It was March 2020! The threat of a deadly virus had brought the world to a standstill 🦠 Shelter in place orders not only closed down the offices we worked in, the restaurants we loved but also the events we so looked forward to. Coachella. NBA. Premier League Soccer. SaaStr. Dreamforce. All canceled!
As businesses struggled to cope there was one little six-member startup who's phone lines wouldn't stop buzzing! 🚨 Today, we explore the story of Hopin. The fastest SaaS company to hit a ~$100M of ARR!
The idea for Hopin was conceptualized pre-pandemic in 2019 and the company was already beta testing its product as the world plunged into lockdowns. A world that suddenly and immediately needed a whole new category of solutions for remote events. As competitors hustled to put together products to service this large and untapped market, Hopin's market-ready offering was already positioned as a default for every organizer wanting to move their event (workshops, summits, talks...) online. The waitlist signup alert at the startup started buzzing - Non-Stop! Hopin notoriously grew to a few million in revenue within days of launch with a waitlist in the 10s of millions of dollars!
"When we started designing Hopin a few years ago, our aim was to give organizers the ability to recreate the in-person event experience as closely as possible, but online and all in one place"
Hopin has since grown into a multi-product all-in-one event management platform and has successfully ridden the Covid wave to grow to a $7.75B valuation in just 2 years! 🚀
🏟 Building for the venue and not just the stage
Confined to his home after being infected by an immunological illness, offline events, summits, and workshops weren't in the books for Hopin's founder and CEO Johnny Boufarhat. While the rest of us socialized, met with our favorite speakers and built our networks at these events, Johnny had to resort to webinars and streamed stages that lacked avenues for human interactions.
From his disappointing experience was borne a realization - only the stage had been brought online, the venue was left behind!
Hopin was designed to plug this gaping hole and help organizers recreate the whole in-person experience online. Hopin's virtual event portal had:
- A reception - where attendees land, view event agenda, sponsor details etc
- A sessions room - where breakouts are hosted for select audiences
- The stage - where the main event is broadcasted to the wider audience
- Networking room - one-one networking happens
- Expos - vendors booths are allowed to promote to event attendees
The IRL adaptation was quickly accepted bringing in viral growth from amongst the organizer-vendor-attendee community. Now the product has grown to include tools for video production, audience management, events marketplaces, and offline solutions to become an all-in-one event management platform!
🔥 Fundraising - adding fuel to fire!
Hopin has raised a massive $1B in venture funds with a funding round every ~4 months!
A very evident product-market fit, massive inbound demand, and a self-proclaimed "lunatic" founder (read, visionary 🌎) has made Hopin a no-brainer bet for marquee investors across the world. The remotely raised capital has allowed Hopin to Build build build, Buy buy buy, and Sell sell sell its way into becoming one of the fastest-growing companies in the world!
🌎 Build build build, from all over the world!
While the venture-funded dollar war chest opened up a luxury of talent, the velocity of execution that Hopin has achieved can be attributed to remote-first recruitment and work culture. The company boasts 800+ employees across 40+ countries with a 2-year headcount growth of 1000%+!
Hopin's globally distributed workforce is empowered by:
- Onboarding flow engineered for remote, owned by the line manager
- Mandatory buddy programs with engagement scores (#chats, #meetings)
- Dedicated 'Vibes team' for employee engagement and morale management
- Remote working tools like Slack, Notion, Nero, and Figma
- Asynchronous working style
🤝 Buy buy buy, a page out of the Atlassian M&A playbook
Hopin seems to be borrowing from Atlassian's M&A playbook as it acquires organizations at an inspiring pace. Acquisitions have made Hopin a multi-product platform backward integrating to the video production ecosystem, expanding to non-virtual hybrid and on-site event experiences, and adding event marketing suites to help organizers increase reach and revenue.
The Topi acquisition is a clear example of how speed to market is a high priority for Hopin as it rolled out Hopin mobile at record speed!
🤑 Sell sell sell, be smart, act fast, and go remote!
True to its PLG status, one can enjoy the aha moment of migrating their venue space to the cloud for free at Hopin!
With 17-20% (source: LinkedIn) of its talent base waking up every day to fill in their quotas (aka salespeople), the sales motion is strong and effective at the rocketship! 🚀
The sales process is product-led, data-driven, and (not unlike the best PLG companies) sales assisted! ツ
Apart from the usual segmentation into enterprise and mid-market, the core sales team of account executives and sales managers at Hopin are divided basis timezones and languages - the revenue register clearly doesn’t intend to sleep! 😉
“Location is no longer a limiting factor for talent. We hire by timezone not by city.” - Brónagh Crowley, VP Sales @ Hopin
This remote GTM machinery is inducted following a strong onboarding process and is equipped with a plethora of productivity tools including:
- Outreach for customer outreach
- Chili piper for timezone management
- Salesforce as the sales CRM
- LeanData for lead routing
- Gong for call transcription
- Spekit for knowledge management
- Lattice for performance management
- Notion for internal knowledge bases
- Loom for video sharing
- And Hellosign for e-signing... and closing those sweet sweet contracts 🤑
⏩ Next steps
As the world comes back to life after a two-year hibernation indoors, offline events are bound to revive. (We know we're dying to get out there again 🔥)
The visionaries at Hopin have covered for this with forays into in-person and hybrid events - leading the story-telling on how the future for events is Hybrid!
Hopin is also investing in experience through AR, VR, etc, (Metaverse 😉😉) and is also building for custom requirements through their partner’s ecosystem. The vision is clearly to become the all-in-one event management platform and boy are they leading the charge! We're confident in the team's ability to execute (just look at what they've done in <2 yrs!!) and are eager to observe and learn as Hopin navigates a post-pandemic world!