Letter from April Johnson: Announcing Happied’s $1.6M Pre-Seed Round

With tremendous excitement for the road ahead, I’m thrilled to announce that Happied has closed a $1.6M pre-seed round to transform corporate team, client, and community event planning using data. The round includes participation from HearstLab, Virginia Venture Partners, True Ventures, Alumni Ventures, High Street Equity, OmniDollar, and Daren Cotter.

Together with the investment received through the Techstars MN Twins Accelerator in February 2022, Happied’s total funding now stands at $1.72M.

From Our Investors:

Eve Burton, Hearst EVP and HearstLab Chairwoman:

“We are delighted to welcome Happied to HearstLab and look forward to helping this innovative company reimagine how in-person and virtual events are planned and executed at scale.  Their platform helps companies delight and inspire employees and clients as they create new definitions of community that help retain talent and increase sales.”

Myles Grote, OmniDollar:

“As co-founder of a tech scale-up, I have firsthand experience of how difficult it is to properly invest in engagement through social events. Most founders have no idea how big they are missing by under-investing in this key area. As a result of my experience, I was quickly aligned on April and Sharon’s vision for the company which made it an incredibly easy decision for Omnidollar to partner with this brilliant team.”

Happied’s Fundraising Journey:

I started my founder journey in June 2018, quitting my job as a corporate real estate attorney to take the plunge full time into entrepreneurship. I met my co-founder, Sharon, in February 2019. A little over 3 years later, we closed our first institutional round.

When I left my job in 2018, I purposely avoided fundraising. As a Black woman, I had heard so many horror stories and statistics around the lack of access to capital for founders of color. As a result, I focused on building significant traction before seeking investment and even considered scaling Happied without raising. Happied made $1M in 2021 revenue before we raised a single dollar of outside capital. Sharon and I got our hands dirty learning what stakeholders wanted, selling to enterprise customers, and building the team to create an innovative solution to our customers’ event planning needs. It was at this point we decided to raise capital to fuel more rapid growth: to hire, build out our technology, expand in-person event experiences, and pursue growth marketing. I’m incredibly proud of the success we’ve had in closing our round, and I’m fortunate to have found a team of power investors that are super passionate about the future of Happied. However, I’d be remiss not to note the inequities, systemic biases, and microaggressions that permeate venture capital.

I share this in hope that we will continue to elevate the conversation around inequitable access to capital. Having gone from self-funded, super scrappy, spent-all-my-savings founder to venture backed, I can tell you that the financial, social, and thought capital that comes with investment have a tremendous impact on success and scalability. The impact of the ability to test things, actually invest in R&D, and call on the vested support of folks who have actually accomplished this seemingly impossible thing you’re trying to do can’t be overstated. We need to make sure more Black founders have this opportunity.

The Pivots:

It’s no surprise that startups are filled with pivots and challenges, and Happied has definitely had its fair share. COVID had an undeniable impact on Happied, but it was during that time that we were reminded of the unnecessarily burdensome process companies use to plan, manage and execute their corporate events. Through it all, we’ve remained steadfast on our mission to make authentic connections through social events frictionless, more efficient, and more meaningful using technology.

After working closely with over 180 clients including Google, Match.com, and Webflow, we keyed in on what’s most important to the stakeholders planning these events. Simultaneously, we continued to develop systems to streamline the administrative processes of booking, planning, and managing corporate events. The result is the new Happied platform that will transform the way companies approach event planning within their organization.

The Product:

Happied’s core software uses automation to ideate, plan, book, and manage exceptionally engaging corporate events. With data, we drastically reduce the friction involved in team, client, and community events. High quality events require design and personalization elements that companies do not have the in-house resources for and technology alone cannot fulfill. Happied solves for this by coupling our software with our talented in-house event planners. The result is a software platform that essentially becomes your company’s outsourced event planning team, helping companies save time and money on their events while improving the quality of their experiences.

Crucial to our software is the ability to learn from the company stakeholder as well as the event attendees. Happied gets better with each event planned as we gather and incorporate feedback from attendees. That feedback will ultimately be presented back to the company stakeholder on their Happied dashboard, allowing them to understand how their events impact company culture, team morale, client retention and more. We’re proud to empower companies to meet their attendees wherever they may be located, enabling them to seamlessly plan exceptional in-person, online, hybrid, and metaverse events.


First, to my co-founder, Sharon (or as I call her the “make-it-happen wizard”), thank you for always pushing through even when the road has been tough, holding me accountable, and bringing your contagious spirit to work every single day. It has been an absolute joy to build alongside you. Who would’ve thought we’d go from connecting via a random Instagram DM to growing a company we’re both so passionate about together.

It goes without saying that Happied wouldn’t be where it is without our incredible team. It’s still a bit wild to see Happied go from an idea to a growing company that currently employs 10 amazing people. To the entire Happied team, thank you for believing in our vision. We take hiring very seriously and are proud that each and every member of our team is an absolute superstar.

To our customers, thank you for trusting us with your events, your teams, and your clients. Thank you for allowing us to learn from you and for always being so willing to provide feedback. We know that your reputation can be on the line when you are responsible for planning an event for your group, and we look forward to continuing to make you look good!

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