This week was an important milestone for HubSpot. Founded over 14 years ago, Dharmesh and I welcomed its 100,000th customer and had annual recurring sales of $ 1 billion.
We have come a long way since we started beating the drum for inbound marketing, and yet HubSpot seems to be just getting started.
In many ways, it feels like the whole world is just starting … or starting over.
The events of the past year have changed entire industries, changed the way we work and changed human behavior on a massive scale. The technology and new habits we developed during the pandemic will not retreat when the coronavirus finally does. Rather, they will come to define “the closest normal”.
This is one of the most profound results of our time: Never before have companies and the products and services they offer have a greater ability to influence human behavior.
When the gyms reopen, people will still be exercising from home, which is made easier by fitness apps. When the offices reopen, employees will continue to work from home, which will be facilitated by work productivity and communication tools. When the theaters reopen, people will still watch live concerts and new movies from home, which is made easier by streaming services.
Without these products and services, many of which have become too necessary over the past year, life would be very different during the pandemic. And it would be much more likely to be back to 2019.
Instead, we’ve seen countless companies urgently reorganizing their plans to meet new customer needs. They have innovated, adapted and redesigned their products.
I was thrilled to see many of HubSpot’s 100,000 customers adapt and innovate in the face of uncertainty, playing an important role in defining the new way we live, travel, work and build a brighter future.
Mindfulness for the masses
Take mindfulness apps, for example. One clearly positive outcome of these turbulent times has been the increasing importance we all attach to our mental wellbeing. Over the past year, HubSpot customers like Calm, Talkspace, and Headspace have gone from being helpful tools for people who want to practice mindfulness to essential services that millions of people use in their daily lives.
When Headspace was founded in 2010 – at a time when meditation was still largely reserved for religious and spiritual organizations – the central question posed by the founders was: “How do we bring Headspace to places where you would not expect it?” Now 10 years later, it’s a multimedia organization with a podcast division, a partnership with Sesame Street, and a recently announced Netflix series.
This advance would not have been possible without the level of scalability the company has achieved over the past 12 months. On the eve of the pandemic in February 2020, the app hit two million paid subscribers, and since then the download rate has increased by 20%. If you look at the data from the first few weeks of the US lockdown, downloads are up 100% compared to the prepandemic.
Headspace grew steadily before the pandemic, but as society got into a time of unprecedented uncertainty, the need for services increased. Thanks to a deeply ingrained passion for serving its customers, the company has been able to scale to 2020 and usher in a new era of mindfulness among the masses.
New tools for a new way of working
As the intertwined relationship between work and location continues to fade, online productivity tools have gone from being a useful addition to traditional work styles to becoming an indispensable part of the toolkit for remote workers.
Numerous HubSpot customers have played an important role in facilitating this shift: Trello has helped parents manage their children’s school schedules, SurveyMonkey has supported nearly a quarter of a million surveys on the coronavirus, and G2 has helped companies find new software solutions Weeks after the coronavirus outbreak, searches for virtual classroom tools increased 1,100% and searches for webinar software increased 550%.
Another HubSpot customer, Monday.com, had grown rapidly in the years leading up to the pandemic, announcing $ 120 million in annual recurring revenue in February 2020 as its software helped thousands of scaling companies work together more effectively. And then, when the ability to collaborate remotely became a critical need for all businesses, the company changed its product roadmap to accommodate sudden changes in customer needs.
Prioritized new releases included embedded zoom views, online whiteboards, and image annotations that could provide customers with immediate added value. The impact of these changes was significant. Not only did Monday.com accelerate its hiring and increase its workforce by 27% between April and June 2020, it also announced a new valuation of $ 2.7 billion. Monday.com was even recognized by Fast Company for its remarkably smooth transition to remote work.
The way we work has changed forever, and the impact of that change is still affecting multiple industries. They affect commercial property prices, trigger mass migrations, and reduce the carbon footprint as commute times decrease.
At the center of these great societal changes are companies like Monday.com, which originally tried to help scale companies collaborate more effectively and are now an essential tool in accelerating a one-time change in human behavior.
While the pandemic has forced entire populations to stay in one place, it has also dramatically changed the way we move around the world. One HubSpot customer at the top of this tier is Airstream.
Airstream has been building its popular state-of-the-art caravans for decades, making it one of the best-known brands in the United States. As the pandemic progressed, the company quickly produced new, relevant resources for everything from small-space exercises to learning and working remotely. Bob Wheeler, CEO of Airstream, said, “These virtual products looked very different from the vehicles we’re used to.” Thanks to this innovative adaptation to the new habits and interests of its customers, Airstream was able to achieve a sales increase of 45% over the previous year in May and an increase of 100% in June.
The pandemic has made work less location-dependent and leisure time less time-dependent. Many can now travel during work and adventure without devoting too much time to work. Recognizing this new dynamic and quickly adapting its strategy, Airstream has evolved from providing a means of travel between destinations to providing the destination itself.
Even after the pandemic is brought under control, ongoing economic uncertainty and fears of a resurgent virus are likely to result in continued reluctance to travel internationally. As a result, staycationing and domestic location hopping will remain a popular choice for years to come. By repositioning its value proposition to reflect its customers’ new habits, Airstream has continued to accelerate the changes sparked by the pandemic while evolving as a global company.
Scale better for society
As the pandemic sent people indoors, racial injustice brought many onto the streets to protest the longstanding inequality in our society. Over the past year, customers have increasingly expected the companies they spend money with to be a driving force in the world.
Lemonade, the insurer and HubSpot customer, is an example of how businesses can have the kind of positive societal impact customers are demanding now while scaling up quickly.
Lemonade is a certified B company that gives all unclaimed rewards to nonprofits selected by its customers. The company’s website says: “Social goods are part of our business model.”
When the pandemic broke out, Lemonade allowed customers with financial difficulties to defer payments (and even during normal times, customers can cancel their policy at any time and receive a full refund). It also gave its customers the opportunity to switch their nonprofit to one that is directly involved in fighting the coronavirus outbreak – and tens of thousands of them accepted the offer. Late last year, the company’s CEO Daniel Schreiber urged companies to encourage their employees to vaccinate.
Leveraging its influence to help fight the coronavirus, Lemonade showed its support for artists who got into financial trouble during the pandemic by launching an Instagram campaign to highlight the artworks it commissioned.
The insurance industry was not immune to the downward economic pressures caused by the pandemic, and yet lemonade was one of the most impressive growth stories of 2020. In December, after just four and a half years in business, the company announced it had 1 million customers. And just a few weeks later, the stock hit an all-time high. The company reached this scale, raising $ 1.1 million to donate to charities such as ACLU, March For Our Lives, and 350.org.
According to Edelman’s 2021 Trust Barometer, business is the most trustworthy institution today compared to government, media and NGOs. As Lemonade scales its business while making a positive impact on the world, it represents the redefined role companies are meant to play in society – where they are for both profit and good.
This new expectation of companies and their CEOs creates a responsibility and an opportunity for companies to play an active role in building a better future for all in the next normal.
Preparation for the next normal
I’ve seen more changes in the past 12 months than in the past 12 years. But now, with HubSpot welcoming its 100,000th customer and handing it over $ 1 billion, I’m not looking back as much as I’m excited.
The next normal doesn’t look like 2019 and doesn’t look very similar in 2020 either. It will be an era unique in the trends it heralds and the possibilities it offers. At HubSpot, our job will be to help our future and existing customers take advantage of these opportunities and continue to help Headspace, Monday.com, Airstream and Lemonade scale and shape the behaviors that define the next normal.
We plan to do this primarily by listening to our customers and then using their feedback to deliver a world class CRM platform as unique as the times we live in and capable of empowering companies to scale over To be successful for years.
I want to thank every customer, partner and employee for helping us get where we are today. Without their passion, advocacy, trust and feedback, the last 15 years would not have been so exciting and the next 15 years would not have been so promising.
Our mission is to help millions of organizations grow better. This week we reached an important milestone on this journey. But just like the next normal case begins, so is HubSpot.