Virtual events platform Hubilo on Tuesday said it has raised USD 125 million (about Rs 943 crore) in funding, led by Alkeon Capital. Lightspeed Venture Partners and Balderton Capital also participated in the series B round. This brings the company’s total fund raise to USD 153 million to date.
Hubilo CEO and founder Vaibhav Jain said the investment – one of the largest in the event technology category – signals the revolution in ways by which people connect, engage, share experiences, and create opportunities at a time when uncertainty about COVID-19 and its variants have resulted in canceled events and delayed a return to traditional office environments.
The company will use the funds to further enhance its growth by developing new business functions, advance innovation of its platform, strengthen its product, engineering, and design teams in India, and go-to-market teams in the US, the UK, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Asia Pacific. Hubilo also plans to set up new sales offices in key regions to expand its operations and reach a greater volume of customers.
In addition, Hubilo will increase the overall employee count by 150 per cent to support its rapid growth plans and to respond to the increased customer demand for virtual and hybrid events. “We will be expanding our sales, partnerships, and business development divisions and setting up a complete Research and Development division that will conduct a series of experiments to ensure that Hubilo is building a completely future-proofed platform,” Jain told PTI.
He added that the company will be setting up physical sales offices in the US, the UK, APAC, and EMEA regions. “We shall be increasing our total headcount by 150 per cent, we will have 400-plus employees by the end of 2021 (December) and should be able to add at least 100 to 150 plus by the financial year, March 2022, considering that all our key regions will have a physical team in it,” Jain said.
Hubilo was founded in 2015 to build event tech that increased attendee engagement at in-person events. When the pandemic hit in 2020, Hubilo saw revenues dwindling to zero. The company reworked its technology in 26 days and designed an event platform. Hubilo works with brands such as Blackboard, Walmart, United Nations, Roche Pharma, Maersk Shipping and others.
The Asia Pacific region accounts for 25 per cent of Hubilo’s business, and the company plans to further grow in the APAC region, especially in India. The recent additions to Hubilo’s India clientele are Publicis Sapient (TLG India Pvt Ltd), Nivea, Reliance Jio, Schneider Electric, and George P Johnson. Jain said even as cities have reopened around the world, the company has continued to grow as a business, and now has over 800 customers and has handled more than 10,000 events.
“Over a quarter of first-time users of Hubilo go on to subscribe to our annual package. So even with events coming back in-person, we have seen that there is still demand for virtual events because the need for many-to-many communications extends beyond just special occasions, but for how global, remote workforces and business and consumer events will operate in the future,” he added. He stated that the company will further continue to focus across industries on small, medium, and large enterprises for their internal and external events, and continue to build collaborations with event partners and associations.
“We believe strongly in the global distributed workforce being a megatrend that will impact all of us in the future. It is clear that the way we collaborate and connect will need to be re-architected in order for any global player to succeed, Abhi Arun, Managing Partner at Alkeon Capital, said. Guru Chahal, Partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners, said businesses spend over one trillion dollars of direct spending on events.
“In the last couple of years, 15-20 per cent of the enterprise events budget has permanently moved to digital events…I expect in the next few years that Hubilo will be broadly acknowledged as a market leader in the space, Chahal added.