Hopin buys livestreaming startup StreamYard for $250M as it looks to expand its product lineup

This morning Hopin, a quickly growing startup that sells a technology platform for hosting digital events, announced that it has acquired StreamYard. The acquired company, which bootstrapped itself to material revenue scale, will retain its brand and in-market product.

The deal is worth $250 million, paid in a mix of cash and stock. Hopin raised a $40 million Series A in late June of 2020, and a $125 million Series B last November at a valuation of $2.125 billion.1

At the time of its most recent round, Hopin told TechCrunch that it had grown its annual recurring revenue (ARR) from zero to $20 million in around nine months. In an email Hopin told TechCrunch that StreamYard had itself scaled to $30 million ARR without external capital. And during a conversation regarding the StreamYard deal, Hopin CEO Johnny Boufarhat said that the combined entity would sport around $65 million in ARR.

You can infer from the numbers that Hopin has continued to grow rapidly since its Series B.

If it feels strange that a Series B company is nearly at IPO-scale, recall that Hopin’s technology benefited from the COVID-19 pandemic during which events around the world went from conference centers and into browsers, and that series demarcations for startup funding rounds have lost their historical size, and maturity tethers. (TechCrunch used Hopin’s service to host several of its events in 2020.)

The deal will not subsume StreamYard whole-cloth into the Hopin product. Instead, StreamYard will retain its brand and product so that it can continue to serve its existing customer base. Hopin does intend to better integrate StreamYard’s streaming tech into his company’s marquee product, though its platform will remain streaming-provider agnostic; StreamYard will become the default Hopin streaming option, however.

StreamYard co-founder Geige Vandentop told TechCrunch that around 15% to 20% of its customers use its service for events-related activities. The rest comes from sources like the creator economy, and small businesses.

As a company, StreamYard decided to eschew external capital during its growth, keeping its team nigh-skeletal while focusing on customer feedback to help it make product choices. Vandentop said in an interview that StreamYard will keep up its current cadence of weekly livestreams to solicit customer input while part of the Hopin product lineup.

On the same theme, Boufarhat told TechCrunch that Hopin is working to build a customer-first, multi-product lineup, of which StreamYard will be a key piece for which the larger company will be known.

Why would StreamYard sell to Hopin, if it had managed to scale to eight-figure ARR without requiring booster shots of external cash? Vandentop described the deal as best for his current customers and his team, adding that the tie-up should allow his startup to move more quickly.

TechCrunch’s read of the deal is that Hopin managed to roughly double its own size through the transaction that came at a relatively modest cost, when we contrast StreamYard’s revenue scale compared to the acquiring company’s own. However, StreamYard partially traded its equity for Hopin shares that, given the company’s rapid 2020 fundraising pace may indicate, could rapidly grow in value. And as Vandentop noted during our chat with the two executives, Hopin was growing even more quickly than his own startup.

The virtual events space, and the hybrid, online and offline events space that Hopin originally set out to serve before COVID-19, is one worth watching in 2021 as vaccines are deployed and the world looks forward to a future of safe travel. With StreamYard in its camp, however, any slowdown in the growth of virtual events software sales could be mitigated by the streaming outfit’s largely distinct customer base.

Now we can begin a countdown of sorts for when the combined Hopin and StreamYard entity reaches $100 million in ARR. After that we’ll start the IPO timer.

  1. As an aside, Hopin paying around 10% of its current value for StreamYard puts the deal into a similar bucket to the Facebook-WhatsApp deal. A 10% deal implies that the acquiring company is making a material wager on the choice; the recent Slack-Salesforce deal was just over 10% of the acquiring company’s December market capitalization peak, for reference.