An Update on Hio
The New York Tech Alliance features some incredible startups and Hio is no exception. Founded by Jason Craparo, Hio (short for “hit it off”) is a technology company that powers meaningful connections from shared values and interests. Here you’ll find the story of the last year and a half — the trials, tribulations, elations and the current outlook of the company. At the center of it all, Jason and his incredible entrepreneurial spirit.
Covid’s Doom and Gloom
In February of 2020, Jason hosted an event on Hio with over 2,000 participants from all over Southern California. During the event, Jason received an offer for the company at $20MM, but he turned the offer down knowing that there were better days ahead. After that trip, Jason knew that with the Covid-19 virus awry, there wouldn’t be any travel for a while and unfortunately had to cancel his appearance at the NY Tech Meetup in March.
With Covid creating an inability to be in person, the format of Hio’s business had to change. Jason used this to his advantage to pivot the business to a remote format and cut costs by 33% while retaining as many customers as possible. This however, proved to be extremely difficult.
Eventually in October of 2020, a great business opportunity arose to merge with another company. This opportunity would turn them into an event machine, giving them ticketing and registration, event marketing automation, networking, and everything they dreamed of — not to mention raising an immediate $5MM in capital. This unfortunately fell through. This challenge — the same as the others — was another crossroads, one with the aid of questions from competitors asking for their capabilities in networking. Being the networking pros, and having made their business on it, they had a very important choice to make — continue to grasp at the beginning of an arms race or laser-focus on what they did best: networking.
Moving on up!
Jason eventually chose to focus all his limited resources on networking and pivoted to support emerging tech event companies rather than compete with them, which resulted in an immediate $1MM investment to build their first of its kind “Networking-as-a-Service” product.
With three full time employees, they began their work and filed a provisional patent on the ability to turn any website into its own self-contained social community. In less than six months they went from 3 full-time employees to 16, and now they have a fully functional product and 15 signed contracts from top event-tech companies around the world, bringing in over $20MM in annual recurring revenue. In addition, they have nine new investors and are very close to securing another $2.5MM round of financing at a $20MM valuation.
In February of 2021, they filed their full patent application and have been informed they are going to get all 29 claims (11 independent and 18 dependent) approved by the examiner!
Fast forward to now, they have 95 companies who have requested meetings, and have met with companies such as Pinterest, FoodNetwork, Discovery Inc., Cars.com, Ask.com, eBay, and many others — proving their market fit. Best of all, Jason and Hio are still ideating and creating new offerings including ones that can be used by Fortune500 brands.
Hio is solving a distinct problem for companies: do they spend time and resources to build a networking or community platform of their own, or not? Best of all, no other platform is doing what Hio does, making them the go to option. For event attendees, Hio gives a portable, social identity to interact and connect with others they meet. For websites, Hio brings a community building service where people can connect and interact on a deeper level than a simple like, dislike or click. These benefits just scratch the surface of what value Hio brings for various companies and brands and they are so excited for what the future holds.
Thank you to Jason Craparo for letting us know what’s been going on with Hio since we last saw you. For more information about Hio, visit https://hiosocial.com/