Zoom rival from UK, Hopin ropes in Microsoft-owned LinkedIn as an investor


Flexible work is here to stay, and the talent landscape has fundamentally shifted. Remote work has created new job opportunities for some, offered more family time, and provided options for whether or when to commute. But there are also challenges ahead, claims The 2021 Work Trend Index by Microsoft. Furthermore, it notes that teams have become more siloed this year and digital exhaustion is a real and unsustainable threat.

After a year that’s seen more people than ever working remotely, Microsoft is banging the drum for hybrid work, which is a model that combines remote access and in-person work. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella revealed the company’s plans of redefining workplaces in the future. Now, LinkedIn, owned by Microsoft, is betting big on remote working, claiming that people will continue to convene online even when offices reopen in the future.

LinkedIn invests in Hopin

LinkedIn, owned by Microsoft for five years now, continues to invest separately from its parent company. In a recent development, the company has pumped in under $50 million (nearly £35 million) investment into Hopin, which is a leading London-based virtual and hybrid experiences platform, claims a report by CNBC citing people familiar with the deal. With this round, LinkedIn joins Hopin’s list of investors by participating in the oversubscribed Series C secondary round.

Notably, LinkedIn has been actively investing in software and has backed at least three other startups this year, according to PitchBook. Recently, LinkedIn was part of the $88 million (nearly £62 million) financing in Piano, an analytics startup in May.

This investment follows the $400 million (nearly £283 million) Series C funding that Hopin raised back in March this year, a round that took its valuation to $5.65 billion ((nearly £4 billion). LinkedIn has invested at the same valuation by buying shares from existing shareholders.

Utilisation of funds

Hopin will use the funds to accelerate growth by scaling and supporting its multi-product business. It will continue investing in the development of its platform technologies in areas such as video and mobile, which are crucial in defining the future of hybrid events and making them a seamless experience.

Johnny Boufarhat, CEO and Founder of Hopin said: “We’re grateful to have LinkedIn’s support and shared vision to provide meaningful connection around the world. LinkedIn is more than just an investor, we are closely collaborating to help LinkedIn members and Hopin users engage with more people and discover immersive experiences. We can’t wait to share more soon as Hopin continues to transform the way we all connect.”

“Virtual events are here to stay, and we recognize our customers use many platforms, so we want to make it easy for them to extend the reach of their live events onto LinkedIn,” said Scott Roberts, VP of Business Development at LinkedIn. “Together with Hopin and Streamyard, we’ll be exploring more ways that we can help event organizers and attendees build meaningful connections and form long-lasting communities.”

Acquisitions by Hopin

As part of its multi-product strategy of 2020, Hopin acquihired the mobile app development team from Topi and launched its own mobile app earlier this year. It also acquired the video streaming company StreamYard, adding its 3.6 million video content creators to its base. This year, Hopin acquired video hosting provider Streamable and video technology company Jamm.

The technology from both companies will be integrated into Hopin’s current product offering and become the basis for the development of future video products and features. The acquisitions solidify Hopin’s focus to holistically improve its professional-grade video capabilities for organisers that host events on Hopin and to build out its suite of new, video-centric products. These two acquisitions are a continuation of Hopin’s rapid growth, as it looks to its future product roadmap to drive and meet the demand of current and future customers.

“As the world reopens, high-quality virtual experiences will continue to be critical. Video will be the primary communication channel for businesses, creators and organizations to share experiences virtually, so these acquisitions are a natural next step,” said Boufarhat. “The technology and resources from Jamm and Streamable will become foundational components to future products and the entire Hopin video experience — from production and video quality to how our customers can collaborate and distribute content.”

Massive growth in a year

Established in 2019 by Johnny Boufarhat, Hopin had an employee base of just five in early 2020 and it grew tremendously reaching 550 as of now. Over 95,000 organisations use the virtual conference software by the company and several millions of people attend virtual events every month. Being one of the largest unicorns in Europe, its annual recurring revenue rose to $70 million, which is up from $20 million last year. Also, the company is planning to float its shares later this year or early next year. It is an arch rival to Zoom and is known as the ‘Covid unicorn’.

The company grew during the pandemic as the demand for its software soared during the coronavirus pandemic. Its software lets conference hosts mimic the experience of physical events, with tools for virtual talks and sidebars for networking. Notably, the pandemic-driven boom in online services was not only limited to Hopin. Companies including Zoom, Amazon and Netflix also got a lift from the pandemic.

Hopin enables brands and communities to create all-in-one live video experiences for their audiences. Through its platforms, attendees can learn, interact, and connect with people from anywhere in the world. With Hopin, you can create live virtual and hybrid events that are interactive and immersive.