Toronto-based #paid has raised a $9 million Series A as the company looks to expand its influencer marketing platform.
The round was led by ScaleUP Ventures, with participation from Aitken Investments and Freycinet Investments.
Founded by Bryan Gold and Adam Rivietz, #paid launched in 2014 with the goal of connecting marketers with influencers for campaigns and content creation. Since then, it’s built up a network of influencers with at least 5,000 Instagram followers, spanning wide-ranging industries from pet accounts, photographers, beauty bloggers, and bloggers with children.
#paid CEO Bryan Gold said that partnering with ScaleUP Ventures will allow it to scale to new markets across North America and Europe.
“For marketers, sometimes partnering with a creator who isn’t necessarily in your direct category can be beneficial,” said CEO Bryan Gold. “For example, we’ve seen success when travel companies partner with beauty bloggers. It all depends on the marketing objectives.”
The company is now expanding its platform by allowing companies to license #paid’s technology to run their own influencer marketing campaigns, and work with #paid’s customer experience team for additional support on running those campaigns.
Through the platform, marketers can also engage multiple influencers to create custom branded content, and promote top posts.
The company also wants to invest in its machine learning capabilities through Affinity Score, which uses image recognition, metrics on past campaign success, and factors like region and content type to make recommendations to marketers.
“The future of influencer marketing stems from authenticity,” said Gold. “With Affinity Score, marketers can gain insight into whether a creator is a true advocate for a brand. True advocates lead to authentic collaborations that deeply resonate with their audience. Creators also get to work with brands they believe in, making it a win-win.”
Gold said that partnering with ScaleUp Ventures will allow it to scale to new markets across North America and Europe.
“With global influencer marketing ad spend exceeding $6 billion annually, the #paid team has achieved exceptional traction and revenue growth, and we believe they’re positioned to accelerate the influencer marketing industry in a big way,” said Matt Roberts, partner at ScaleUP Ventures. “Their unique matching algorithm leverages AI and online communities to identify creators who deeply believe in the brands they are promoting, and authentically connect them to highly engaged audiences. #paid is in an advantageous position to bring global scale to brands and ad agencies to run influencer and content marketing programs that drive impact and ROI.”
#paid currently has 15,000 influencers on the platform, and counts brands like Coca-Cola, Mondelez International, and Airbnb among its clients.
James Aitkin, who built programmatic advertising marketplace The Exchange Lab and exited it to WPP, will be joining #paid’s board of directors.