Careers at Highfive
Highfive’s mission is to transform every meeting room with modern, beautifully-designed technology that empowers people to get their best work done together.
Shan Sinha had significant experience in the collaboration software space – over 13 years’ worth. As an employee at Google, he oversaw the delivery of cloud-based e-mail to clients. While there, he noticed the company primarily used video for communication – in fact, employees completed 20,000 video calls per day, with the average person using video 1-2 times a day. A light bulb went off.
Sinha believed that most companies used telephones for conference calls because existing video conferencing tools, including market leader Skype, were not robust or secure enough for business needs. Therefore, he decided to leave Google so he could begin developing a solution that would address this problem. In 2012 he founded the startup Parlay Labs with his colleague Jeremy Roy.
The pair spent the first few months garnering investments. The task was relatively simple due to Sinha’s past work experience at Google and Microsoft; moreover, many investors felt the business communication field was overdue for some innovative products. The firm was able to raise $4 million in Series A funding, and the company used its capital to form its team, growing to eight people.
The group designed its product, intended to be a video conferencing device that incorporated cloud-based software. During this process, it shared its ideas with potential customers, both to get a sense of how big its market was and to obtain feedback on desired features. After two years the firm had built its solution and was ready for launch. Its name was officially changed to Highfive.
Benefits at Highfive
Business model of Highfive
Highfive has a niche market business model, with a specialized customer segment. The company targets its offerings at small to mid-size businesses (firms with between 50 and 1000 employees).
Highfive offers five primary value propositions: convenience, pricing, performance, risk reduction, and brand/status.
The company creates convenience by simplifying customers’ operations. It offers an all-in-one hardware/software solution, with the hardware including mics, camera, and CPU power to process audio and video together. It can be set up in minutes, without the need for a multipoint control unit. Meetings can be controlled from users’ personal devices, be they PCs, tablets, or smartphones.
The company offers a pricing value proposition. Its subscription fees are priced per room with no per user fees. This means customers can have unlimited meetings and hosts, and do not have to worry about fees increasing as company or meeting size grows. In addition, Highfive offers potential users a free trial through which they can try its device for 30 days.
The company has demonstrated strong performance through tangible results. High-profile examples of positive outcomes for customers include the following:
- Deskia used Highfive’s solution to increase efficiency, leading to annual savings of $18,000
- Von Drehle used Highfive’s solution to cut travel, resulting in tens of thousands of dollar savings
- Trunk Platform used Highfive’s solution to lower hardware costs and increase time savings
The company reduces risk through high security standards. All calls on its system are 128-bit AES encrypted. Furthermore, its single sign-on and domain-based security features ensure that only employees can launch calls. Lastly, Highfive’s website provides system operational status udpates.
The company has established a strong brand as a result of its performance. In its first year it experienced a 341% growth in its client base, and now serves more than 1,500 firms in over 55 countries. These include Evernote, Expensify, Rue Lala, and Mimeo. A survey of its customers found that they say that their meetings are 64% more enjoyable with its solution. It processes over a million minutes of calls per week. Lastly, it has won a number of honors, including recognition as one of the "10 Best Small Workplaces in Technology“ by Fortune (2016) and as one of the “Best Workplaces“ for Technology, Women, and Diversity by Great Places to Work (2015).
Highfive’s main channels are its website and direct sales team. The company promotes its offering through its social media pages and participation in conferences.
Highfive’s customer relationship is primarily of a self-service, automated nature.
Customers utilize the product and service while having limited interaction with employees. The company’s website includes a “Resources” section with self-help tools such as white papers, reports, eBooks, slideshows, infographics, and webinars. The site also provides answers to frequently asked questions.
That said, there is a personal assistance component in the form of phone and e-mail support.
Highfive’s business model entails designing and developing its hardware and software for clients.
Highfive utilizes third-party manufacturers for the production of its hardware. The company invites other firms to become distribution partners through an online form. No additional information is available about these partnerships.
Highfive’s main resources are its human resources, who include the engineering employees that design and develop its software and hardware, the sales employees that promote it, and the customer service staff that provides support.
As a relatively new startup it has relied heavily on funding from outside parties, raising $45.4 million from 12 investors as of March 2015.
Highfive has a cost-driven structure, aiming to minimize expenses through significant automation.
Its biggest cost driver is likely sales/marketing, a fixed expense. Other major drivers are in the areas of product development, COGS and customer support/operations, both fixed costs.
Highfive has two revenue streams:
Product Revenues – Revenues the company generates from sales of its hardware device, which costs $799.
Subscription Revenues – Revenues the company generates from fees charged for access to its cloud service. Plan pricing is as follows:
- Essential Plan - $99 per month per room, paid annually
- Standard Plan - $149 per month per room, paid annually
- Professional Plan - $199 per month per room, paid annually
info: Shan earned B.S. and M.Eng. degrees from MIT. He previously served as Founder and CEO of DocVerse, as a Group Product Manager at Google, and worked at Microsoft, where he drove integrated strategy for the SharePoint and SQL Server businesses.
info: Jeremy earned a B.S. degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He previously served as a technical staff member at Google, as the Director of Software Development at SunEdison, as a Senior Technologist at Reuters, and as a Software Architect at Mindshare.
info: Amit earned a B.A. in Philosophy at San Jose State University. He has 15 years of experience in IT, networking, and sales, and previously served as Director of Sales, Cloud Networking at Cisco Meraki. He oversees Highfive’s sales organization.
info: Alex earned a degree in Psychology at the University of Bergen and a degree in Computer Science at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. He previously served as head of Firefox product design strategy at Mozilla and as a Co-Founder of Plone.
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