Fora Events and Community — Case Study — ORBIT’20 Online Conference

For many startups during the pandemic, it was the same sad story — teams stranded by lockdowns and members or clients left without the usual value they had come to expect for their money, and income on the rocks in an atmosphere of uncertainty. Community became vital, but missing the energy and connection that in-person events always delivered.

Othership (formerly WeCoffee) is a startup connecting freelancers, solopreneurs and remote workers with casual co-working spaces and a community of like-minded peers via monthly membership packages. With travel banned for all but essential journeys and casual workspaces closed, Othership lost its core offering overnight, and indefinitely.

For the survival of the business and the wellbeing of their members, they needed an initiative that would add a different type of value to their membership and build a strong sense of togetherness while apart. A way to replicate the feeling and the invaluable takeaways and connections of their in-person events. This is how the Orbit20 journey started.

Othership partnered with me to consult on, design and execute the conference that was going to reconnect and inspire members, existing and new, in the online environment, within 3 months.

In the ideation phase, we started at the end, visualising the conference itself by answering questions like:

  • If there were no limits, who would speak at the event?
  • If there were no limits, who would attend?
  • What do you want people to leave with, in terms of knowledge, or feelings?
  • Who would your dream event partners be?

In the design phase, decisions were driven by the winds of Othership and guided by the compass of my event and community experience:

  • The conference ran for 3 days, to deliver maximum value to members, with a mix of a panel, 11 skill-shares and 5 networking events
  • Partners included General Assembly, Startups Magazine and SeedLegals to boost event awareness and credibility
  • In addition to recognised thought leaders, I invited speakers from Othership’s own membership, to give back to key figures in the community
  • I extensively researched the online conference platform options to find function and form that aligned with Othership’s requirements
  • I collaborated with founders and creatives to deliver the event branding, promotional campaign and campaign assets across email, web, social and Eventbrite


In the live phase, I provided co-hosting and operational support to ensure transitions were smooth and tech problems were solved swiftly (including one incident of Zoom-bombing — remember when that was a thing?)

The attendee numbers were compelling with more than 700 total registrations and an average of 40 attendees per session.

Ece is the type of community and events manager you want your members to meet on a miserable Monday or when experiencing a problem finding the event (which they won’t if she organised it). Why do I say this, well Ece will always greeting people with a smile and try to help them as if it was solving her own challenge.

Ece is also full of bright ideas as proven when helping us negotiate Covid as a business that previously only engaged in real-life.

– Benjamin Carew — Co-founder & CEO @Othership

Numbers are far from the only measure of success, especially for community events. Orbit20 forged stronger relationships between Othership and its event partners and Othership were able to reinvigorate and re-engage their community in a time of uncertainty.

Our favourite example of this is, a non-member who attended Orbit20 after seeing it advertised through one of its event partners. He’s since been a regular attendee at Othership events, has become an active paid member of the community, collaborated with other members on multiple projects, found new clients through the community and has been spotted advocating loudly and proudly for Othership at in-person events.

Looking for community-centred and connection-driving events consultancy? Let’s chat.