Before GoStudent began working with HubSpot’s customer relationship management (CRM) system, the Austrian startup only offered a free WhatsApp service for schoolchildren that was based on a homework chat thread. Children could use this thread to ask questions about various school topics, and GoStudent would connect them to a teacher. This evolved into a fully fledged homework chat app, which marked the beginning of the current unicorn’s success story.
New business model calls for new CRM solution
In 2018, by which time GoStudent had over 500,000 pupils signed up, the company switched target group from the children to their parents. Since then, fee-based private tuition taught online via video chat in a virtual classroom has been provided. GoStudent then began to use HubSpot as its CRM platform. “Our online classroom was ready to go in mid-2018, and we began to sell our lessons,” says Laura Warnier, Chief Growth Officer (CGO) at GoStudent.
“Initially, we still thought we could cover our expenses through marketing. But that didn’t work, because parents didn’t want any online tuition at first. They wanted the teacher to come to their home. This made it clear to us that we needed a sales team who would persuade the parents that online tuition is just as good as offline. What’s more, virtual online tuition gets you lower prices and access to highly qualified teachers, wherever they are located.”
Off to a successful start thanks to “HubSpot for Startups”
At this stage of business development, participation in the “HubSpot for Startups” program came just at the right time. “We realized that we needed a CRM system to manage and keep in touch with all our leads,” says Laura Warnier. GoStudent was able to take part in HubSpot’s startup scheme thanks to its seed investor SpeedInvest. More than 1,500 accelerators, incubators, VCs, and startup communities are now involved in the program, which helps startups to grow in an intelligent and sustainable way. These startups benefit from preferential pricing for HubSpot tools, community events, and numerous workshops dealing with their go-to-market strategy, and GoStudent was no different.
“‘HubSpot for Startups’ secured us a 90 percent discount in the first year. That was a major incentive for us,” says Laura Werner In 2018 or thereabouts, there were only a few CRM solutions that suited us, and HubSpot was one of the stronger brands that is also oriented to fledgling startups and provides an extremely practical approach.”
Automating processes and working more productively
GoStudent uses HubSpot’s Marketing Hub, Sales Hub, and Service Hub. As the Chief Growth Officer explains: “I use them to create all the workflows for the sales team, the tutor recruitment team, the automation of email marketing, and working with tickets in customer service and with deal stages.” GoStudent can use deals in HubSpot to track potential revenues when a contact performs an action. “We also make use of integration features, e.g. with third-party apps such as WhatsApp. These allow us to link WhatsApp to HubSpot. And our voiceover IP provider is also connected to HubSpot.”
Apart from the financial benefits, GoStudent sees three major advantages in particular in cooperating with HubSpot: technical support in the form of excellent documentation, customer support “that’s really fantastic,” and its intuitive user interface.
GoStudent mainly uses HubSpot’s software solutions to optimize its productivity and its organizational structure, since the automation of various processes and improving a wide range of workflows were two of the key objectives at the start of the partnership. “We started small, with around 100 leads a month, but even these need to be well managed without losing the plot,” Laura Warnier adds. “We’re currently cultivating thousands of leads in 22 different markets.”
In the early days, GoStudent had about four or five people working in sales. Sales Hub allowed GoStudent to organize all its leads and, at the same time, have more control over what sales staff are doing and how they are performing. The system was gradually fine-tuned over time in this way. Marketing Hub taught the online tuition platform how to better understand and optimize the performance of its marketing campaigns.
Used in a variety of ways by all teams
In early 2021, the team led by Hesham Elnakhlawy, VP Product at GoStudent, assumed responsibility for optimizing all of its lead management processes in order to ensure that the sales team were working efficiently and spending as little time as possible managing data in the CRM system. This is also why HubSpot’s CRM system is based in the product team rather than the marketing team. In his words: “One of my teams is the CRM team. It is responsible for improving the workflow of all employees by ensuring that HubSpot is used across the board. We are setting up a lot of automation and making use of the existing features in HubSpot for this purpose. Online forms are a very common way we obtain key information about our leads, so we use HubSpot’s form designer on every new landing page that we create in order to generate traffic.” The team also uses so-called webhooks in workflows to transfer data from HubSpot to its database or other solutions.
Hesham Elnakhlawy would recommend HubSpot to other startups and believes that the CRM provider’s main advantage lies in its simplicity: “You don’t need your own team of developers to work with HubSpot’s software solutions. Tasks can be dealt with quickly, and employees can easily optimize their workflows.”
Laura Warnier adds: “There are 19,000 tutors in our community, all of whom came to us via HubSpot. This rapid growth is all down to the onboarding process that GoStudent has set up using HubSpot. I’d say that we really do utilize every element of HubSpot. All of the different functions of HubSpot are used throughout the company.”
“HubSpot makes it possible for us to penetrate new markets”
After GoStudent received a further EUR 300 million in funding in early 2022 and its company valuation doubled to EUR 3 billion, all of the signs were pointing to growth on several levels. Besides expanding its product portfolio through mergers and acquisitions and increasing its market share in regions that it already serves, international expansion is also one of the online tuition platform’s core pillars. No fewer than 15 new markets were added in 2021 alone. GoStudent now operates in 23 markets, including some European countries, Canada, and the U.S. as well as countries in South and Central America.
“For us, it’s always about growth and scalability,” Laura Warnier stresses. “HubSpot has helped us to create processes that are extremely scalable and is therefore also allowing us to penetrate new markets. With just a few clicks, we can duplicate the processes we use in Germany and apply them to France, Spain, the U.K., and so on. And that’s also why we’re able to open up a market in such a short time.” GoStudent’s growth trajectory shows no signs of stopping.