HubSpot Makes Public Entrance, Strengthens Marketing ‘ROI’ Pitch

HUBSHubSpot, an independent, Boston-based tech company that built one of the first all-inclusive marketing and sales platforms (at least for the mid-market), began its first day of trading Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange, its share price rising to $33 in early trading.

HubSpot – or HUBS, per its new ticker – was valued at close to $759 million, raising a total of $125 million as a result of its public debut. HubSpot’s original price-per-share estimates were in the much lower $19-$21 range, but the company upwardly revised those figures to $22-$24 on Monday. The company on Wednesday priced 5 million common shares at $25 a share.

HubSpot could be classified in the cloud-based, marketing automation category, a tech bucket ripe with public market deals and consolidation. Notably, IBM grabbed email and marketing automation platform Silverpop, Oracle bought Eloqua, LinkedIn snapped up Bizo and Marketo went public.

Although HubSpot (and most of the other remaining standalone MASs) have been the subject of rumored M&A activity, HubSpot’s CMO told AdExchanger that HubSpot had long planned for its so-called “independence” by actively ramping up its product capabilities.

“There’s a huge opportunity to not only become bigger in marketing, but also on the sales side,” said Mike Volpe, referencing a shift that underscored its recent move beyond marketing into CRM and even sales enablement. He acknowledged HubSpot’s heritage in the mid-market, and adamantly defended it.

“The biggest enterprises in the world have a … variety of point solutions and a giant IT team wiring them all together, but the reality is, for the other 97% of companies in the world, they don’t have that,” he added. “Our goal is to give normal humans, normal marketers and an average-sized company of a couple hundred people the power of the most sophisticated systems out there.”

HubSpot said its “inbound” marketing and sales platform covers all the application bases, like social media, search, blogs/content, web content management, email, CRM, analytics and marketing automation. In its investment prospectus, the company called the core of its platform the ability to create single, inbound-based databases to capture unique customer interactions throughout the customer life cycle, thus triggering “personalized emails, alerts and websites” tailored to the individual.

Companies like TellApart, too, are beating a similar drum and acquiring platforms to personalize customer interactions.

HubSpot recently expanded its inbound marketing platform to include revenue and attribution reporting, as well as “anonymous personalization,” which HubSpot says tailors content “based on a visitor’s device, location or referral source.”

Asked whether HubSpot was partnering with “third-party” mobile data providers to enable that function, Volpe said the feature is still largely relegated to the first-party data kind. “It’s all based on people on your website – the things we can look at are based on referral if not direct traffic,” he said.

“We know what devices they’re using based on the screen resolution you’re feeding into the browser and based on reverse-IP lookup, some things about geography.”  He added that there “certainly would be potential down the road, especially if we want to do retargeting across other websites based on what you know about what people did on your website, but that’s not what we’re doing yet today.”

The big shift in HubSpot’s business model, according to Ray Wang, chairman and principal analyst at Constellation Research, has been tackling the “larger end” of the SMB curve, investing in new verticals and “eventually adding more than just marketing.”


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