Is HubSpot owned by Google?
HubSpot has always been known as the best way to manage your business and market its products online — but did you know that it’s also run by some of the smartest people working at Google right now?
We spoke with David Porter, VP Marketing & Operations at HubSpot, about this interesting question. He told us all about how they came together under Google, what makes them different from other marketing technology providers, and whether or not their users can actually see any ads on their site. Here are his answers.
Is HubSpot a Google company?
No, we're an independent company that was acquired in 2015 by Google Ventures (GV). We have over 1 million customers using our software daily who use Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Drive, etc. Our platform is used by more than 250k B2B marketers around the globe. GV provides capital and guidance while allowing us to operate independently.
What do “we” mean here? Well, I'm part of the team which started out as 4 guys in my apartment back in 2007. Today there are 300 employees worldwide including offices located across North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America and Africa. The majority of our global headquarters staff work out of our new San Francisco office. Most recently, we opened up shop in NYC where we've hired 30 additional engineers focused on building powerful AI-driven tools that help grow brands like JetBlue Airways and Nestlé Waters.
How does "independent" fit into that picture? In short, we don't need outside investment. It allows us to focus entirely on customer success without worrying about quarterly profits. If things go well, we'll be able to fund growth internally through revenue. At the same time, being totally independent gives us flexibility to make decisions based purely on data rather than opinions. So far so good! :)
You mentioned having partners. Can you tell me more about those partnerships specifically? What types of services are offered to these partners?
Our current clients include big names such as Facebook, eBay, Netflix, HBO GO/Now, Samsung, Nestle, Jet Blue, Mastercard, Visa, LinkedIn, and many others. All of these organizations rely heavily on digital marketing and advertising technologies to connect with customers. They each want something very specific:
Facebook wants to reach consumers directly with relevant content and offers.
eBay needs to offer compelling deals every day to attract buyers.
Netflix wants to engage viewers when they come home after watching TV shows.
Nestlé wants to communicate regularly with loyal customers to keep them coming back for more.
JetBlue wants to show off their unique culture to potential passengers before they even get onto the plane.
MasterCard would like to provide better experiences between cardholders and merchants.
Visa would love to share information with banks and credit unions in real-time.
LinkedIn wants to give job seekers access to millions of professionals looking for great opportunities.
With all of these diverse requirements, it's easy to understand why HubSpot's end goal isn't just to build a toolset -- it's to create a unified experience that leverages existing assets. For example, if you were a consumer shopping for airline tickets, it wouldn't matter if you were searching Bing vs. Google. Your search results should look exactly the same no matter which browser you open.
That's why we created MyStuff Experiences™ - a suite of web applications designed to deliver consistent user journeys across multiple devices. This means that whenever someone performs a certain action, he or she will receive similar responses regardless of device type. Think about trying to book a flight. Do you want to enter your travel dates first or last? Or maybe choose seat preferences differently depending on your screen size? You probably already answered yes to both questions. That's because everyone knows that consistency matters. When you buy a house, you expect everything inside to function the exact same way. And when you fly somewhere, you expect sites to display prices similarly on desktop computers, tablets, and mobile phones.
Is HubSpot a Google product?
Yes. As soon as we got acquisition notice earlier this year, we began transitioning away from being a standalone company and toward becoming part of Google. Now we spend 80 percent of our time helping our customers solve challenges related to managing their marketing programs, driving sales leads, increasing engagement rates, improving conversion, and serving more personalized audiences. Some examples of ways we're doing this:
Automatically trigger followup emails to prospects based on events triggered during the signup process.
Learn which messages convert best for individual accounts, then automatically send those particular pieces of content consistently.
Build custom landing pages for each audience based on previous interactions.
Create dynamic ad campaigns and track performance with AdWords.
Integrate HubSpot's API within AdWords.
Drive website traffic via remarketing and retargeting.
Improve lead nurturing efforts by sending targeted email sequences.
And much more...
As you can imagine, we're constantly testing new features and algorithms to improve upon these capabilities. But our engineering teams continue to remain completely separate from Google. Just yesterday, we launched a brand new developer portal that includes support for Android development, iOS app integration, cross-platform code sharing, and more.
We're excited about bringing these latest updates to developers around the world.
It took us awhile to transition away from running our own tech stack due to legacy systems and integrations. We made the decision to move forward only once we had ironed out the kinks in order to ensure a smooth migration process for our customers.
In addition to making sure our customers stay connected to their contacts, social media, and internal systems, we're also proud of the fact that none of our platforms require a subscription plan. Unlike many enterprise SaaS solutions, we never force anyone to pay monthly fees. Instead, we charge customers per transaction instead. This helps simplify billing cycles and reduces cost for large enterprises that may not budget money for recurring subscriptions.
Do you think HubSpot benefits from being a part of Google? Why or why not?
Not really. We benefit greatly from being part of Google since we enjoy the resources of a larger organization. However, we still maintain control over our roadmap, pricing, and feature set. Our independence keeps us accountable and enables us to iterate quickly on ideas.
If we decide that one idea doesn't pan out, we won't simply abandon it overnight. Rather we'll take a hard look at if idea is worth pursuing further. A lot of times, we'll find flaws or issues with a concept early on and either scrap or modify accordingly. On occasion, we might pursue an idea further and launch it publicly later down the road. Either way, we try to avoid holding onto concepts long past their prime.
One thing I'd add is that HubSpot certainly hasn't abandoned innovation. While we've stopped experimenting with lots of crazy ideas, we haven't forgotten about them. Many of those failed experiments ended up inspiring future projects. Take for instance, the recent pivot toward creating My Stuff Experiences. After years spent building an assortment of unrelated apps, we realized we weren't truly solving the problem of fragmented marketing channels. By focusing exclusively on a single solution area, we can now innovate faster and become leaders in our industry.
Is HubSpot a Google partner?
Absolutely. We're currently listed as a Partner Program member in Google Cloud Platform Console. This program focuses on companies interested in integrating third party APIs and SDKs with Google's offerings. Once enrolled, HubSpot customers gain instant access to hundreds of APIs including YouTube Video Player Library, Google Maps Engine, Google Analytics Reporting API, and more. Plus, we're offering special discounts to Partners that participate in beta programs.
Google Cloud Platform memberships start at $49 per month and include unlimited usage of cloud infrastructure and storage. Customers can select which parts of Google Cloud Platform Suite to subscribe to, plus enjoy several perks such as dedicated account reps, priority technical support, and the ability to self-service basic upgrades.
This membership level is perfect for smaller companies seeking affordable yet robust cloud hosting solutions. Enterprise customers can contact their Sales Engineers to learn more about HubSpot's full package of managed service options available for purchase.
Can you integrate HubSpot with Google Ads?
Yes. Like other major players in the marketing automation space, we allow advertisers to integrate their own tracking IDs. We recommend starting with the HubSpot Mobile Insights extension. From there, you can easily hook into various sources of data such as Pardot, Constant Contact, Mailchimp, among others.
For those of you unfamiliar with Pardot, it's arguably the most popular marketing automation platform today. Its popularity comes from two reasons: First, it integrates perfectly with HubSpot's CRM system (which is awesome) and second, it's extremely intuitive to use. Since many of our customers prefer to leverage HubSpot's built-in CRM system, Pardot serves as a solid middleware layer that connects the dots between marketing activities, ecommerce transactions, and backend ERP processes.
So what does this mean for you? Simply put, your campaign metrics will sync seamlessly with your HubSpot CRM database. In turn, you'll receive reports showing meaningful insights straight from Google Ads. It's incredibly useful for knowing how effective your ads have been and how you compare against competitors.
I hope we helped answer your initial question. Thanks again for reading! Looking forward to answering more!
Hubspot is an award-winning company that helps business owners and entrepreneurs grow their organizations online through a powerful platform designed specifically for them. The company was founded on the premise that consumers don't want to be sold or pitched at every time they're looking up something online — they just want answers quickly.
That's why it offers its customers customizable plans so they can choose what works best for them. It also means there are no contracts or monthly fees because HubSpot isn't trying to lock people into using any particular product. Instead, it gives users access to all of the tools needed to build highly effective marketing campaigns and manage leads across multiple channels including social media and email. In short, if your goal is to grow your brand, increase sales and profits, or take your organization forward technologically, then HubSpot has got you covered.
But how did this Boston-based startup get started? Who helped create this robust software solution? And who owns the tech giant behind it? Let’s go back in history…
Can you use HubSpot with Gmail?
In 2012, HubSpot cofounder Dharmesh Shah approached his friend Jeff Lawson about creating a new kind of customer relationship management (CRM) tool. Although he had years' worth of experience from working as VP Product at Evernote and founding other successful startups like Zendesk, Lawson immediately agreed to join him on the venture.
Lawson and Shah were confident that they had created a better way to help small brands sell more effectively via automation, but they wanted to test out their idea before launching publicly. They knew the key would be to make sure their system worked well within existing web platforms such as Facebook Pages, Twitter accounts and blogs.
So during the summer of 2013, Lawson and Shah began to explore whether HubSpot could integrate directly with popular services already used by millions of Americans. After much trial and error, they found themselves frustrated by the amount of work required to connect these different systems together. So they decided to take matters into their own hands.
"We realized we couldn’t wait around for third parties to solve our problem," says Lawson. "Instead, we came up with a unique strategy where we would build our own technology."
As part of this process, Lawson met David Fischer – a former engineer turned entrepreneur himself – while attending the Founder Institute Launch Program. As soon as Lawson explained HubSpot’s vision to Fischer, the two teamed up to begin developing the first version of the app. Not long after, they officially put down roots in 2011, moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, and launched their beta testing program. By September 2014, HubSpot had raised $7 million in seed funding led by General Catalyst Partners and DAG Ventures. Today, the company boasts over 1,000 employees based throughout North America, Europe and Australia.
And although HubSpot has grown dramatically since its inception, Lawson insists that the team still operates without being tied down by anyone else’s rules. He explains, “Our philosophy is simple: We believe freedom fosters innovation."
With that said, here are some interesting facts about HubSpot's origin story…
Who funded HubSpot?
Although Lawson and Shah have been leading the charge since day one, early investors include:
• Fidelity Investments ($1.5 million Series A round)
• Highland Capital Partners ($2 Million strategic investment)
• Matrix Partners ($10 million series B round)
• GV (formerly known as Google Ventures).
According to Lawson, the founders are currently seeking additional capital to continue growing the company. But even though HubSpot will undoubtedly look to expand internationally in future years, Lawson doesn't foresee leaving Boston anytime soon. "There is nowhere I'd rather be than right here in my hometown," he adds.
Who invested in HubSpot?
General Catalyst Partners led the Series A round of financing, followed closely by DAG Venture Fund. Both firms joined earlier investor Benchmark Capital which provided significant financial support during HubSpot’s rapid growth phase between 2013 and 2015. According to Lawson, both VC funds remain involved today, helping the company stay focused on building products and solutions that delight current and prospective clients.
One of those clients is Salesforce.com, Inc., whose CEO Marc Benioff supported HubSpot’s launch in 2010 when he wrote a blog post titled "Why You Should Use HubSpot To Grow Your Business Online". Since then, the company has become a valued partner, providing assistance with SaaS integration, training on various industry specific topics, and hosting events with the HubSpot team.
Another big name supporting HubSpot is Intel Corporation, which became an official corporate sponsor in November 2016. With nearly 300 global locations spanning five continents, Intel Corp. aims to provide high performance computing, communications, data center, consumer electronics manufacturing, digital entertainment and smart devices technologies worldwide. Its mission statement includes "delivering innovations that improve productivity and enrich lives," making it clear it shares a similar value set as HubSpot.
Interestingly enough, HubSpot wasn't always considered a household name. That changed in late 2014 thanks to a major rebranding effort that included a massive redesign and logo refresh. Nowadays, HubSpot’s website looks very sleek and modern, complete with large photos and videos that speak volumes to potential customers. This visual overhaul has certainly made a difference, especially considering HubSpot didn’t undergo another design update until 2017.
Also important to note is that HubSpot does not disclose the names of individual investors who may hold stakes in the company. However, it’s safe to say that many of these individuals have enjoyed great success following investments in HubSpot. For example, Mark Pincus, founder of Zynga, purchased 9 percent of HubSpot stock in August 2016, joining fellow Silicon Valley power players Peter Thiel, Reid Hoffman and Elon Musk.
Who built HubSpot?
When asked this question, Lawson simply replies, "Me!" Of course, the real answer is a bit more complicated.
While Lawson and Shah were instrumental in bringing HubSpot to life, countless others contributed to the final outcome. From engineers to designers to marketers to project managers, HubSpot wouldn't exist without each person's efforts. Here are just a few examples…
Cindy Haughey - Chief Creative Officer & Co-Founder
Haughey serves as HubSpot's chief creative officer and co-founder. She oversees everything from branding and messaging to strategy and user research. Prior to her role at HubSpot, she spent 15 years honing her craft at advertising agencies Leo Burnett and TBWA/Chiat Day. Before becoming an ad executive, Haughey studied graphic arts at Rhode Island School Of Design.
David Fischer - Entrepreneur / Engineer
Fischer served as the initial lead developer responsible for building the prototype code base that eventually became HubSpot. His background as an engineer played a huge role in shaping the engineering side of things, including security protocols, API integrations, database architecture, etc. Fischer holds a master's degree in computer science from Northeastern University.
Evan O'Connor - Senior Developer
O'Conner joined HubSpot in October 2014 as senior developer. He originally hails from Ireland where he received his bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Trinity College Dublin. While studying, O'Conner worked in the IT department as a network administrator and later as a consultant specializing in Java development.
Chris Schoenig - Director of Engineering
Schoenig held numerous roles prior to coming aboard as director of engineering in May 2016. Most recently, he worked as a technical architect for Microsoft Azure cloud service. Before that, he served as a principal application developer at iSoftStone Software Corp. Schoenig graduated from Worcester Polytechnic Institute with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Computer Information Systems.
Nikhil Goel - Data Scientist
Goel joined HubSpot in July 2016 and now focuses primarily on data analysis. Previously, he worked as a data scientist at Amazon Web Services. Nikhil earned his Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Cornell University and a Master of Technology in Computer Science from MIT Sloan Management Review.
Kerry Flynn - Head of Marketing
Flynn comes to HubSpot after serving as vice president of marketing at Appdynamics from 2009 to 2015. She started her career at IBM, where she ran marketing operations for Lotus Notes and Lotus SmartSuite applications. Flynn has extensive expertise in defining market needs, understanding target audiences, and driving adoption among diverse groups of end users.
Shivani Narang - Project Manager
Narang joined HubSpot in April 2016 as project manager. She brings 10 years of experience to the table having previously worked as director of engineering at Paypal from 2008 to 2012. Narang specializes in agile methodology, scrum transformation, and lean six sigma.
What makes HubSpot stand apart is its commitment to fostering creativity and collaboration wherever possible. For example, unlike many established competitors, HubSpot encourages employees to share ideas openly, often taking suggestions from everyone on staff. Lawson believes this practice ultimately benefits the entire company.
"By encouraging transparency, trust grows and relationships develop naturally," he says. "People feel empowered to do whatever it takes to deliver results for our partners and customers."
In addition to connecting with prospects and managing client relations, HubSpot also provides marketing professionals with analytics capabilities to monitor campaign effectiveness. These features allow teams to see exactly what users are doing inside the app and measure overall conversion rates.
When you think about it, the idea that a business software platform could be bought and sold like an app is pretty crazy — but that’s exactly what happened in 2014 when privately-held marketing automation tech startup Hubspot was acquired by publicly traded giant Google for $1.2 billion.
HubSpot has been around since 1999, originally serving only B2B marketers who needed more sophisticated tools than email blasts and mass e-newsletter distribution. Nowadays, its clients include big names such as Apple, American Express, Dell, Facebook, GoDaddy, General Motors and IBM among others. It also serves smaller brands through their affordable Enterprise Edition. And now it will soon serve even bigger ones thanks to Google Ventures.
But how did this happen? Is HubSpot still independent after all these acquisitions? Here are some interesting facts about HubSpot and where they came from.
Is HubSpot private or public?
Forbes defines HubSpot Inc., which went public on July 31st 2015, as “a hybrid between Salesforce.com (public) and Intuit (private).” The same source says that while HubSpot has 500 employees, it has no plans to become part of Google anytime soon. In fact, Forbes reported earlier this year that there were rumors floating around the internet that Google would buy HubSpot. But those were later denied both by the CEO, Dharmesh Shah, and sources close to the deal.
We reached out to HubSpot to find out if any acquisition talks took place at all during 2014, but we got nothing back other than an automated response saying "we don't comment on rumor or speculation." We'll update the post if anything changes.
In March, however, the Wall Street Journal confirmed that Google had approached HubSpot last fall regarding a possible takeover. At that time, HubSpot said it wasn't interested in selling itself off and instead preferred working things out internally. So far, it seems that wish hasn't changed much.
Even though HubSpot is currently listed on NASDAQ, it isn't considered a real estate investment trust (REIT), making it harder for buyers to acquire shares directly without going through stock exchanges first. That means that unlike many startups, HubSpot can't just decide to raise money via VC funds and sell themselves to whomever wants them next.
On top of that, HubSpot doesn't seem to want to focus too much on growth right now. Instead, it's prioritizing stability over expansion. As per CNBC, its revenue grew 15 percent year over year in Q4 2016 compared to 5 percent for Alphabet, Google parent company. HubSpot also posted better quarterly results than YouTube, Nest, and Android OS maker/seller Xiaomi despite having fewer employees.
So does that mean HubSpot won’t ever get taken over by anyone else? Well... maybe not. For example, Amazon recently launched AWS Partner Network, aimed to help developers build products on its cloud services. Meanwhile, Microsoft announced its Azure Stack service, designed specifically for enterprises running critical applications on Azure. These aren't necessarily signs of imminent takeovers either.
How was HubSpot founded?
While today HubSpot mainly focuses on helping medium size businesses grow online, it started out very differently. When founder Dharmesh Shah cofounded the company in 1999 he wanted to create something similar to Yellow Pages directories so people could easily search for local vendors and suppliers. He named his new venture 'HUB' because he thought it should look like a circular hub.
"I didn't really know what I was doing," recalls Shah in an interview with TechCrunch. He knew he couldn't compete with established players like Oracle and Siebel, so he decided to go completely vertical and offer marketing solutions exclusively to larger organizations. To differentiate himself from competitors, Shah developed a unique sales model called Managed Services & Software Licensing (MS&S) which essentially meant he'd charge large customers based on number of users rather than amount spent. This way, he wouldn't need to worry about covering upsell commissions and could keep margins high.
Shah began offering the MS&S model to Fortune 100 firms like AT&T and Ford Motor Company before moving onto mid-sized companies like Perot Systems, Sealed Air and West Bend Insurance. By 2003, HubSpot officially entered the market with revenues exceeding $3 million. Since then, it expanded into Europe and Asia Pacific followed by North America, Latin America and Africa two years later. In 2008, the company hit another milestone when it became profitable for the first time. Today, HubSpot claims to support 2,000+ global partners including 800+ agencies and 50% of Fortune Global 1000 companies.
As HubSpot evolved, so did its product offerings. From 2004 until 2009, the company offered four distinct platforms: HUBSite Marketing Automation (MA), HUBConnections Management Platform, HUBLeadership MA and HUBCare Management Tool. Then came 2010 saw the launch of the Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) suite - HubSpot CRM and HubSpot Gold. Later, the company released HUGO Analytics, HUSend Mailer, and HUPush Mobile Push Service.
And finally, in 2013, HubSpot introduced HubSpot Academy, a training platform that offers certification courses for professionals looking to learn technical skills related to different areas of technology. Currently, HubSpot Academy includes 101 modules covering everything from HTML5 coding to mobile application development. Courses are available across various levels starting with entry level and ending with expert certificate programs.
What company owns HubSpot?
Google certainly makes sense as a potential buyer considering HubSpot's recent success stories. Back in 2012, the company helped Samsung expand its Galaxy S III smartphone line by creating custom versions optimized for specific carriers. Two years ago, Google partnered with GE Digital to provide businesses with digital healthcare services using data collected from smart home devices. Last month, it purchased Fitbit, makers of popular fitness trackers, in order to boost its wearable device lineup. However, according to multiple reports, the sale of HubSpot to Google never actually made it past initial discussions. According to Recode, the deal fell apart due to disagreements over price.
Another reason why Google might not make good fit for HubSpot is that it already has its own customer relationship management tool called G Suite. Launched back in 2007, G Suite allows teams within Google to collaborate together and work remotely from anywhere in the world. Earlier this week, Google announced a new version of G Suite called G Cloud Connector aimed primarily at enterprises wanting to use GCP for collaboration purposes.
This leaves us wondering whether Google would consider buying HubSpot outright. One thing is clear, though: regardless of who ends up owning it, HubSpot's future looks bright.