Hubb, an award-winning event management software, is a phenomenal product that reinvents the way people experience virtual, onsite, and hybrid events. Hubb is a powerful attendee engagement tool that brings brands to life.
As a lead investor in 2016 and board member of Hubb, Elevate Capital is thrilled that this investment exit from Elevate Capital allows Hubb Founder Allie Magyar and her team to take her brand to a higher level with Intrado Digital Media’s acquisition.
“The main reason we invested in Hubb five years ago is because of Allie Magyar,” said Nitin Rai, Elevate Capital’s Founder and Managing Partner. “Additionally, TiE Oregon Angels and the Oregon Tap Fund led by Elevate Capital also co-invested in Hubb. When one of our portfolio companies successfully exits, that’s when we create substantial value with wealth creation in the community and economy.”
Nitin recently sat down with Allie to discuss how her focus, drive, and leadership made Hubb a phenomenal success and her future plans with Intrado Digital Media.
What inspired you to start Hubb more than seven years ago?
Meeting and event planning consistently rank among the top five most stressful jobs. Being a meeting planner, one of my greatest sources of stress was all the time I spent managing information: “Excel Hell” as we would call it. I realized I didn’t want to spend most of my day doing that. I wanted to find better and more efficient ways to manage events and create better attendee experiences. So, I founded Hubb.
Allie Magyar, Founder of Hubb
What role will you play now that Intrado Digital Media has acquired Hubb?
I am extremely excited to take on the new role of Chief Product Officer and lead the vision and strategy about the future of marketing within the world’s largest organizations.
How will Hubb joining forces with Intrado Digital Media transform the future of global events?
With the acquisition of Hubb, as a small startup, your resources are limited, so you’re constantly prioritizing, trying to make the most with the least.
Joining Intrado Digital Media means that we’ll be able to scale at a new level, to innovate at a new level. As the Chief Product Officer (CPO) at Intrado Digital Media, I have more people reporting to me, just in product, than I did in the entire company at Hubb. So we’re able to create the future of events that we believe in, rather than the one our resources allow us to envision.
Also, I should mention that Intrado Digital Media just announced their rebrand to Notified®. As the world’s only events, public relations, and investor relations platform, this new identity will help us deliver our vision for the future of events and communications. And as their CPO, I’m excited to help shape and make this vision a reality.
What have been some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced the past few years and how did you overcome them?
Have you heard of COVID? As an entrepreneur, being faced with the fact that my business could disappear overnight and then trying to figure out how to adapt and build a path forward has been the most difficult challenge I have had to overcome. We were forced to innovate in a very short timeframe, all while we were extremely stressed out and overwhelmed.
How I overcame this was with the growth mindset. That meant looking at the scenario instead of getting frustrated that I can’t do the same thing as before. It meant asking how we can get in front of what is happening and be the first on the market with a solution that’s of value to our industry. This means taking risks, which I’ll admit was a lot easier at the start of the pandemic when the alternative was clearly the death of the business.
What are the top three “aha” moments you’ve experienced as an entrepreneur since you first started Hubb?
Number one, realizing that I wasn’t alone, and I just needed to ask for help. I didn’t always have to bootstrap a solution. Whether that was talking to other early-stage entrepreneurs, being authentic and transparent so we could learn from each other, or getting investment and value-add partners, we’re never alone in what we’re doing. As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to feel like you are alone.
Number two, you can work your ass off and have the best intentions, but it still may not work. There have been so many moments in my career; whether it was car shows or Hubb, there were multiple times where regardless of how hard I was working, no matter how good of a job I thought I was doing, it just wasn’t working. You must figure out how to pivot, adapt, and get it to work in those times. Entrepreneurship is about the grit to get through those times when nothing is working.
My third “aha” moment has to be that the toughest things we go through are the biggest opportunities that we have. That helped me get through those challenging moments and be willing to take risks.
What challenges do underserved entrepreneurs need to overcome?
As an underrepresented group, growing up we don’t see examples of people like us winning. We’re taught at an early age from unconscious bias that it’s not people like us that win. I think it’s really challenging to afford ourselves an equal opportunity, to see ourselves as equals as we go out into the workplace and forge a path for those following behind. That’s really tough, and it takes a lot of emotional fortitude to do that.
And part of that challenge is that we are different from the standard entrepreneur, so when we raise money, the people sitting at the boardroom table don’t look like us. It creates this sort of division, and it becomes a lot harder to get both the funding and expertise we need.
So, we have an opportunity to change the systemic bias by growing companies ourselves, becoming successful ourselves, setting that example, and then changing the world for others like us by becoming investors. Then we can change the conversation.
How important is a strong venture capital mentorship experience and how does it impact a startup’s success?
You don’t know what you don’t know. If you don’t have advisors to help you, push you, and educate you to think better, your chances for success are a lot smaller. A strong venture capital mentorship gives you all of that in addition to the accountability that helps you grow in ways that you could never imagine. And for me, that was always Elevate Capital.
When I started working with Nitin Rai and his team, they were calling and explaining to me, “Well, this is what you should be thinking about right now. Maybe the time isn’t right for you to do a round. Maybe it is right for you to do a round. Here’s what other entrepreneurs in our portfolio think. Here are some entrepreneurs you should connect with and network with and get their perspective.”
From day one, it was all about education, empowering the entrepreneur to make the best decisions for themselves, which is extremely rare, and always putting faith and trust in the entrepreneur to make the right choice. That empowered me to continue to grow myself and my business. There was always an authenticity to their support that made us feel like we could face the world.
If you were in an elevator with another aspiring entrepreneur what lasting advice would you give them?
That entrepreneurship is a mindset, regardless of what you’re doing. The grit and drive to win can help us in all facets of our life. Also, to enjoy the journey because you win some, you lose some, and it’s all about the grit to continue that matters.
Image and photo provided by Hubb.