Media

Webinars aren’t dead yet, says BrightTalk and its $20.5M round

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BrightTalk, a webinar marketing company, received $20.5 million today because evidently webinars aren’t boring anymore.

The funding comes from North Bridge Growth Equity for a minority stake in the company.

Webinars are inherently a dry topic. You watch or listen to a person talk about their product or company for a half hour and look at PowerPoint slides in the meantime. Technology today allows for collaborative, exciting ways of presenting knowledge, even in consumer entities such as Google+’s Hangout feature, but webinars seem to remain in the Stone Age of static earnings call hell.

But BrightTalk sees a future for webinars: marketing.

“The platform we’ve built is a webinar video platform that’s used by marketers so they can get their content … distributed to the widest possible audience,” said Paul Heald, chief executive and co-founder of BrightTalk in an interview with VentureBeat.

The product is thus a place where company leaders can upload their webinars, show off their “thought leadership” and supply context for their industry wisdom. Currently, BrightTalk allows these leaders and their marketing arms to add in supplemental materials and distributes the full package amongst the community of business folk who make up BrightTalk’s audience.

BrightTalk will soon introduce social features to the mix with the goal of providing rich and engaging content. Webinar participants will be able to interact on what was once a very unidirectional piece of content. Heald hopes that with the social and supplemental materials along with the webinar itself, BrightTalk will become a content distributor as opposed to just a webinar distributor.

Heald says the biggest industries BrightTalk serves are the technology and financial services industries.

“These are industries where the knowledge frontier is moving very quickly. Companies need to get their thought leaders on their feet … and talking to their audience on a regular basis,” said Heald.

BrightTalk was founded in 2002 and is located in San Francisco, New York and London.

[Photo courtesy of NinaMalyna/Shutterstock]