How Did Hopin Become The Fastest Growing European Startup?

Tripling valuation just one year after launching, is something rare even in the world of unicorns. But how did Hopin become the fastest-growing European startup ever? This is the story of how Hopin grow from a project on a kitchen table to a $5.65 billion startup.

How Did Hopin Become The Fastest Growing European Startup?
Johnny Boufarhat — Founder & CEO of Hopin

The spark of an idea

It was serval years ago when Johnny Boufarhat diagnosed with a serious health condition.

He had to stay home and was unable to meet people, participate in events, and conferences.

He felt left out.

Johnny Boufarhat — Founder & CEO of Hopin
Johnny Boufarhat — Founder & CEO of Hopin

He wanted to feel connected again. He wanted to without any limitation participate in the community. And that’s when an idea sparked in his mind.

Johnny is typing:

“I had enough of the isolation, so I sat down at the kitchen table in my London apartment to write some code.”

Like a child who dreams to become an astronaut and try to build a rocketship toy, Johnny started to turn his dream into reality by writing a few lines of code.

He wanted to build an online platform to help people connect with each other. Without worry about the location of the events.

Johnny Boufarhat and Hopin team
Johnny Boufarhat and Hopin team

Launching the first version

It 2019. Johnny released the first version of his virtual event platform. After a couple of weeks, the platform began to catch on.

It was after an event when 3% of attendees became organizers.

The virtual platform grows from a only few customers to tens of thousands of users.

Johnny and his team planned to release the official version of Hopin in September 2020.

But the universe doesn’t care about your plans. Right?

Covid hit. Billions of people stuck at home. And a frenzy of online meetings, events, and conferences started.

The rocket fuel

Pandemic forced Johnny to launch Hopin six months early, in March 2020. Just try to imagine the pressure on the team at that time when they just were 6 people…..

..…3… 2… 1… Liftoff!

The hopin’s team in a meeting
The hopin’s team in a meeting

Covid becomes their rocket fuel. Hopin quickly finds tens of thousands of customers.

Fast forward to March 2021. Hopin raised $400 million Series C at a $5.65 billion valuation.

Hopin grows from nothing to a billion-dollar company in just 2 years. Crazy right?

Maybe you say: “This growth is because of the pandemic.”

But this isn’t the whole story. In this article, we’ll talk about the secret sauce(s) of Hopin's massive growth.

Let’s dive in.

Create a remote organization

Talent is everywhere, opportunity is not.

The hopin’s team in a meeting
The hopin’s team in a meeting

That’s why many tech companies born in places like Silicon Valley or Austin. And many tech talents are in these places.

Covid changed everything.

“In a world that is constantly changing, it is to our advantage to learn how to adapt and enjoy something better.”

― Kenneth H. Blanchard

Covid leading the digital transformation around the world. Today company can think outside of the box and hire talents across the globe.

A person pointing out the Covid: I’d like to introduce our new lead for digital transition
A person pointing out the Covid: I’d like to introduce our new lead for digital transition

Scale or die!

Becoming a hyper-growth startup it’s like bicycling. If you stop moving, you lose your balance.

You need to have the best people to keep moving. Everything should operate on an ASAP basis.

This how Hopin built a remote organization:

  • Hiring the best talents around the world, without wasting time on relocating and wasting too much money on the office
  • Giving people the flexibility to even work from their kitchen tables
  • Experimenting with new ways of work to increase productivity and happiness of employees

Diversity is a competitive advantage

Diversity is the byproduct of having a remote team.

A virtual event on Hopin
A virtual event on Hopin

Different thought process = More innovation= Higher profit

“A diverse mix of voices leads to better discussions, decisions, and outcomes for everyone.”

— Sundar Pichai

Focus on today’s pains and tomorrow's needs

The customer should be the center of everything at a company. At Hopin, in every meeting and conversation, the main topic is how they can add value to customers.

“There is only one boss. The customer.”

— Sam Walton

A virtual event on Hopin
A virtual event on Hopin

It’s not about selling and pushing, it’s about how you can delight and offer unique values.

And when your Northstar is creating great experiences, this is the kind of review you’ll get from customers:

“After trialing many different online platforms, Hopin has felt fully the most like a full conference experience, not just watching talks online. The continual updates to the platform, as well as the constant addition of new features, keeps it ahead of the rest. We began using this platform at the beginning of the pandemic, and have been impressed by how it continues to grow and develop into a platform that’s easy to use, and yet dynamic in its offerings. With pricing plans for all budgets, I would highly recommend.”

Product adaptability and product simplicity are the secret sauces of Hopin.

Product adaptability

Hoping has become the best option in the market by:

  • Researching what is today’s customer pains and what is tomorrow's customer needs
  • Constantly improving customer experience based on evidence (quantitative data and qualitative research)
  • Acquiring companies like StreamYard to reach more customer and provide an all-in-one platform
A virtual event on Hopin
A virtual event on Hopin

Hybrid Event is One of the greatest examples of product adaptability.

Imagine you’re planning to invest in Hopin, what’s your first question? Let me guess, “What will happen after the pandemic?”

Hopin believes the trend of online events started way before the pandemic. Covid-19 was only an accelerator.

On the other hand, also in-person events won’t be forgotten for good. That’s why Hopin introduced hybrid events.

Hybrid events help you reach more people, online and offline. Your, in-person and virtual attendees can connect and engage with each other. Simply put, more revenue for you, as an organizer.

A virtual event on Hopin
A virtual event on Hopin

Product simplicity

Hopin achieved to build an easy-to-use product by:

  • Making it super easy for everyone (organizers and attendees) to with just a few clicks create or join an event
  • Designing a clean and simple user interface
  • Providing various features and allowing people to do all of the things related to creating an event on a single platform, without using dozen of different products

Sell a story and build a marketable product

People don’t just buy a product. People buy stories.

Yeah, yeah…I know! We heard that a thousand times. But why many businesses still focus on only a product? It’s like preferring a Fiat Multipla to a Jaguar XKSS.

Linking your business to a great cause will help people to rationalize their purchase decision.

Air Pollution in Tehran
Air Pollution in Tehran

Associate your brand with a great cause

Before digging into this part, I have to say this is not playing a big part in today’s success of Hopin.

Although, I believe global warming is the next rocket fuel for Hopin and will boost their growth even further.

This is how Hopin introduce the great problem they want to solve:

“The major environmental issue associated with festivals and business events is the effect that traveling is having on the world; the high CO2 emission from short/long haul and domestic trips by air, road, and sea are contributing to the planet’s climate change.”

Simply put, if you use Hopin, you can not only organize and participate in events but also you’ll save the Earth.

A great motivator (fulfilling personal needs because we first care about our own survival) + A bonus reward (helping in solving a great cause that threatening our tribe) = A valuable product

Takeaways:

  • Hire talents around the world and allow them to work remotely
  • Solve today’s pain and fulfill tomorrow’s needs by talking with customers and observing their behaviors
  • Increase the value of your product by linking your business with a great cause

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Ali Eskandari

Ali Eskandari

No Paradox. No Progress.

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