Ahmedabad and San Francisco-based events startup Hubilo has raised $23.5 Mn in a Series A round led by Lightspeed Venture Partners. The round saw participation from the UK’s Balderton Capital and Microsoft chair John W. Thompson, among other angel investors.
The startup helps businesses host virtual and hybrid events while providing real-time data and analytics. Besides introducing technological advancements to its core product, Hubilo plans to hire 150 employees to take its total employee strength to 300 by June this year.
Last year, amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Hubilo saw its business suffer due to the cancellation and postponement of physical events by its clients across corporate, leisure, media and entertainment, sports and retail segments across the globe. With its revenue plummeting, the company was forced to pivot. Here it utilised its original solution, a networking platform for event attendees, and transitioned into a virtual events solutions company.
The company’s Minimum Viable Product (MVP) was ready within 20-25 days, with creative event production company Tessarakt Experiential becoming its first client. Since then, the company has gone from having 30 to over 100 employees by the close of 2020, raised a seed round of funding worth $4.5 Mn from the India arm of Lightspeed Venture Partners, and claims to have reached a $10 Mn ARR (annual recurring revenue).
Talking about the dizzying pivot and the fairytale landing, the company’s founder Vaibhav Jain, in December last year had told Inc42, “We had two choices, either we could lay off 30 of our employees and move on with life or pivot again into something meaningful that we had originally thought of.”
Founded in 2015, Hubilo is a brainchild of Jain, Mayank Agarwal and John Peter. The company started its journey as a virtual networking platform for attendees. Since the solution was ahead of its time and most of the customers were inclined towards physical events, its solution did not work for them and the company struggled for almost a year, before pivoting into an event management software solutions company.
Today, Hubilo caters to 400+ paid clients across the globe, where it regularly hosts 100K attendee events, including YourStory, AWS, Siemens, Roche, Tech In Asia, United Nations and GITEX (one of the world’s largest tech events) among others.
According to industry experts, the virtual events market is poised to touch $400 Bn by 2027, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27%. Out of which, 5% is going to be spent on fintech platforms, and the rest of the revenue would come from sponsorship, branding, attendee ticket sales and marketing.