Locorum, a marketing tech company based in London, Ont., has raised $1.2 million CAD in pre-seed funding as it looks to enter the United States (US) market.
Investors in the round include JNF Group, the Ontario Centre of Innovation, Outway CEO Rob Fraser, and Andrew Young, a mortgage broker at Axiom Mortgage Solutions. Locorum said 42 percent of the funds raised came from businesses and investors already using its platform.
Founded by Matt Santagapita and Carlon Farina in 2019, Locorum started out as a marketing company that primarily focused on serving real estate firms and other companies that provided local services, such as moving, roofing, plumbing, and cleaning.
The pair of co-founders noticed a gap in the market for services to help businesses grow through word-of-mouth referral, which is typically the main sales channel for local service providers.
Locorum claims over 150 businesses across 18 Canadian cities have used its platform.
To address this problem, Locorum developed a subscription-based advertising platform that enables business owners to manage referrals online like a targeted marketing campaign. In this mission, the startup brought on repeat entrepreneur Jeff Duke as its third co-founder and CEO in 2020.
“We see Locorum as the future of offline referral management and marketing,” said Duke, who previously founded online sustainable fashion brand L/L Supply. “We are delivering a proven digital marketing solution to sectors that rely almost exclusively on organic, offline word-of-mouth to generate new business.”
Drawing on insights from how referral marketing is done for e-commerce and enterprise technology, Locorum has built a suite of digital tools to help businesses acquire new customers and build brand loyalty.
By subscribing to Locorum, businesses can advertise their services via the startup’s platform. Initially, Locorum adopted a direct-to-consumer model, allowing clients to find and hire businesses through its directory. Duke told BetaKit that the startup is now focusing on B2B tools.
As an incentive to leave reviews and support local businesses, Locorum partnered with MasterCard in 2022 for its rewards program, providing customers with prepaid MasterCards. Clients can be rewarded between $50 and $5,000 cash back for a single hire or referral.
Locorum said over 150 businesses across 18 Canadian cities have used its offering. With this funding, Locorum plans to grow its membership base and enter the U.S. market.
Locorum said it is also expanding its product to residential development, allowing builders to automate referrals from their existing database and past buyers. The tool will be launching in Canada within the next 30 days, the startup noted.
Working towards these goals, Locorum said it recently expanded its technical and sales teams to increase their capacity and deliver new product features.
Featured image courtesy Locorum.