Giving CMOs Superpowers — How virtual events company, Hubilo, became one of the fastest growing companies in Enterprise SaaS

And why Hubilo’s focus on elevating the digital experience for organizers, attendees, and exhibitors led to Lightspeed’s Series A investment

Hubilo founders — Vaibhav Jain and Mayank Agarwal

A (very) large market.

Ask any CMO today on what’s their most treasured channel to connect with their customers, and you’ll hear the same answer each time — events! Somewhere around a quarter to third of marketing budgets worldwide are spent on events. These could be global tradeshows with 10s of thousands of attendees, to small association gatherings — all of which represent over a trillion dollars of annual spend worldwide.

The sheer magnitude of this market represents a simple truth — our need to connect. Businesses want to connect with users, buyers, vendors, and influencers, in an authentic way. They want to provide these audiences an experience that creates goodwill and brand value at the highest level, and drives NPS, and sales at the tactical level.

Change is coming.

For several years now, CMOs, trade show organizers, event managers have been driving four secular changes:

  1. Digitization of physical events — Rapid adoption of digital overlays to physical events — event specific mobile apps, schedule builders, social media integration, attendee networking capabilities and much more.
  2. Virtual Events — Move to virtual events (a trend that got super charged due to Covid related travel restrictions). CMOs saw virtual/digital events bringing in a new audience, one that wasn’t going to travel to come to their physical events. In some cases, the number of registrations are 10–100x above what they saw for similar physical events. Moreover, they are able to attract the highest calibre speakers to the session — irrespective of their location… another huge plus as CMOs compete to offer compelling content to their audience.
  3. Real time analytics — The digital trail from events is an incredible source of intelligence for CMOs, giving them the ability to identify their most valuable customers and prospects, while enabling them to improve the user experience for all attendees through more customized experiences.
  4. Innovative sponsorship and branding opportunities in digital settings. This has been a key area of focus for the industry since a vast majority of the commerce in physical events happens through sponsorship and branding options that exhibitors avail of.

Hubilo’s rise serving the most demanding market segment.

The four trends above were already well on their way when Covid accelerated the adoption of digital experiences worldwide — causing billions of dollars of marketing budget to shift in a matter of months. When we at Lightspeed started studying the space, we were most interested in the most demanding part of this market — revenue generating events with sophisticated requirements, at-scale operation, & multiple stakeholders — one name came up consistently, Hubilo.

As we got to know the Hubilo platform and team, we were amazed by their vision, ability to execute, resourcefulness, and customer centric mindset. Hubilo has built an expansive set of features, customization capabilities for every aspect of the conference, attendee networking opportunities, competitions, leaderboards, sponsorships, ROI calculators, and exhibitor networking features. All of this, combined with Hubilo’s signature white glove service (which customers love!) led to massive global growth this past year with about 80% of its customers coming from the US and EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) and 20% from APAC.

As a result, Hubilo’s business has grown by over 50% month over month this past year, making it one of the fastest growing enterprise SaaS businesses that we have seen. Their customers include some of the most demanding customers globally including AWS, the United Nations, Roche, Informa Markets, Tech in Asia, Fortune, Siemens and many many more. The platform has hosted over a million attendees and events with 10s of thousands of attendees all the way down to smaller, more intimate events with a few dozen attendees.

And they are just getting started! The team is rapidly expanding the platform to enable organizers to drive higher attendee engagement, help them network more effectively, and enable more value creation opportunities for organizers.

Where we are headed.

We are witnessing one of the fastest growing categories in enterprise SaaS, and things are just getting started. Hubilo’s goal is to help businesses elevate the experience that they provide to their customers. To help them connect with their customers in an authentic way, continually, no matter where in the world they are. They are doing this by ensuring that marketing organizations can:

  1. Throw amazing and highly engaging virtual events which can help expand their reach, and
  2. Convert all physical events to hybrid events to provide a superior experience for organizers, sponsors, speakers, and attendees. To those who question whether this digitization of physical events will happen, I loved this quote from one of the CMOs we spoke with — “Would you stop broadcasting the SuperBowl just because you don’t want to cannibalize your in person sales?”

Lightspeed’s investment in Hubilo.

Today we are announcing Lightspeed’s investment in Hubilo’s Series A, along with our amazing friends at Balderton Capital and my partners in Lightspeed India who led the seed investment. We’re thankful to the Hubilo team for placing their trust in our ability to be a great partner as they build out the Hubilo vision, and a new category of platforms in digital experiences.

Learn more.

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. The Hubilo team would love to see you there!

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