GRIN Adds $16M To Series A As Influencer Market Grows

GRIN, a developer of influencer marketing software, added an “opportunistic” $16 million to its $10 million Series A announced five months ago.

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The new round was led by Imaginary Ventures, and included participation from Good Friends Venture Capital. Founded in 2014, the company has now raised a total of $35.3 million.

The Sacramento, California-based software developer’s platform works with large e-commerce brands to manage their influencer marketing campaigns. The end-to-end platform helps brands find and engage with influencers, deliver product, pay creators, analyze the success of campaigns and more, according to co-founder and CEO Brandon Brown.

While GRIN does not offer revenue or customer numbers, Brown said the company is riding major tailwinds in the shift of how brands reach consumers. Brown added that while it is estimated by some in the industry that social marketing will hit  $13.8 billion this year, he feels that number is low.

“There is a macro shift in consumer behavior,” Brown said. “The influence of TV and radio is moving into social media.”

Being opportunistic

Brown said the company was not actively looking to raise after announcing its Series A in December and instead this was an “opportunistic” round where the company was approached by investors.

“We approached GRIN when they were heads down,” said Logan Langberg, a principal at Imaginary Ventures.

Langberg called the investment a “no brainer,” based on GRIN’s and the market’s growth, as well as the fact many of Imaginary’s portfolio companies use the platform for their own influencer marketing.

“There is just a paradigm shift in how companies are using influencers and this market will grow,” he said.

GRIN anticipates using the new money to add to its 175-person company, likely hitting 220 by the end of the year. The company also is looking to expand so influencers and creators will have their own platform to manage their social campaigns and businesses, Brown added.

While other startups such as New York-based Upfluence and Culver City, California-based CreatorIQ exist in the space, Brown said GRIN’s largest competitors are companies trying to manage their influencer campaigns through do-it-yourself systems and Google Sheets. He added that many companies in the space are not based on software and automation like Grin, but rather advertising agencies offering influencer marketing as an added service.

That difference could help build GRIN into a large company, Langberg said.

“This business is just getting started,” he said. “This could be a really large company.”

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias.

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