Hubilo raises $23.5 million to power virtual events with real-time data and analytics

Hubilo, a platform for hosting virtual and hybrid events with access to real-time data and analytics, has raised $23.5 million. …

Hubilo, a platform that helps businesses of all sizes host virtual and hybrid events and gain access to real-time data and analytics, has raised $23.5 million in a series A round of funding led by Lightspeed Venture Partners, with participation from the U.K.’s Balderton Capital, Microsoft chairman John W. Thompson, among other angel investors.

The raise comes as the world prepares for some semblance of normality after a year of social-distancing due to the global pandemic. But while physical events will likely be back on the agenda in some form in the next year, there is a firm belief across the technology and investment landscape that online events are here to stay — either as the sole model or as part of a hybrid format. The main reasons being that digital conferences, meetups, and events can be scaled far more easily and with fewer resources than their brick-and-mortar brethren, while they also generate a lot of data which can prove valuable for tracking and correlating business objectives.

Last year saw a slew of virtual events platforms raise substantial sums of cash from big-name investors. One of those was Hubilo, an Indian startup that was initially founded back in 2015 as an offline event management software company, which offered tools for setting up event websites, managing tickets and registration, and dedicated mobile apps for navigating, networking, and scheduling meetings. Decimated by the impact of COVID-19 on the events industry, Hubilo, embarked on a dizzying 20-day “Hail Mary” pivot to online events in March which saved it from oblivion. Through the rest of the year, Hubilo grew from 30 employees to more than 100, hit its two-year revenue target in months, and secured $4.5 million in a seed round of funding led by the Indian investment arm of Lightspeed Venture Partners.

Fast forward to today, and Hubilo now claims 40% of its clients are U.S.-based enterprises including Amazon Web Services (AWS), with other big-name clients from elsewhere including Siemens, United Nations, and Roche.

Above: Hubilo: Breakout room

The main event

Hubilo offers many of the tools you would expect from an online events platform, including video livestreaming and breakout rooms. But perhaps the platform’s core promise for companies considering diving into virtual or hybrid events is that it brings data and measurability to the mix, something that’s difficult to generate with purely offline events.

For example, organizers can access engagement data around visitors, including the number of logins and new users versus active users. And sponsors can know which visitors are likely to purchase from them based on their engagement with their virtual booth, including the number of business cards received, profile views, file downloads, and more.

Furthermore, Hubilo can also track the activities and engagements of visitors, such as attending a booth or participating in a video demonstration, and then recommend other similar activities that may be relevant based on their behavior. And this tracking is where things can start to get interesting from a business perspective, as sponsors or sales personnel can access potential prospects through a feature Hubilo calls “potential leads.”

“The potential leads feature in Hubilo provides the sponsors and exhibitors with hot leads based on the activities performed by attendees,” Hubilo cofounder and CEO Vaibhav Jain told VentureBeat. “This enables the key stakeholders to generate maximum return-on-investment from the event, and also match with the right people. They can then connect with these attendees via one-to-one video meetings and exchange their contact information.”

Elsewhere, speakers can glean insights on the quality of their sessions in terms of views, interactions, and ratings, and it’s also possible to dig down into the popularity of each breakout room, including average session lengths, number of participants, raised hands, and more.

Above: Hubilo: Data on speakers

Above: Hubilo: Data on breakout rooms

Aside from all that, online events allow businesses and conference organizers to encourage engagement through gamification, something that Hubilo enables by giving out points to attendees based on watching sessions or visiting a virtual booth, with the most highly-engaged participants able to win prizes.

Above: Hubilo: Gamification can help engagement

It’s worth noting that Hubilo can integrate with an array of enterprise tools spanning CRM, marketing, video, and event tech, such as Salesforce, Zapier, Hubspot, Mailchimp, Marketo, Zoom, Cisco’s Webex, and YouTube. And the company has bigger plans on the analytics and data integration front, including building out native integrations with tools such as CRMs, introducing multi-event analytics, and bringing sponsored ads to the mix.

“Native integrations with CRMs and other applications will enable seamless transfer of data between Hubilo and other enterprise systems,” Jain said, “[while] multi-event analytics will help enterprises efficiently leverage event data from multiple events and retrieve holistic insights from them. Sponsored ads will provide new avenues for event organizers to monetize their event and will help sponsors and exhibitors get more visibility and generate additional leads.”

Hubilo was originally founded six years ago out of Ahmedabad, the largest city in the Indian state of Gujarat, but in the wake of the global pandemic the company ditched its HQ and fully embraced “remote” with a workforce distributed across India and the U.S. However, to support its burgeoning U.S. growth, the company said that it’s gearing up to launch its new HQ in San Francisco this coming spring.

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