Influential, which employs artificial-intelligence technology to match social-media stars and celebs with marketers, has secured $12 million in Series B financing from WME and existing investors.
The funding brings Influential to $26.5 million raised to date since the company was formed in 2013. It announced the partnership with and strategic investment from WME last month.
Influential’s current valuation is in the “high eight figures,” according to founder and CEO Ryan Detert, meaning it’s below $100 million. The new round of funding “is exciting because it allows us to continue developing technologies that are trusted by the biggest brands in the world, to help make better decisions to identify, engage, and convert their audiences into consumers,” he said.
Existing investors in Influential — which ponied up more cash for the startup — are Capital Zed, ECA Ventures, Paradigm Talent Agency, ROAR and Tech Coast Angels. According to Detert, the Series B funding gives the startup a “multiyear runway” but said Influential is actively discussing participation from additional strategic investors.
Influential will use the funding to take the company’s software-as-a-service platform to market; previously, the system has been available as on-site software. WME is the first beta partner testing Influential’s Talent Pro, designed to track talent and provide demographic insights across multiple platforms, which Detert said will be rolled out to additional clients in the coming weeks.
Influential’s app is used by more than 25,000 individuals who have some of the highest engagement rates on on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and YouTube — and collectively reach over 5 billion users. Influential has run campaigns for companies including Warner Bros. Entertainment, Samsung, Walmart, Coca-Cola Co., Nestlé, General Mills, and Toyota.
Influential has worked with the IBM Watson artificial-intelligence platform group to co-develop technologies to provide psychographic data on influencers. The company also recently struck a partnership with Moat, an analytics-measurement provider that is part of the Oracle Data Cloud, to deliver viewability and attention metrics on Influential’s platform. In addition, Influential launched “OMD I-Score” in partnership with ad agency OMD that aims to provide a scoring system that matches brands and talent on social media.
Influential, which is based in Las Vegas and has offices in Beverly Hills and New York, currently has 80 employees. Detert expects to expand headcount to around 100 by the end of 2018, with the company planning to hire more data scientists, developers, and channel partner staff.