Inbound marketing firm HubSpot has gone public, and has already raised $125 million from their IPO, valuing the company at a total of $759 million.
At NewsCred we’re very excited for the soon to be “HUBS.” Out of the first generation of marketing automation tools (Marketo, Eloqua, and Pardot), HubSpot is stronger than ever. There were many rumors of acquisition offers but personally, as an entrepreneur, I’m thrilled they stayed the course to IPO and I am genuinely excited for them. But it also means that this generation of tools has come full circle, opening up opportunities for new companies to come in and disrupt the market with creative ideas and technologies. We’ve seen similar lifecycles with social media management tools like Buddy Media (acquired by Salesforce), Virtue (now part of Oracle), and Wildfire (acquired by Google). The acquisitions benefit the original companies while making way for the next generation of ideas and social marketing tools (now led by Sprinklr, Spredfast, etc).
I believe the next generation of marketing automation is represented by the new content marketing platforms, as the industry shifts and content becomes an integral part of today’s marketing and demand generation strategy. If you ask any of the first generation marketing automation companies, a primary reason for churn is the fact that customers don’t have enough high-quality content to push through those platforms. Bringing content and automation together makes sense, and we will likely see some of the “content marketing” companies becoming “content marketing automation” companies. No surprise that NewsCred has Jon Miller, CoFounder of Marketo, as an Advisor, as well as Rajeev Batra (Mayfield) and Doug Pepper (Interwest) on our board, as both were key investors in Marketo.
Additionally, in every marketing tech category there is room for high-end enterprise and SMB products. HubSpot focused almost entirely on SMBs and were able to build a big business (eventually they also started moving upstream). In content marketing, most companies, like NewsCred, are going after enterprise and Fortune 2000. As the category matures, will there be a big SMB content marketing product that emerges? Or will one of the big ones go downstream to meet the needs of small business owners who also need content to reach and engage their audiences? I would bet on the former.
We could not be more thrilled for HUBS and their investors (HubSpot was founded in 2006, a couple years before us). Mark Roberge, HubSpot’s CRO and the guy who built their now famous sales machine, is a friend and sales mentor to NewsCred and we are so excited about what HubSpot has accomplished. Joe Chernov, their VP of content, has also been a great supporter and partner in elevating the content marketing conversation. Dharmesh’s blog (onstartups.com) is one of the best and earliest examples of content marketing. These guys are pioneers.
Big IPOs mean big things for an industry and shows that the public markets are hungry for solutions that make marketing better for brands as well as their end consumers. More success in our industry means better technology and tools that can help all of us become better marketers and tell important stories about the bigger brand purpose of all of our companies. After all, people care about why a company exists, not just what they do or what they sell. I think that’s something everyone can get excited about.
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