Where HubSpot and Wayfair may rank among Boston’s biggest tech IPOs

Wayfair founders Niraj Shah and Steven Conine (courtesy of the company)
Wayfair founders Niraj Shah and Steven Conine (courtesy of the company)

After having little in way of high-profile tech IPO activity for years, Boston could see two of its most-discussed tech companies, HubSpot and Wayfair, go public one after another this fall.

Wayfair disclosed plans for an initial public offering to raise as much as $350 million just a little over a week ago, while HubSpot filed plans for a $100 million IPO today.

To add a bit more context, here’s a look at where those fundraises would place the companies in the spectrum of notable Boston tech IPOs since the dotcom days:

Similarly timed S-1 filings and a prominent place in the Boston tech scene aren’t the only things the two companies have in common. Scott Kirsner took a look at some of the shared traits in a Globe column in May:

Wayfair and HubSpot were both started in the aftermath of the dot-com boom, in 2002 and 2006, respectively. Both had founders who met on university campuses: Wayfair’s Steve Conine and Niraj Shah went to Cornell University together, and Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah of HubSpot took some of the same courses at MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

And importantly, the founders of both companies had had a taste of success earlier. The Wayfair duo had started a website development firm in Boston, Spinners Inc., and sold it in 1998 for $10 million to iXL Enterprises. Dharmesh Shah had been a cofounder of Pyramid Digital Solutions, which created online tools for the managers of retirement plans. It was sold in 2005 to SunGard Business Systems for an undisclosed amount.


Both companies understood earlier than most the power Google was having on the world of business. In 2002, the year Wayfair was founded, Google surpassed Yahoo as the search engine of choice for Internet users. Wayfair’s founders understood how to design sites that would show up prominently when people searched Google; their first site, RacksAndStands.com, which sold items like stereo cabinets and TV stands that were tough to find in retail stores, booked its first revenue within 24 hours of its launch. HubSpot helped teach businesses how to blog and add useful content to their websites that would help all those Google searchers discover their services.

Kyle Alspach has worked in journalism in Massachusetts since 2005 and was one of the original staff writers at BetaBoston.
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