Investors are wild for Hopin, the live events startup exploding during the pandemic, which hit a $2.1 billion valuation 8 months after launch

Johnny Hopin

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A hefty valuation isn’t the only validation for a successful startup, but it can be a helpful public indicator.

Europe’s tech scene is abuzz after live events startup Hopin raised $125 million at a $2.1 billion valuation, after launching its product just 9 months ago.

Its new investors include Tiger Global, Coatue and DFJ Growth with existing investors Northzone, IVP, Accel, Salesforce Ventures, and Seedcamp joining the round. 

Its spiraling valuation makes it one of the fastest startups in Europe to surpass unicorn status.

Hopin raised its $6.5 million seed round in February having barely launched its product. That valuation went up to $350 million just four months later when Silicon Valley growth fund IVP led a $40 million Series A into the business. Now it’s a unicorn.

The company brings conferences and live events online, and says it has boomed during the pandemic since thanks to most in-person events being cancelled. Hopin says it is now bringing on 1,000 new organizations each day and has a waitlist of 50,000.

But is it just a flash in the pan, supercharged by venture capitalists trying to reckon with a new normal of working from home?

Paul Murphy, general partner at investor Northzone, says no. “We believe that success would have happened regardless of pandemic, it has been a tailwind, yes, but there have been headwinds too, the events market is struggling at the moment,” he told Business Insider.

Hopin’s founder has “crazy ambition”

Founded only a year ago by University of Manchester graduate Johnny Boufarhat, Hopin’s goal is to recreate the in-person event experience, with flexible features such as virtual reception areas and backstages, user profiles, direct video calling, and sponsor-branding opportunities that the company says distinguishes itself from Zoom.

Boufarhat appears to have taken the growth of the last 12 months in his stride. He likes to reiterate that his company is the fastest growing in the world. “We want to build one of the world’s most iconic companies and this is the future to be the world’s biggest online events company,” he previously told Business Insider.

His next 12 months look set to be just as intense as the last. Hopin has grown to over 200 employees, all remote in just a few months.

“This is Johnny’s first business of scale and he’s approaching things in a way that make sense to him,” Northzone’s Murphy added. “The most successful founders, Daniel Ek, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, all seem disconnected from reality as they grow. They all appear to be f**king crazy but that’s what allows them to build truly special companies.” 

VC Semil Shah from Haystack and Lightspeed Venture Partners recently picked Hopin out as his “breakout tech company of the year,” citing a trajectory which is “unlike anything I’ve ever heard.”

The company’s annual recurring revenue (ARR) is already $20 million, according to Boufarhat, who also told Business Insider the startup is profitable. 

One European investor, who has not invested in Hopin and speaking anonymously, said the startup would need to prove it isn’t just reliant on one-off …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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