Key Stats: Hive on Republic
Number of Investors
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Hive has been selected as a “Deal to Watch ” by KingsCrowd. This distinction is reserved for deals selected into the top 10-20% of our due diligence funnel. If you have questions regarding our deal diligence and selection methodology, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is no global network that combines in-person events with a digital social network. Despite entrepreneurs being at the forefront of bringing life-changing technologies and services, entrepreneurs don’t have an established global network from which they can build friendships, support each other’s growth, and find mentors and investors. There are more than 190 million entrepreneurs globally who are either too busy building their companies or simply just don’t have the time to foster bonds with fellow entrepreneurs. Exposure to an international network of individuals fosters innovation, relationships, and increased perspectives that benefits individuals. So what is out there to connect entrepreneurs across the world?
Hive is a global membership community of entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs, and investors in over 100 countries focused on working together to create a better world. Hive builds each chapter city-by-city where in each city dinners and events are hosted. Hive’s flagship event is the Hive Global Summit in Silicon Valley that brings together all their community members. Hive also holds digital Masterclasses and weekly Zoom calls to share knowledge and resources, build relationships, and ingratiate themselves with investors in the Hive network. Hive also offers a premium community for founders, CEOs, and investors with over $1M in annual revenue called the Hive Entrepreneurship Network (HEN).
Hive offers a suite of digital products like their social network, their mobile app, the aforementioned Masterclasses and Zoom calls, and more. Hive members join by completing an application where upon acceptance, members gain access to their suite of products and services.
Hive is split into three business units: Hive Global Community, Hive Entrepreneur Network, and Hive Digital. Hive charges $500/year for their standard members and $10,000/year for HEN. It’s unclear if the startup charges for Hive Digital, but we assume they do. We are honestly skeptical on the willingness of entrepreneurs to pay anywhere from $500/year to $10,000/year to be a part of a global entrepreneurial network. In the Bay Area alone, there are multiple entrepreneurship Facebook groups focused on race, gender, ethnicity, and more. The groups are also free or much cheaper than Hive’s membership fees. Additionally, the entrepreneurs in the Bay Area and even New York City are incredibly diverse and come from all over the world, thus it’s very much a “global” set of individuals in these cities. It’s undeniable that Hive has amassed some considerable traction so they must be doing something that people find valuable.
Hive is offering a SAFE at $10M valuation cap. There is a minimum investment of Leon and George is offering a SAFE at a $9M valuation cap. There is a minimum investment of $100. To date, the company has received $54,584k in funding through Republic.
Ryan Allis is the founder and CEO of Hive Global. Before founding Hive, Ryan was CEO and co-founder of iContact which he helped grow to 300 employees, $50M in annual sales, and was acquired by Vocus for $169M. He served as Co-Chairperson of Technology for Obama during the 2012 Presidential Election. Ryan is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill and earned an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Morgan Carson is the Chief Community Officer for Hive Global. Morgan was previously the owner and designer at fashion label Rene Ropas, partner at Goldstein & Associates, Chief Marketing Officer at PayWithSushi, and Director of Community at TribeRise.
Jeff Staub is the CEO of Hive Digital, the digital marketing agency owned by Hive Global. Jeff has over 20 years of experience in marketing strategy, web analytics, SEO, and more. Before Hive Digital, Jeff was a consultant for various online marketing firms working primarily on media projects and sports apparel producers.
The Hive Global team has received over $1.6M in funding and is backed investors from Lerer Hippeau, Evolve Ventures, Kilowatt Capital, and various angels. It seems the team is led by a very capable CEO who has previously led and exited a startup, a community director who has extensive experience there, and a marketing executive to lead the team’s efforts there.
Why We Like it
- Traction: The startup has over 3,200 customers in 130 countries and a $3.5M annual revenue run-rate with over $7M in revenue since its inception. Additionally, the startup is already profitable and reached its first quarter of profitability in Q3 of 2019. We like that the startup has seen strong growth and can reach even greater scale rather quickly.
- Experienced Team: Hive’s founder, Ryan Allis, previously founded and successfully exited a company. Additionally, Ryan is a graduate of Harvard Business School where Hive was conceived. Being a part of Harvard’s network of successful alumni, especially founders, cannot be understated and provides a nice boost and bonding point from which Ryan can sell Hive. The rest of the team are also experienced in their respective fields of community building and digital marketing.
- Growth: Being a global network for entrepreneurs presents interesting growth opportunities for Hive. The team already has plans to expand their community with the proceeds from their current raise, but also help grow their companies and find more ways to connect. The most interesting growth opportunity available is Hive’s plan and ability to start an investment fund support their network of entrepreneurs. Being the global community for entrepreneurs that Hive is, we imagine they come across interesting startups or companies worth investing in before others see them which presents an interesting opportunity for potential investors in Hive. The startup also has plans to create a network of co-living communities for their members and their families which is honestly quite ridiculous and doesn’t sound logical, but it’s in their vision and future.
The Rating: Deal To Watch
Hive has undeniably built a company that many entrepreneurs see as valuable. The startup’s ability to build a global community of entrepreneurs changing the world is interesting and admirable. As the world moves towards more social networks and sitting behind screens, Hive has built a community and platform that blends technology while also strengthening real-life bonds.
We have questions, however, of the company’s long term viability. For example, we honestly can’t see members wanting to pay $500/year or even $10,000/year (for the premium network) to be a part of Hive. There are numerous groups, on and off Facebook, that provide many of the same services that Hive does, for free. Additionally, if a startup/entrepreneur is venture-backed, then they also benefit from any of their investors’ networks. Some VCs, like Crosslink Capital’s Alpha, are built specifically to let their entrepreneurs/founders connect with one another. What’s to stop a group of ex-founders start the same network as Hive, but free and be a nonprofit?
On the competition front, Hive mainly competes with older organizations that are primarily nonprofit with Vistage being the only for-profit competitor. Hive’s main differentiators seem to be its “Millennial” team along with its focus on companies making a positive impact on society. Although skeptical, the company’s mission aligns with Millennials relating with ventures that have positive impacts on society.
It will be interesting to see how Hive grows in the future as we are unsure what exit opportunities would look like for a company like Hive. Do they get acquired by the only for-profit competitor in the space? Is Hive a company that’ll stand in the public given it’s just a platform for entrepreneurs to connect with one another? Hive’s strategy to crowdfund its current raise is, however, a smart strategy given the amount of entrepreneurs and companies raising on crowdfunding platforms. They can receive investment from the general public, advertise itself to entrepreneurs, and potentially have entrepreneurs become members. With all that said, we believe Hive is a Deal to Watch because of its impressive traction, experienced team, and potential growth opportunities.
About: Francis vu
An investment professional with a background in private equity and venture capital having spent time conducting investments at VU Venture Partners and Pacific Oak LLC with a finance and management degree from Tulane University.