Vancouver-based Hootsuite is now the most widely-used platform for managing social media, with more than 11 million users across 175 countries relying on its single integrated dashboard as a command center for posting on their Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn accounts. It is now used by 744 of the Fortune 1000 companies, and this number is only growing.
Hootsuite was founded in 2008 by Ryan Holmes, who wanted to create a better social media experience for businesses. The software consists of a single dashboard that allows users to post on multiple social media accounts at the same time, and to schedule posts to appear at the most optimal times for engagement and at times they will be unable to post, for example if they’re on annual leave. It also streamlines communications, and allows users to assign messages and create workflows.
The basic platform is free, and offers users the capability of managing three social profiles. It also provides basic analytics and messaging capabilities. There is also a premium small business version, which is available for $69 a month. This enables users to post on up to 100 social profiles, as well as providing enhanced analytics, security, dashboard set-up, and technical support. Consultants and practitioners can access Hootsuite’s premium version for $9.99 a month.
Hootsuite have grown rapidly since its inception, and they have made a number of clever acquisitions to enhance their platform. In 2014, the firm announced that they had purchased social telephon company Zeetl, which integrates phone technology with social media to help brands manage customer support better. Hootsuite is integrating the technology into their social platform, which will allow users to send a single-use link to a recipient via social media that lets them call a support phone number, either by phone (toll-free), browser, or Skype.
A funding round by Hootsuite in September of 2014 raised $60 million, valuing the company at roughly $1 billion dollars. It took the total raised to a quarter of a billion dollars. The company has now made moves towards an IPO following Ottawa-based Shopify, which launched a successful IPO in May, with Hootsuite founder Ryan Holmes hinting that this could occur within the next year. Before launching an IPO, however, he said the company needed to hire a ‘world-class’ Chief Financial Officer with experience taking a technology company public, and to move the company’s cash flows to break-even levels. This appears to have been done with the appointment of Sujeet Kini as their CFO.
Kini was previously the principal accounting officer at OpenText, a global leader in enterprise information management and more importantly Canada's largest publicly traded software company. He has worked extensively in corporate finance and accounting at both public and private companies, and his hiring is a sure signal that they are nearing flotation. Given the success of Shopify’s IPO, and the substantial interest the firm has already drawn itself, it is likely that any IPO would attract massive sums.