HubSpot taps West Coast backers for $32m in new funding
Highlights from Scott Kirsner’s Innovation Economy blog.
HubSpot, the Cambridge marketing software start-up, has a fourth round of funding: $32 million from Sequoia Capital, Google Ventures, and software-as-a-service pioneer Salesforce.com.
The money from that trio of West Coast backers brings HubSpot’s total raised to about $65 million; the company’s Boston-area investors include Matrix Partners, General Catalyst, and Visible Measures chief executive Brian Shin.
HubSpot coined the term “inbound marketing.’’ Essentially, inbound marketing is the opposite of traditional “shotgun-style’’ broadcast marketing.
Inbound marketing involves publishing content on websites, blogs, Twitter, and other social media platforms that helps prospective customers learn about your product or service. Then, HubSpot helps track the leads that come through those channels to see what is most effective at turning prospects into paying customers. HubSpot sells a subscription to its Web-based software, starting at $3,000 a year for the smallest businesses. (The company was ranked number four on the Globe’s list of the top places to work in 2010.)
It is not common for Sequoia Capital, which has funded
He missed one: Jeff Taylor’s social network for baby boomers, Eons, which laid off most of its employees last year, and has lately been trying to sell off its component pieces.
HubSpot’s current headcount is 192, and the company had expected to hire about 90 people this year. But that was before closing this latest funding round. Shah said that “we generally have an ‘open budget’ on product people (engineers, quality assurance, designers). As we come across great people, we always try to hire them.’’
Apparently, this latest funding round also helps the two founders cash out some of their stock in HubSpot, a transaction that many investors see as key to building a company for the long term, since it reduces the appeal for the founders of selling to achieve a quick payday.
A venture capitalist jumps I was curious about this tweet from Gemvara’s chief executive, Matt Lauzon, earlier this month: “What VC just left his venture role to join full time as a Gemvarian?’’
My hunch was that someone from Lexington’s Highland Capital Partners, Gemvara’s earliest investor, had moved downstairs, where the custom jewelry site sublets space on the first floor of Highland’s building.
I was right. Though his bio is still up on the Highland site, principal Matt Nichols joined Gemvara this month as executive vice president of operations. Nichols had worked with Highland partner Bob Davis to conduct due diligence on Gemvara (originally known as Paragon Lake) and make the investment, and he has been helping the company out on an informal basis since December. In his new role at Gemvara, he will be responsible for managing the company’s relationships with jewelry makers.
In 2009, Highland raised its latest fund, which at $400 million was half the size of its predecessor. That often leads to a contraction in the number of partners, principals, and associates working at a firm. But Nichols’ jump may also be a comment on Gemvara’s potential.
Before joining Highland, Nichols worked on Google’s corporate development team, sourcing acquisitions and investments in digital media.
Atlas planting more seeds I had been hearing buzz that Atlas Venture, newly ensconced in East Cambridge, had been inviting an increasing number of entrepreneurs to cultivate new companies in its offices, with the goal of making small seed investments if their ideas started to click.
“We’re doing much more seed these days than we did in the past decade,’’ said an Atlas partner, Jean-Francois Formela.
One of the start-ups that has been percolating in Atlas’s offices, Nimbus Discovery, has announced that Bill Gates is putting some money in, joining a seed round that began last year with $3.5 million from Atlas and Schrödinger, a New York company that sells software that scientists use to design drugs.
Nimbus will be using customized software developed by Schrödinger to develop drugs that will take aim at notoriously tough-to-hit biological targets. Nimbus says it is initially working on drugs that could be effective against lymphoma, inflammatory disease, and obesity. While Nimbus is still relatively small, its management team includes Rosana Kapeller, a cofounder of Aileron Therapeutics, and Jonathan Montagu, a veteran of Concert Pharmaceuticals.
Formela said there are two other seed-stage life-sciences companies that Atlas is involved with, one of which is “working on the next generation of RNA interference.’’ He said Atlas is currently seeding far more technology start-ups than life sciences companies, at least a dozen.
Also keeping the crew at Atlas busy is a new project called Atlas Venture Development Corp. Led by David Grayzel, formerly an executive at
AVDC got its start in June. Atlas says it will invest about $15 million in AVDC, with a goal of working on eight to 12 new products. Grayzel said they hope to have the first AVDC product in development this spring.
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