Fast-growing events platform Hubilo raises US$23.5 million
Acknowledged as one of the world’s fastest-growing SaaS firms, global virtual and hybrid events platform Hubilo has announced a US$23.5 million Series A investment.
This funding comes just months after Hubilo's US$4.5 million seed round in November 2020 and reflects investor belief in the firm’s vision for a category that represents the largest fraction of marketing budgets globally.
In this most recent round of funding, the California-based events platform has secured investment from lead investors Lightspeed Venture Partners and Balderton Capital, as well as a number of industry experts and luminaries, including John Thompson, Chairman of the Board at Microsoft, and Chris Schagen, Former CMO at Contentful.
As Hubilo's first institutional backers, Lightspeed Venture Partners, a VC firm focused on accelerating disruptive innovations and trends, welcomes investors to the team as “we shift into an even higher gear to dominate virtual and hybrid events in a world that is emerging out of the pandemic”, states Hemant Mohapatra, Partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners India,
Adapting to a world of virtual and hybrid events
Hubilo, which has offices in San Francisco, London and Bengaluru in India, has come a long way in just 12 months when this time last year it witnessed its revenue as a successful in-person events company begin to collapse as the pandemic took hold.
The company rose to the challenge by doubling down on its virtual events platform, adding hundreds of features in less than a month to support the needs of the largest and most demanding conferences in the world.
As a result, Hubilo has emerged as one of the leading platforms serving the high end of the corporate virtual events and trade show market, growing its revenue by 50% month-over-month since enrolling the first customer for its virtual events platform in April 2020.
It counts the United Nations, Roche, Informa Markets, Fortune, AES, Siemens, Veritas Technologies and GITEX among its customers, and has cross-continent clients from the US and Europe to APAC, the Middle East and Africa.
CMOs globally widely acknowledge that Covid-19 has permanently disrupted the event landscape, with virtual events now a key part of how businesses connect with their customers, attracting a far broader set of attendees and speakers than physical events.
According to Hubilo lead investor Balderton Capital, Europe's leading tech VC, the pandemic has demonstrated that virtual and hybrid events can be “as engaging as physical ones and substantially cheaper to run and attend, more profitable for organisers and contributors, and more inclusive for attendees”, says Suranga Chandratillake, General Partner at Balderton Capital, who sees Hubilo at the heart of this revolution.
There's also an increased sense of urgency around ensuring that physical events become hybrid with a digital overlay that brings the benefits of virtual events to the physical world.
Funding to help accelerate Hubilo’s development
Hubilo is at the forefront of this transition and with the latest funding, it plans to build on its momentum by expanding its leadership teams globally, with new offices in San Francisco and London and a rapid build-out of its sales, marketing and customer success teams out of those offices.
This Series A funding will also be used to help accelerate the development of Hubilo's platform, with the company set to roll out several features that will enable stronger attendee engagement and new monetization opportunities for organizers.
How does the event analytics platform work?
The event analytics platform, founded by Mayank Agarwal and Vaibhav Jain, was designed to help businesses strengthen their relationships with their customers and partners through virtual and hybrid events, and has already hosted more than a million attendees and without the all too common ‘Zoom fatigue’.
The platform hosts an interactive online event, connects attendees globally, and builds meaningful connections via built-in networking features, including meeting tables, private rooms and meeting schedules, thereby enabling event organisers to create, promote, manager and analyse events on a single virtual event platform.
Organizers also love the one-click integration with existing go-to-market platforms including HubSpot, SalesForce and Marketo, enabling them to demonstrate ROI through event data integrated with their existing workflows.
Jain says: "Our strategy, product features and platform intelligence are expanding the possibilities of what is achievable in the events space, and we're continually delivering greater value for event organizers, sponsors and other stakeholders.
In March 2021, over 4000 marketing professionals, 40 CMOs and 400 event industry professionals from around the world will come together for Hubilo's two-day Restart 2021 virtual event to build a more vital collective understanding of the power of experiential digital events and their benefits.
Microsoft: Building a secure foundation to drive NASCAR
Microsoft is a key partner of The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) and together they are driving ahead to create an inclusive and immersive new fan experience (FX).
These long-term partners have not only navigated the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic with the use of Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365, but are now looking to a future packed with virtual events to enhance the FX, well beyond NASCAR’S famous Daytona racetrack.
“Together, we've created a secure environment that's allowed for collaboration, but the future is all about the fans”, said Melinda Cook, General Manager for Microsoft South USA Commercial Business, who cited a culture of transparency, passion, adaptiveness, and a growth mindset as to why this alignment is so successful.”
“We've partnered to create a fluid, immersive experience for the users that is supported by a secure foundation with Microsoft in the background. We are focused on empowering and enabling customers and businesses, like NASCAR, to reach their full potential. We do this with our cloud platform which provides data insights and security.”
“Our cloud environment allows NASCAR to move forward with their digital transformation journey while we are in the background,” said Cook who highlights that Microsoft is helping NASCAR
- Empower employees productivity and collaboration
- Improve fan engagement and experience
- Improve environment security and IT productivity
- Improve racing operations
Microsoft Teams, which is part of the Microsoft 365 suite, enabled employees to work remotely, while staying productive, during the pandemic. “This allowed people to provide the same level of productivity with the use of video conference and instant messaging to collaborate on documents. Increased automation also allows the pit crews, IT, and the business to focus on safety, racing operations, and on the fan experience,” said Cook.
“We have started to innovate to create a more inclusive fanbase, this includes using Xbox to give people the experience of being a virtual racer or even leveraging some of the tools in Microsoft Teams to have a virtual ride along experience.”
“These environments are how we create a more inclusive and immersive experience for the fans. We're working on a virtual fan wall which allows people from new locations to participate in these events,” said Cook, who pointed out Microsoft was also helping bring legacy experiences alive from NASCAR’s archives.
“At Microsoft we can take it one level further by letting fans know what it's like to see the pit crew experience, the data and all the behind-the-scenes action. We will continue to improve automation with machine learning and artificial intelligence, from marketing to IT operations to finance to racing operations,” said Cook.
Christine Stoffel-Moffett, Vice President of Enterprise Technology at NASCAR, said: “Microsoft is one of our key partners. They have been instrumental in helping the NASCAR enterprise technology team re-architect our Microsoft systems to ensure an advanced level of security across our environment, contribute to our business outcomes, and focus on fan experience.”