Local software startup raises nearly $4M

Southwest Washington becomes ‘Hubb’ of activity for meeting planning industry

Allison Magyar
Allison Magyar's Vancouver-based company, Hubb, is a Business Growth Awards finalist in the Start-up of the Year category.

Vancouver has a new startup software firm and it’s taking off like a rocket. A spin-off of event-planning firm Dynamic Events, Hubb Inc. focuses on streamlining the collection, management and marketing of event content relating to speakers, sessions and event sponsors.

“Meeting Planning International has done a study that shows 66 percent of attendees choose to register and pay based on the content they see on an event’s website,” said Allison Magyar, Hubb CEO and owner of Dynamic Events. “Hubb drives registration dollars and speeds up the ability to go to market with event content.”

Magyar said that the Dynamic Events team realized they needed automated tools to be more efficient. So in 2012, they built their own software. They used it internally until 2014.

“Then I had an epiphany,” said Magyar. “If we’re getting so much value from our software, let’s help other meeting planners do the same thing!”

The firm conducted a proof of concept (PoC) in 2015 and it was so successful that they split Hubb off as its own entity, hired a few new key people and took it to market. By the end of 2015 Hubb had 21 customers (including Intel and Microsoft).

Hubb has really accelerated in 2016 due to the “huge market opportunity.” Magyar decided to seek venture capital funding to advance the company faster than was possible by self-funding. So far, the firm has raised just under $4 million from the Oregon Angel Fund, Elevate Capital and other sources. Hubb was also the first-place winner at both the Seattle Angel Conference and the Bend Venture Conference.

The funding process is new to Magyar, who has previously relied on self-funding. She said that understanding the funding process and learning how to pitch the business so it makes sense to the investment community have been “amazing and new.”

Magyar said the seed money will help Hubb grow its sales and marketing organization. The firm is co-located with Dynamic Events so that the two teams can “talk strategy” easily and build the best product possible for meeting planners. Magyar said her background in planning some of the largest events in the world has helped shape the Hubb software package into something that “helps meeting planners get what they need.”

The constant challenge and change associated with being part of a startup, said Magyar, are some of her favorite experiences.

“It’s been a fast and furious ride,” she said. “We are adapting to our market and the needs of the industry. It’s an exciting place to be.”

Hubb now has more than 60 customers and employs 22 people (up from 10 just two years ago).

“We’re all about growing the local economy in Vancouver and building a team for the success of our rapid growth,” Magyar stated.

Beyond simply seeing her new company be such a success, Magyar believes the real achievement is bringing business process automation to the meeting planning industry, which is ranked among the top five most stressful jobs, right behind firefighters and being in the military.

“It’s a crazy, intense industry,” said Magyar. “We want to bring relief to meeting planners, so they can focus on strategy and less on minute details.” She added that Hubb also uses machine learning and business intelligence (BI) to help create better content that can make more of an impact for Hubb’s customers.

Having doubled the number of staff, and sharing space with Dynamic Events, Hubb’s team is looking into finding more space.

“We’re quite excited about Vancouver’s Waterfront Development Project,” Magyar said. “We’re looking to see what that might mean for us in the future.”

Jodie Gilmore’s journalistic background includes more than 15 years of writing for the Vancouver Business Journal as well as other publications such as Northwest Women’s Journal, North Bank Magazine, American Builders Quarterly and The New American. A Master’s in Technical & Professional Writing and 20+ years in the trenches as a technical writer and online help developer round out her writing background. When not writing, she enjoys gardening and working on her small farm in the Cascade foothills.