With a new round of funding in hand, Hubb CEO Allison Magyar says the Vancouver-based software company is poised to expand its staff and its array of products and services.
Hubb offers an online software platform to manage and coordinate large-scale corporate meetings and events. The software is scalable and web-based, meaning any client can access it through a browser without having to install a specific program on their computers — a delivery model known as Software as a Service, or SaaS.
“We help the meeting planners with collecting and managing all of their complex event data, and help them with workflows to streamline their processes,” Magyar said. “Collecting all that data is a massive amount of work and time.”
The company recently secured $6 million in new funding from venture capital firm Five Elms Capital, based in Kansas City, Mo. It’s the largest infusion of cash to date for the 3-year-old company, bringing its total funding to $10 million. Magyar said the deal was the product of a six-month search for new funding partners.
Magyar is the owner, board chairwoman and former CEO of Dynamic Events, a Vancouver-based meeting management company. She and her team initially started developing what would become the Hubb software platform in 2012 to help keep track of the myriad details of Dynamic Events projects.
After about two years of internal use, she decided to begin offering the software for public use and created Hubb to run the service and continue to develop it.
“I was building Software as a Service before I knew what Software as a Service meant,” she said. “I realized I’d built something of value, so we went to market in 2015.”
Most of the company’s initial $3.7 million round of funding came from the Oregon Venture Fund and Elevate Capital, secured by winning a series of early-stage startup pitch competitions. That initial funding enabled the company to grow from a starting client base of 20 to more than 100, Magyar said.
“Our goal with the original round of funding was to break even,” she said. “We achieved that this year.”
Still, she said, the company operated very much as a startup during its first few years, with a small team of employees scrambling to stay on top of the challenges of the rapidly expanding business. Magyar expects the expansion to continue at the same rate in the next few years, and she said the company had reached a point where it needed to seek renewed funding to keep pace with the demands of its own growth.
“Our market is right now,” she said. “There couldn’t be a more perfect time for us, with the unique niche we have, to completely transform our industry.”
With the new funding secured, Magyar said, one of the first priorities will be to hire additional staff to build out the team.
“First and foremost, I think we’ve got to take care of our team,” she said. “As a startup, you eat ramen and people end up working their butts off to make the impossible possible.”
There will also be an increased emphasis on sales and marketing to bring Hubb software to new types of companies throughout the events-planning industry.
Magyar said she also has ideas about new directions for development and enhancement of Hubb’s software by adding more options for data analytics and the integration of artificial intelligence and machine learning.
“There’s a lot of practical applications for machine learning and AI in our business,” she said.
For example, she said, a conference for doctors might be picking from more than 300 submissions to fill just 100 sessions, and the addition of a machine-learning analysis could help predict which sessions will be most relevant to the audience and serve as a check against any potential unconscious biases on the part of the grading committee.
Another potential application would be to help determine the best titles and marketing strategies for individual sessions. But AI is still a new field, Magyar said, so she expects Hubb to uncover additional uses as the company begins experimenting with the technology.
At some point in the next few years, Hubb will also need to take a look at physically growing beyond its current office at 4510 N.E. 68th Dr. in the Walnut Grove area, Magyar said. She pointed to downtown Vancouver as one possibility for a relocated or second office, but said the company would need to work through concerns about parking availability.
“We’re definitely looking at expansion,” she said. “We’ve got 10 people in the office here, so we’re right on top of each other.”
But in the short term, Magyar said, she and her team have just been focusing on celebrating the milestone.
“This is a result of all their hard work and dedication,” she said.