Inside the deal to create The Arinex Group

(L-R) Arinex CEO Nicole Walker and Joyn CEO Jordan Walsh.

Last week’s news of Arinex and Joyn combining to create new entity The Arinex Group marked the biggest deal in the Australian business event industry post pandemic.

On the surface the two companies seemed comfortable in their own lanes, but as Arinex CEO Nicole Walker and Joyn co-founder and CEO Jordan Walsh explain, their working partnership proved to be more than the sum of their individual parts.

“The deal has been done over a lot of cups of coffee for quite some time,” says Nicole.

“We started to work together at the end of 2019 on a lot of events and it became pretty apparent that the technology that Arinex offered as well as the event management services complemented Joyn’s technology offering really well.”

Joyn’s journey started in 2018 as Iconic Live, an AV and production company servicing many types of events but in particular medical conferences. The company rebranded to Delegate Connect in 2020 with its rapid expansion and evolving in-house technology products tailored to the association sector attracting the attention of some big names in the investment world including the private fund of Atlassian co-founder Scott Farquhar.

The pandemic also accelerated the company’s global growth across both Europe and the US prompting another rebrand to Joyn last September.

“It was a case of right place at the right time with the right things,” says Jordan.

“We moved really quickly with people using technology for events. We had some big contracts prior to that, including with Arinex, so it was a moment that allowed us to continue to build quickly what clients wanted and put technology at the forefront of planners’ minds.”

Fast forward to the start of 2023 and Nicole and Jordan began exploring the possibility of combining the two companies.

“There were great synergies and we started working on API integrations between the products and working on international and national events together,” says Nicole.

“The conversations organically evolved to ‘why are we doing this separately’ as it makes a lot more sense if we can consolidate and work together on the strategies and objectives that we both commonly share.”

Those conversations evolved until last week when the announcement of new company The Arinex Group was made.

Nicole will assume the role of Group CEO and will join the Group Board, while Jordan takes on the position of Group Executive Chairman, with Joyn rebranding as Arinex Live.

“We had a lot of discussions about this [the new name] and it became really clear that everyone in the industry knows that the Arinex brand is rich with heritage,” says Walsh.

“They have just celebrated their 50th anniversary, the brand is so well regarded globally and what we decided to do was take on the Arinex brand with a twist.”

While both arms of the company will still focus on their day to day operations with no disruption for their individual clients, the broader vision is one of true integration.

“I think Jordan and I and our teams are very much aligned with just wanting to be best in class in everything that we do,” says Nicole.

“We want to disrupt that and harness what we experienced during Covid that were beneficial and had potential. Rather than seeing technology as a threat to the business events industry we want to showcase that fact we can utilise [it] to provide better and greater solution to our clients, greater revenue generations for associations and events and a better user experience across the whole association membership offering.”

Jordan says he is now focused “heavily” on technology and innovation, with two new products set to launch later this year that will help solve “the genuine problems” that event planners face every day.

“We are really excited about our ability to build technology solutions that focus on the day-to-day pain points that events and event managers feel,” he says.

“It is such an amazing opportunity to have a world renowned Australian PCO in the same company as a technology company that is able to work really quickly and efficiently and build solutions to those problems that everyone is currently facing.”

Jordan also says the rapid rate of progress in AI and machine learning offers up some exciting new opportunities.

“There is a lot of noise around AI and machine learning but under that noise there is genuine opportunity to utilise those technologies to help the industry, clients and delegates actually solve some of those pain points,” he says.

“We are incredibly excited about what the future holds.”