HubSpot Hits $100M Raised, Moves Closer to IPO (or Acquisition)

11/5/12Follow @gthuang

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marketing cluster in Boston that includes established firms like Constant Contact (NASDAQ: CTCT), Demandware (NYSE: DWRE), Brightcove (NASDAQ: BCOV), and Unica (now part of IBM).

While the region’s tech companies dominated the minicomputer industry a few decades ago, he says, they missed the PC revolution, lost their lead in networking, and are starting to lose the greater enterprise software game—all to Silicon Valley. “I see a chance to dominate the technical marketing industry,” he says. “What’s really going to piss me off is if Silicon Valley beats us at our own game.”

As Halligan explains, the traditional Madison Avenue approach to marketing is in decline. So there’s a huge opportunity to innovate in the sector. “You have to match the way humans really buy stuff,” he says, meaning (increasingly) online and mobile. To that end, HubSpot wants to be the dominant force in next-generation online marketing.

It’s debatable whether the company has to go public to do that. Halligan says there are a couple of reasons why it would want an IPO: liquidity for employees and investors, and to “use the currency to do stuff.” But that must be balanced against the regulatory pains of going public.

In the meantime, the company and its board would presumably entertain any serious acquisition offers—but the price of HubSpot just went up.

As for the timing of an IPO, Halligan says, “We could file now if we wanted.” But the company will most likely wait for another year or so, he says. “We want to go public, but our hair is not on fire.”

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com or call him at 617-252-7323. Follow @gthuang

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