Startups are connecting big brands with individual social media influencers for targeted marketing campaigns, and could become acquisition targets.
The Fyre Festival was supposed to be a place for internet celebrities to gather. Instead it turned into a debacle, which has now refocused attention on “influencer” tech. These are companies focused on connecting brands with personalities that have followings on social platforms.
Deals to companies with the word influencer or influencers in their description peaked in 2016 at 57 deals, and are on track to overtake that in 2017.
There are M&A opportunities for corporates looking for a way to add influencer marketing capacity to their organizations. There already have been a string of small exits including specialized influencer-related companies bought by Google (FameBit in 2016), The New York Times (HelloSociety), Pinterest (tote), Sprinklr (Little Bird Technologies in 2016), and Twitter (Niche Project for $60M in 2015).
Here are a few remaining private companies with high Mosaic scores of 700 and up:
- Canada-based Dash Hudson focuses on Instagram influencers. It ranks highly on Mosaic, the CB Insights algorithm for monitoring startup health, and it has raised $2.74M, with a $1.5M Series A in January 2017, and works with Glossier and others.
- TapInfluence helps its customers — including Lego, General Mills, Coca-Cola,Target and more — set up automated influencer marketing campaigns. It has raised $22.2M.
- Australia-based Tribe also provides a marketplace connecting brands and everyday influencers, with close to $10M in funding.
- Smart money VCs have largely stayed on the sidelines so far, but smart money VC Social Capital did invest in seed-stage Captiv8, another brand/influencermarketplace that uses AI.
For social properties or ad/media companies, these companies offer closer relationships and data regarding internet personalities, their advertising value, and audience demographics.
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