HubSpot is an industry leader in customer relationship management (CRM). It was launched in 2006 and has seen an increase in revenues since then, generating a record-high $674 million in revenues for 2019.
Behind its massive success is co-founder and CEO Brian Halligan, who is not just a technically gifted leader but also a popular figure among his peers and colleagues.
Childhood:— Brian Halligan was born in Westwood, Massachusetts, United States, on September 1, 1967. He spent his entire childhood in Westwood before moving to Vermont to finish his college education.
Halligan went to the University of Vermont in Burlington and got a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. After he graduated, he went back to his home state and enrolled at the MIT Sloan School of Management to get his MBA.
Halligan started his career at PTC, Inc., which used to be called Parametric Technology Corporation. He worked there for more than ten years, doing a variety of sales and marketing jobs.
While at the company, he founded an affiliate organization called Pacific Rim, where he built an $800 million business and employed 200 people while being appointed as SVP.
In 2000, Halligan joined the software company Groove Networks as VP of Sales. The company would be acquired by Microsoft in 2005 and rebranded as Microsoft SharePoint Workspace. Before the acquisition, Halligan had moved to Longworth Ventures, where he was a venture partner.
HubSpot’s co-founder and CEO:
While at Longworth Ventures, Halligan co-founded HubSpot in 2006 with Dharmesh Shah. The pair had met while taking their master’s at MIT and had a shared goal of developing an online marketing platform.
Before launching the app, the HubSpot founders started a blog where they posted numerous articles about their upcoming software. The blog didn’t just help gain curiosity; it also attracted HubSpot’s very first users.
Headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, HubSpot has developed a tool where every digital marketing and sales need is addressed. From lead generation to web analytics and even search engine optimization, HubSpot CRM makes it easy for users to develop all of their marketing solutions on a single platform. Additionally, the app also enables users to host conferences and inbound marketing and certification programs.
As the HubSpot marketing platform grew, so did the number of customers. Today, the company caters to over 95,000 organizations from over 120 countries around the world. Among these organizations are the World Wildlife Fund, G2, Trello, Subaru, and VMware. The company also launched HubSpot Academy, an education platform where users can learn about different HubSpot tools and integrations.
HubSpot currently has over 305,000 certified professionals. Unsurprisingly, company revenue has also grown massively since it was launched, from $255,000 in 2007 to $675 million in 2019. The company went public in 2014 and raised $125 million at a HubSpot stock price of $25 per share.
Since the beginning of his career, Halligan has worked in marketing, so he knows how important it is to build relationships with not only customers but also colleagues and peers. This led him to create an environment where employees are both respected and empowered. At Hubspot, he developed a policy called “Alpha, Beta, and Version One” where employees can pitch ideas to management.
Then, these ideas are put to the test for three months, and if they work, they are added to the way the company does business. His passion for pets also led him to introduce a pet program where HubSpot employees can bring their dogs, cats, or even goats inside the company’s premises on certain days.
The HubSpot CEO is also seen as a charismatic leader, rallying his employees through encouragement and motivation rather than through fear. The 54-year-old CEO has won a lot of praise for her more democratic and coaching style of leadership.
In 2011, Ernst & Young gave him the Entrepreneur of the Year New England Award. In 2017, Glassdoor named him the CEO with the best ratings, and Comparably named him one of the best CEOs in the U.S. in both 2017 and 2020.
Outside of HubSpot, Halligan is also a notable author. He co-authored two marketing books, “Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead” (with David Meerman Scott and Bill Walton) and “Inbound Marketing” (with Dharmesh Shah). Both books received favorable reviews from the Boston Globe.
Halligan often brings his dog Romeo to the HubSpot office, where he stays with him all the time. He also enjoys taking naps and works from home on Wednesdays. Referring to himself as a “huge nap guy,” he recalled that his best ideas either came from falling into a nap or coming out of it.
Brain Halligan’s successes, not just with HubSpot, show that leaders don’t have to make their peers afraid of them to be successful. Whether the HubSpot CEO and co-founder’s leadership style works with every company, there is no denying it has worked perfectly for HubSpot and the millions of relationships the company has forged and developed with stakeholders over the years.