Will Smith and Kevin Hart Invest in Pandemic Proof Startup
Xiaoyin Qu’s calendar is packed these days. From working with Will Smith and Kevin Hart to holding countless events across the world. Back in May, Xiaoyin Qu, a 27-year-old Stanford dropout, added the A-list artists to a chain of huge names willing to fund her virtual events start-up business with 10.8 million dollars. Investors soon requested to help the growth of the technological corona virus-friendly businesses.
Since the launch of Qu’s application in February this year, it has been getting a lot of headlines. Gaining approximately a total of 15 million dollars from shareholders like Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund and venture capital firm, Andreessen Horowitz. The platform has also held about eight thousand virtual events. With its alternative to in-person gatherings, in around 120 countries.
Will Smith and Kevin Hart’s Investment
Xiaoyin Qu never expected how appropriate her application would become in a pandemic lockdown. She felt the sudden rise in demand for virtual events back in February earlier this year. As health concerns around the coronavirus epidemic followed in the cancellation of many major summits. Some of its new investors are not your usual venture capitalists. Run The World also caught the attention of movie star investors. Will Smith and Kevin Hart joined as new backers in the firm.
Qu told CNBC she related with Smith and Hart via her current investors. She said:
“They are passionate about the mission of using online events to connect people and build communities. Both Will and Kevin are visionaries that create content that engages and resonates with people. We believe their guidance can be very critical for Run The World to create this new category of engaging online events that the world is seeing for the first time.”
The company was founded as a solution for people like Qu’s mother in June of 2019. Upon talking to CNBC, she said:
“That’s why I started the company. I was really thinking about are there ways to help people like my mom…”
Qu’s inspiration was her mother
What inspired Qu was when her mother, a pediatric neurologist from the city of Qingdao. She traveled to a conference held in Chicago. There she had the fortune of meeting with a doctor who helped her discover a rare cure for her patient. This was the first time Qu’s mother attended an overseas conference in her career of 35 years. Instantly, she got access to the knowledge and people she had been missing out on. Qu, an entrepreneur with 7 failed entrepreneurial ideas behind her, got her inspiration from this experience of her mother. She said:
“That’s why I started the company, I was really thinking about are there ways to help people like my mom, who have expertise in something, meet and meaningfully connect with other doctors who share the same expertise. And I guess I was convinced it had to be online.”
So, Qu got to work, testing with already existing tools like Eventbrite and Wix to hold her very first virtual conference.
Was the start-up a success?
The event was a successful one. It brought in 30,000 dollars in ticket sales and 300 online attendees. From as far afield as Spain, Kuwait, and India. It gave the entrepreneur the conviction she needed.
In the following months, her co-founder Xuan Jiang and Qu began storming up. Building out a team and developing their own platform. To host everything in one place, with additional perks like meet-and-greets and happy hours.
But the true significance of the platform became apparent earlier this year. When the coronavirus pandemic brought in-person events to a virtual standstill. Qu and her team, closing the deal in May, won an additional 10.8 million dollars.