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2021 ohyay event highlights.

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Since our beta launch a year ago, we’ve seen thousands of virtual events come to life on ohyay, from award ceremonies to film festivals to conferences.

We laughed and cried at ohyay’s first wedding, jammed on clapping reactions 👏 as hundreds of Stanford Engineering graduates crossed the ohyay stage, produced a virtual art auction that raised over $56,000 for BIPOC students, designed a custom arcade escape room for SIGGRAPH, and so much more.

We couldn’t have pushed the limits of virtual and hybrid experiences without our community of creators who learned ohyay inside-and-out and produced events for some of the world’s most creative organizations. 

Below, discover some top highlights from our events and community this past year and hear from our event partners themselves.

Biggest Events

Over 10k students from 120 countries: Stanford’s Code in Place Program 

“From our first viewing of ohyay and its unique platform for designing virtual experiences, we knew we had found the home base we were looking for. The flexible tools in ohyay allowed us to design a delightful custom classroom bespoke to the unique needs of Code In Place.” -Julie Zelenski, Senior Lecturer in Computer Science, Stanford University

10k visitors: BTS fan art gallery celebrating BTS leader Kim Nam-joon (RM)'s birthday

"Ohyay is great in that it's an immersive platform but compared to other virtual spaces, it does not require that much bandwidth, which was important because not everyone in the world has high speed internet access." -D. Yvette Wohn, Ph.D., Associate Professor at NJIT and Director of the Social Interaction Lab

Read Yvette's blog post to learn why and how she designed the fan gallery on ohyay.


10k visitors: Music Rising guitar gallery showcasing over 30 famous guitars and their stories

"With ohyay, we created communal, experiential, and inclusive virtual spaces for music fans around the world. We allowed people to experience an online auction like never before and connect with their favorite artists on a new level.” -The Edge, U2's lead guitarist and Co-Founder of Music Rising


Over 3k unique ohyay views and 15k Twitter + LinkedIn Streams: Snap's DEI Summit


Over 2k students: Stanford's Treehacks hackathon

Students navigated into different challenge areas from this ohyay map.

Conference Highlights 

Dozens of conferences were hosted on ohyay, including: 

ACM International Conference on Interactive Media Experiences (IMX)

A talk in IMX 2021's virtual NYC-themed setting with a live ASL interpreter.

Association of Film Commissioners International (AFCI) Cineposium 

“Over a three-day period, a few hundred AFCI members and their staff were offered 18 unique panels and discussions by film industry professionals, in addition to a 24/7 ‘Social Central,’ where they could have casual and chance meetings with fellow members from around the world.” -Taylor Bibat, Ohyay Creator and AFCI Event Producer

Bas van der Ree, Head of the Netherlands Film Commission, presents at AFCI.

Aspen Forum for the Future of Higher Education

“The closest analog to the experience was attending an excellent Off-Broadway play. There were great individual performances, a relaxed familiarity, the buzz of live action, and new ideas to think about when over.” -Joel Meyerson, Director of the Aspen Forum

Computation + Journalism Conference, hosted by Northeastern University and the Brown Institute

Landing page for guests at the C+J Conference.

Escape room and social events at SIGGRAPH

“We wanted to design daily social hours and even an escape room, which was only possible with ohyay’s authoring tools. Attendees were able to enjoy a unique, immersive experience in the world of retro gaming, while making new connections and solving puzzles." -Ana Cecilia Balliache Liendo, Attendee Experience Chair, SIGGRAPH

A team of four completes the retro arcade-inspired escape room experience at SIGGRAPH 2021.

HBES’ “Virtually Everywhere” Conference

“Academic conferences provide an important venue for scientists to actively engage with their research community. For this reason, ohyay was the obvious choice for us. It was interactive, engaging, and afforded the same flexibility as in-person conferences.” -Coren Apicella, UPenn professor and co-producer of “Virtually Everywhere”

Keynote address by anthropologist and primatologist Richard Wrangham, complete with Wrangham reaction emojis.

Institute For the Future’s Ten-Year Forecast Summit

“We didn’t just build an event on ohyay. We built a social computer with conditions and tagging. We were blown away by our ability to design for emergent social interactions, which is the main thing missing from other highly transactional tools.” -Toshi Hoo, Emerging Media Lab Director at IFTF

NYC Media Lab Summit 2021: “Future Imperfect”

NYC Media Lab’s “Engaging the Immersive Future” Conference

“The NYC Media Lab is a university consortium based at NYU. We’re on the cutting edge of tech and media, so we work to be both provocative and playful. With that in mind, ohyay very much fit within our mission and voice. While most other platforms felt flat and one-dimensional, ohyay felt modern and youthful.” -Steve Rosenbaum, Executive Director, NYC Media Lab

Snap’s Club Unity Summit

Theatre Washington Summit

“The freedom to quickly and easily navigate into different rooms made ohyay feel similar to an IRL conference and alleviated the feeling of being ‘stuck’ that is so pervasive in virtual spaces. For many guests, it was the first time they experienced an emotional reaction to a virtual event.” -Ryan Anderson, Ohyay Creator and Theatre Washington Event Producer 

Opening session at Theatre Washington with over 100 people in the audience.

World Health Network’s Global Summit to End Pandemics

Art, Theater, and Film Event Highlights 

Catalina Film Festival

Photo booth fun at Catalina Film Festival.

CURRENTS New Media 2021

Local Live(s) Live Storytelling Shows with the Chicago Sun Times and VTDigger

“Part of our mission is to bring journalists closer together to the communities they serve. For us, ohyay was a compelling way to build a space that incorporated cultural landmarks that were specific to our crowd's geography.” -Tay Glass, Local Live(s)

Hosts McCardle Hankin and Chicago Sun Times journalist Anne Costabile at Local Live(s)' kickoff storytelling event.

Netherlands Film Festival

“We were looking for a not-too-formal way of gathering international participants at our online event and a playful interface to present, discuss, host, and interact. The recognizable Dutch aspects of the visuals worked really well to replicate the feeling of our offline event in The Netherlands in a virtual setting.” -Jordi Wijnalda, Netherlands Film Festival 

Amsterdam-themed rooms at the Netherlands Film Festival.

Nineties Lab (Dutch theater group)’s first production

“We built our own little ohyay village with bars, a theatre, and an escape room as a home base from which to stream live theater. People were getting pretty bored of typical theatre streams and really were in awe of how fun we made our environment.” -Marcel Harteveld, Nineties Lab 

OCAD University’s “Project 31: New Futures” Art Auction

“We wanted to fuel friendly on-screen competition and set up a space where the auctioneer could engage directly and personally with the bidders. It was incredible to see how quickly our guests picked up our bidding mechanisms and adapted to the virtual experience.” -Bobby Hrehoruk, Manager of Special Projects for OCAD

Pioneer Works’ Second Sundays Exhibition

Exploring a virtual recreation of Pioneer Works' IRL space in Brooklyn.

SoHo Playhouse’s “The Box Show” and “Edgar Allen” 

“I was looking for a fun and inventive way for my online audience to interact with us and each other. Ohyay did exactly that by allowing us to create our ‘virtual theater’ with a unique look and feel for all of our streams. I had many of the online patrons get back to me with comments about how much fun and how creative our virtual world was.” -Britt Lafield, SoHo Playhouse

Virtual lobby at SoHo Playhouse's ohyay theater.

“We wanted to create an engaging experience for attendees of our live virtual concerts that would let them share the concert experience with other people and to meet up with artists after a show. The ability to customize and craft so many aspects of a virtual event have made it possible for us to create a really high-quality audience experience that matches the quality of the concerts we present.” -Adrian Cho, Creative Director,'s virtual jazz club.

TM, recurring production by Belgian theatre group Ontroerend Goed

“The key to Alexander Devriendt’s production are open questions that are universal but feel personal. After logging on and meeting your fellow audience members (mine were from Denmark, Belgium and Finland), you’re shown a video full of bright-eyed people singing the praises of an international cult known as TM.” -Journalist Mark Fischer, excerpted from The Guardian’s “TM review – will you be approved to join an international cult?”

An ohyay scene during a personalized TM production.

Tribeca Film Festival 

Virtual line outside of Tribeca's ohyay venue, which included stage, panel, and custom social spaces.

Women’s Event Highlights 

Three Women Working F-ing Hard Salons, hosted by SNL Producer Lindsay Shookus and Financial Advisor Kristin O'Keeffe Merrick

Lindsay Shookus, journalist Brooke Baldwin, and Kristen O'Keeffe Merrick talk about Brooke's bestselling book, "Huddle: How Women Unlock Their Collective Power."

The Prosp(a)rity Project’s 35*2 Financial Empowerment Conference

“Ohyay was extremely easy to learn and use. We were able to filter through existing rooms and then customize specific features to cater towards our audience and highlight our branding.” - Jhane Harris, The Prosp(a)rity Project

Black Creek Group Women's Summit

Panel at The Women's Network at Black Creek's summit.

Education Highlights 

Throughout 2021, ohyay was used by dozens of universities, including CMU, Harvard, Stanford, the University of Washington, and UPenn.

We ran the most events and classes — from orientations to PhD visits to admit parties — with three of our university partners: Berkeley, Stanford, and Columbia. Stanford’s Computer Science department used ohyay the most frequently, hosting several classes, the Code in Place program, and even their department graduation on the platform. Additionally, Columbia’s Architecture School, GSAPP, graduated over 500 students on ohyay.

“Our primary interest in ohyay is the ability to create a space for gathering that is both personal (as in custom) and less rigid than a grid of squares. Since our virtual commencement, which was wildly successful, GSAPP has continued to use ohyay for student events as well as alumni events.” -Lyla Catellier, Columbia GSAPP

Another highlight was the launch of Vietnam-based education startup CoderSchool on ohyay. CoderSchool Co-Founder Charles Lee found ohyay through Code in Place and decided to bring all of the startup’s classes onto the platform. TechCrunch reported that after switching to a fully online learning program, the company recorded 100% quarter-over-quarter (QoQ) growth in fully online enrollment.

CoderSchool ohyay classroom.

“When we switched to ohyay from Zoom, teachers were suddenly having fun teaching again. They realized they could customize their rooms and there was a real sense of ownership.” - Charles Lee, Co-Founder of CoderSchool

Hybrid Event Highlights 

As people start to return to in-person events, we’re excited about the potential of ohyay to bridge the gap between in-person and virtual settings. We've experimented with various hybrid event configurations, including an awards show, a cocktail hour, an all-hands meeting, and a table setup at IDFA (International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam).

“The standout ohyay interaction at this year’s IDFA was, without a doubt, the hybrid table that brought virtual and in situ people in the same space. It’s about creating a new layer of reality, mixing both digital (online) and analog (‘real world’)." -Sébastien Brothier, Creative Director at the agency Upian that has built virtual spaces for IDFA two years in a row.

Hybrid table activation at IDFA.

Stay tuned for a series of blog posts about our hybrid learnings, challenges, and recommendations for equipment 🎉

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