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HubSpot Sets Sights on Bigger Customers with New Platform

August 29, 2012
Boston Globe
by Michael B. Farrell

Cambridge software maker HubSpot Inc. will release a completely overhauled version of its online marketing platform at the company’s annual user conference Wednesday, which is drawing about 2,800 customers and marketing professionals to Boston’s Hynes Convention Center for three days.

The six-year-old firm, which makes software used by small and medium-sized businesses to manage online marketing and social media, is now after bigger fish, according to Lori Wizdo, a marketing analyst with Forrester Research in Cambridge who is speaking at the HubSpot conference. Its new platform can manage the longer, more complex sales cycles of larger organizations and will “dramatically expand’’ the company’s “range of customers,” she said.

HubSpot, which makes its money from annual software subscriptions priced at $2,400 and up, said it had $29 million in 2011 revenues, an 81 percent increase over the previous year. The company is best known for evangelizing the practice of “inbound marketing” — placing content on Web blogs or social media networks such as Twitter to generate sales leads.

“They put inbound marketing on the map,” said Wizdo. But the field is getting crowded as more companies offer products and services to help businesses navigate social media and the Web, she said, including such competitors such as Marketo Inc., a maker of automated online marketing software in San Mateo, Calif.

“As you sell to larger businesses, it gets more competitive — but that’s why we wanted to enter that market,” said Mike Volpe, HubSpot chief marketing officer.

The new version gives HubSpot users more information on the social media habits of potential customers, using their posts on social networks such as Facebook to identify sales leads, said Volpe.

Some of the new product’s features were developed at Performable, a Cambridge online marketing start-up that HubSpot bought for an undisclosed sum in 2011. HubSpot made the acquisition soon after it received $32 million in venture capital funding from such investors as Google Ventures — the investment arm of the Mountain View, Calif., search giant Google Inc. — and Salesforce.com Inc., the San Francisco enterprise software company.

HubSpot, which has raised a total of $65 million in venture investment, has 375 employees at its office near Kendall Square. The company has acknowledged that is pursuing an initial public offering, but Volpe would not say when it might file.

“We intend to build a large, independent, successful technology company right here in Boston,” Volpe said, “and one of the milestones in doing that is having an initial public offering.”

Michael B. Farrell can be reached at michael.farrell@globe.com.

HubSpot Sets Sights on Bigger Customers with New Platform

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