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HubSpot Alumni Spotlight

by Brian Halligan


Jul 29, 2014 2:32:00 PM

When a HubSpotter leaves the company to take their talents to a new venture, we call it a graduation and they become part of our alumni group. The group meets regularly, often with a visit from a member of our management team, to tell us what they are up to, hear about life at HubSpot, and often give us candid feedback on how we can continue to improve and grow. Many of our alums have started their own companies or joined prominent startups in the Boston area as founders, leaders, or investors. Nothing would make Dharmesh and I prouder than seeing a huge number of successful companies formed from the HubSpot Alumni network over the next decade, and for those entrepreneurs and companies to ignite the next generation of tech startups, especially in Boston.

So far--and it is really too early to even talk about it--the HubStart group covers more than 20 companies and 30 people. Some of the better known companies include InsightSquared, now with over 80 employees and 13M in funding, Quantopian, which raised $6.7M from Khosla Ventures, and Localytics, which has over 100 employees, 5000 customers, and over $20M in funding.

Today we celebrate two special new HubSpot Alumni. David Cancel and Elias Torres are graduating from HubSpot to start a new company.

In 2011, Dharmesh and I faced one of the biggest challenges we’ve ever had as founders: we knew our product had to get better, and we needed an aggressive play to make that happen. We had built a product that helped our customers transform the top of their funnel marketing to be more inbound, and now they were asking us to extend our platform to include marketing automation. Our options were simple: buy or build it.

In general, we prefer building our own applications to buying them. You get the exact application you want, completely integrated into your platform.  Plus, general business wisdom says that most acquisitions fail, and Dharmesh and I saw numerous case studies at MIT of failed acquisitions. But building marketing automation from scratch would mean a massive investment that would take a long time and prevent us from making other product improvements we wanted.

So we started to explore candidates for the first acquisition in HubSpot’s history, and it became clear that the best fit for us was a Boston company called Performable. Performable was building a marketing automation solution. We liked them better than the rest of the similar companies because they were thinking about marketing automation in a new way, the geography made sense, and the company was led by David Cancel and had a strong product team, including Elias Torres.

Fast forward to today, and HubSpot has grown from 5,961 customers to 11,000 customers. Our development team has grown from 20 developers to over 100 developers. Our software platform includes a world class marketing automation application, as well as many other applications that did not exist 3 years ago. And customers who use our product rate it better than all the other marketing software applications - our #1 rankings by users on Trust Radius, G2Crowd and Venture Beat confirm that. David and Elias are part of the leadership team that has empowered those accomplishments and we thank them for their contributions over the past 3 years.  As part of their dedication to HubSpot, they will remain with the company through our INBOUND conference where we will launch the latest product updates their teams have built.

Throughout their tenure at HubSpot, David and Elias have invested significant time and energy into hiring and developing exceptional leaders on their team. Following their departure, Eric Richard, a twenty year veteran of the Boston tech industry who joined HubSpot from Compete, will run our engineering team. Longtime HubSpot leader Brad Coffey, currently a VP and member of our management team, will oversee product direction, development, and packaging. And there are too many tech leads, product managers, and engineers to name whose leadership and insight has been and will continue to be invaluable.

At HubSpot, we’ve always wanted to be more like PayPal than IBM. We don’t view the goal as having employees for life. In fact, we only want people to stay as long as it’s a good fit for their personal and professional goals, which is partially why we have been fortunate to recruit a lot of people who want to be (or currently are) founders of their own companies someday. David and Elias are the next of our alumni to embark on this challenge, and I look forward to reading and hearing more about their next venture.

I hope over the years the HubSpot Alumni Group will include hundreds of businesses with remarkable leaders who spent some time with us at a point in their careers. I’ve always said I plan to leave HubSpot on a stretcher or a straightjacket myself, but if I’m ever looking for a company to invest in, a board to sit on, or you know, a new internship, the list below would be my place to start.

PS - We’re hiring at HubSpot!



Bedrock Data

Founder (*2) + Angel Investment


Founder + Angel Investment






Both Founders








Founder was an intern


Founder was an intern


Founders were interns


Management Team






Management Team


Management Team

Hourly Nerd

Management Team


Management Team


Management Team


Management Team



Management Team


Angel Investment

Visible Measures

Angel Investment


Angel Investment


Angel Investment


Angel Investment


Angel Investment


Both Founders

Written by Brian Halligan

CEO of HubSpot, Inbound Marketing Author, MIT Professor

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