production, event planning, and online management resource will allow nonprofits to remotely engage sponsors and donors online.
“We realize nothing can completely replace the value of live, in-person events,” says HRG partner Robert Sanders. “Over the past few weeks, we have heard from many of our current clients and others in the nonprofit community about their concerns, as they are anxious to remain visible with their supporters during the pandemic. To meet their needs, we worked quickly with our strategic partners Corporate AV and MackTeck Solutions to design a fully integrated event platform to support them.”
This sentiment is echoed by VeeKast’s management, who similarly view their platform as a way to aid those in need. “During these difficult times, I want to offer services that can help businesses and non-profits right now — because now is when they are struggling,” explains VeeKast’s Collins. “Many non-profits rely on their big annual galas for a large chunk of the year’s fundraising. Instead of postponing them, or canceling these events outright, I want them to consider changing them to virtual live events that can be just as fun and engaging. Virtual live events can happen right away, you can engage with your audience, raise necessary funds, and do it all in a high-quality and professional manner, without the high costs of venues, catering, and décor.”
By accommodating multiple presenters on-screen from different locations, VirtEventPro is opening up a world of possibilities ranging from supporting panel discussions to allowing an emcee to host the entire program. Users can even integrate pre-recorded videos into events, such as honoree or in-memoriam reels. HRG’s virtual event platform converts in-person events into seamless digital productions, in which attendees can engage on multiple social media apps and attend a range of events remotely.
“We truly believe this new virtual event partnership will help [area organizations] survive and thrive, and remain viable in the future. It is very encouraging to see innovative companies like these come together to offer nonprofits new event fundraising options, as they need help now, during the crisis, and into the future,” notes Nonprofit Westchester Executive Director Jan Fisher of HRG’s platform.
Meanwhile, VirtEventPro has already proved its effectiveness according to Director of Development at Tarrytown-based nonprofit Volunteer New York! Elisabeth M. Vieselmeyer, CFRE, notes, “VeeKast ensured that the streaming and donation process for Volunteer New York!’s Virtual Volunteer Spirit Awards was flawless. Donvil and his team took the time to understand our vision and determine the best options to make it a reality. We are fortunate to have VeeKast as a partner and highly recommend their VirtEventPro services.”
In addition, VirtEventPro can stream to multiple platforms such as YouTube or Facebook, apply branding options to individualize a customer’s events, allow for interactive participation, and offers full support for pre-recorded videos and editing services. HRG’s platform, meanwhile, comprises a fully integrated system tailored to engaging sponsors, exhibitors, presenters, and other attendees. It all adds up to two services truly redefining the way people gather in the age of coronavirus and, above all, providing a safe way for individuals to connect during a very scary time.