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How pandemic unicorn Hopin came unraveled

London-based virtual events unicorn Hopin has entered liquidation just five years after launch.

The sun has set on former tech darling Hopin as the virtual events company now enters liquidation.

Only two years ago, London-based Hopin reached a $7.75 billion valuation, having raised more than $1 billion from an all-star cast of investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Tiger Global and General Catalyst. Now, the company is yet another example of the investor hubris that took hold during the pandemic.

Founded in 2019, Hopin’s rapid success came when COVID-19 shut down in-person socializing, forcing events online. The company went from launch to unicorn in less than two years as investors sought to capitalize on the rapid growth in remote work. But Hopin struggled to maintain momentum after the world opened back up. Following multiple rounds of layoffs, the startup sold its core virtual events assets to RingCentral last year for just $50 million.

Hopin isn’t the only winner to have fallen from grace in the post-pandemic world. Rapid delivery e-grocers were all the rage as people became reluctant to leave their houses. Since 2022, the sector has seen multiple players cease operations, including Buyk and Fridge No More, while bigger players such as Getir took significant hits to their valuations.

Ecommerce was another sector that benefited hugely from the pandemic, perhaps none more so than the buy now, pay later segment. Sweden’s Klarna suffered one of the most high-profile down rounds in recent startup history with an 85% valuation cut in 2022.

Hopin highlights the risks that come with raising large amounts of capital in response to transitory problems, especially in a short space of time. Short-term growth metrics should matter less than having a business model that can withstand shifts in consumer and market behavior.

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