Skip navigation
Screen Shot 2024-04-05 at 12.44.07 PM.png

New Venture Firm to Help Fledgling Event Ideas Take Hold

The chairman of Clarion Events has launched On Deck Ventures to assist entrepreneurs seeking to make a mark in the live-show space.

Greg Topalian has been rather busy lately. Promoted less than two months ago to chairman of Clarion Events, which operates 65 shows across 12 industries, Topalian announced in early April the launch of another firm that will fund and advise entrepreneurs seeking to build new events in either established industries or emerging disciplines.

Screen Shot 2024-04-05 at 12.43.02 PM.pngNamed On Deck Ventures, the new company “is designed for venture investing if someone's at a point where they're looking to raise some money or to obtain strategic advice or board membership for anything from a brand-new startup, to something that’s been running for a few years, to a company in an industry where they think a show would work,” Topalian (in photo) told MeetingsNet. “I'm going to bring my knowledge, my network, and potentially money if that's what they need to help them accelerate their event’s growth. I have been in their shoes and know how challenging, and rewarding, that process can be.”

When asked about which markets are ripe for organic event growth, Topalian said there are two ways of looking at it. First, “high-growth and emerging industries are obviously appealing to us; data infrastructure, artificial intelligence, and sports betting are areas where we have jumped in.” Second, “with established industries, it’s best to focus where there's a high rate of change. One place we see that is in real estate.”

Event style is also an important factor as the new venture firm evaluates potential show partners. “It must be deep into delivering an experience rather than being old-school trade-show,” Topalian noted. Specifically, the firm seeks “shows that have a lot more learning and networking opportunities, and a high experiential quotient.”

On launch day, On Deck Ventures announced its first two strategic partnerships: One with The Fora Group, which operates two events: Ai4 and RETCON; and one with the creators of a coming event called Yotta that will serve the data-technology industry.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.