Social Activation Platform TapInfluence Raises $3.2 Million in VC Funding
TapInfluence to expand conversational technology platform and broaden offerings to brand marketers and agencies
BOULDER, CO – (March 6, 2012) – TapInfluence (formerly BlogFrog) announced today it has closed a $3.2 million series A financing, led by Washington D.C. based Grotech Ventures, with participation from existing investors including David Cohen, founder of TechStars. The funding will be used to accelerate the expansion of TapInfluence’s social activation platform to further serve brand marketers, broaden its feature set for advertising and marketing agencies, and expand the company’s network of publishers and online influencers.
TapInfluence’s technology platform allows consumer-facing brands to activate social influencers according to niche topics and target demographics, create advocate- driven content and conversations, and measure performance with in-depth tracking and analytics.
“Brand marketers and agencies know that it’s not enough to advertise online,” said TapInfluence CEO and co-founder Rustin Banks. “They need to be an authentic part of the conversation people are having long before they consider buying a product. TapInfluence has engineered smart social media technology that lets brands activate thousands of digital influencers to spark and spread conversation.”
The company first grabbed the industry’s attention in 2009 when it launched community tools for bloggers. The platform struck a chord with women and quickly grew to become the largest network of women and mom bloggers in the US, with over 70,000 women and mom publishers and influencers. Bloggers use TapInfluence to increase readership and traffic, create communities where readers can interact, and increase revenue through participation in brand programs.
Fortune 500 brands use TapInfluence’s powerful technology and influencer platform to enhance their social presence and nurture and create brand evangelists. The past year brought rapid growth for the company with the addition of dozens of new consumer clients, tens of thousands of new influencers and the launch of several national channel partners. This round of venture funding will be used to further expand the company’s offering to brands in market verticals such as food, fashion, entertainment, fitness and technology. The company also plans to double its headcount before the end of 2012 and open an additional office in New York City to serve their growing base of agency clients.
“Advertising force-feeds product awareness whereas conversations create authentic brand advocates and a powerful partnership between bloggers, social media content creators and the products they love,” said Banks.
“Businesses today are facing the biggest branding challenge they have encountered in decades,” said Lawson DeVries, general partner at Grotech Ventures. “Purchase decisions are driven less by advertising and more by peer and community sentiment. We were attracted to TapInfluence’s unique approach, which not only helps brands start these conversations with key influencers but then allows them to engage millions by scaling the conversation across the social web.” Grotech’s other social technology investments include LivingSocial and Collective Intellect.
A brand program on TapInfluence’s social activation platform can involve dozens to thousands of influencers on a variety of social channels including blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or Pinterest. Brands can measure their conversation influence with analytics that quantify consumer awareness, consideration, preference and even purchase intent.
About Grotech Ventures
Founded in 1984, Grotech Ventures (www.grotech.com) is a leading early investor in high-potential technology companies. Grotech seeks innovative IT companies with particular emphasis on digital and social media; software and SaaS; security and storage technologies; healthcare information technology; and communications technology and services. Grotech continues to invest and add value throughout the growth of its portfolio companies. The firm has a strong combination of industry relationships and deep domain and operational expertise to accelerate growth. Grotech supports early-stage companies through investments starting at $500,000.