8 months was all it took for Hopin, a virtual events platform, to reach double unicorn status after its March 2020 product launch. Not only did this break the UK record, it also made Hopin Europe's fastest growing company of 2020.
Nearly a year on from that milestone, the business have quadrupled their value, raising capital at a near $8bn valuation in August 2021.
So how did they get there? What are the secrets to their success?
June 2019 - Founding
While Australian-born entrepreneur Johnny Boufarhat was stuck at home due to poor health, he wanted to network with people. But "because I couldn't go to physical events, I was struggling". So he decides to "create a way to network online that actually created a bond between people".
October 2019 - First Seed Round
After Boufarhat created an initial version of Hopin, it rapidly begins attracting interest. The Hopin team begins to grow.£250k raised at a £2.5m valuation.
February 2020 - Second Seed Round
Despite having a team of just 6 people and not having officially launched their product, hype accumulates. £5m raised at a £25.8m valuation.
March 2020 - Product Launch... and the pandemic hits!
Hopin officially launches, and demand rapidly piles up. Customers and revenue are quickly rising, but the company did not yet have the scale to handle it. Its waitlist numbered over 10,000. But then COVID-19 hit. In-person events could no longer go ahead, so companies turned to Hopin for a solution. Demand skyrocketed to unimaginable levels, and Hopin accelerated its scale up plans.
June 2020 - Series A
Company headcount has grown to 60, and monthly attendees of events increases tenfold between March and May, going from 17,000 to 175,000. £32m raised at a £196m valuation.
November 2020 - Series B
Hopin reaches double unicorn status, with 3.5m users and over 50,000 organisations using its software to host events. ARR is now $20m, having been 0 at the start of the year. £94m raised at a £1.37bn valuation.
January 2021 - SteamYard acquisition
Hopin flexes its new financial muscle, acquiring streaming platform StreamYard for £184m, doubling its ARR to $65m. Hopin leaves StreamYard's brand and product intact. With only 20% of StreamYard's customers using it for events-based activities, Hopin significantly expands its product offering.
March 2021 - Series C
Hopin's headcount reaches 410, having added 30,000 new customer organisations since November. £287m raised at a £3bn valuation.
June 2021 - Product Expansion
Now at 660 employees, Hopin acquires on-site events solution specialist Boomset, targeting a 'hybrid' event model. Boufarhat states: "With the addition of Boomset, we will allow our customers the ability to scale and analyse any type of event by capturing both virtual and in-person audiences and data together".
August 2021 - Series D
Hopin hits $100m ARR. The company now boasts an 800-strong staff and 100,000 organisations using its platform. £324m raised at a £5.6bn valuation.
What does Hopin do differently?
1. Remote Culture - done well!
Hopin is a fully remote company, with no offices and 800+ staff. This makes onboarding more efficient - "we don't have to carry 30 new desks into the office every week", says Franz Schepf, Strategic Partnerships Manager. As the business has scaled at breakneck pace, not having to constantly move offices has allowed uninterrupted focus on growth.
Hopin recognises that it has to be more proactive culturally as a fully remote company. To do this, they have a dedicated Vibe team who drive initiatives to define and champion Hopin's culture, aimed at creating a sustainable and scalable remote culture. Additionally, each new joinee goes through the Hopin Academy, a weeklong onboarding process.
Hopin has employees in 47 different countries
Many start-ups fail due to not reaching product-market-fit quickly enough. But Hopin had the opposite problem, even before the pandemic. They had more demand than they could support. So the company was careful not to bite off more than they could chew, and created a waiting list for their product. Hopin have emphasised discipline, increasing their customer base as they continually improve processes and controls in place to guarantee a quality user experience. That way, they've been able to maintain their reputation as the best virtual events platform in the market.
"At Hopin, were on the side of transparency. In a fully distributed team running at 300 mph, it’s better to trust your team and overshare rather than withhold critical information"
Franz Schepf, Strategic Partnerships Manager
3. Fluidity and Teamwork
Even for a scale-up, Hopin is exceptionally committed to organisational agility. Until the business reached 30 people, there was no hierarchy for any employees, other than the CEO. They have maintained a flat structure, and have only recently started hiring C-suite executives. As they scale rapidly, their execs aim to hand off their responsibilities to subordinates every 6 months, to avoid bottlenecks and maximise growth. Their founding value was "No egos".