Traackr’s Unofficial Funding Story
Last week, Traackr announced that we raised $9 million in Series B funding led by Workhorse Capital, with participation from You & Mr Jones and existing investors.
We want to take this opportunity to thank you all, our customers, influencers, journalists and supporters from all over the world, for your contributions to our success. Over the last few years, we’ve been heads down, focusing not only on building a platform, but in collaboration with you, defining the very practice of influencer marketing. With this new round of investment, we wanted to reflect back on how Traackr has come to be a global influencer marketing solution and share some of the adventure with you!
Traackr, a people story since 2008
Officially, Traackr was founded in 2008 by two good friends who saw the tsunami of content headed our way and came up with a simple idea. Instead of organizing the web by pages, they developed a technology to reorganize web content by people. In doing so, they realized a small pool of people made a disproportionate impact online. About the same time, Klout emerged on the scene, but Traackr decided to focus on building a technology that would enable brands to work with these impactful individuals.
Traackr wasn’t founded in a garage, but if you’ve watched the video above, you’ll see we weren’t that far off the stereotype. In the early days, everyone worked from our CEO’s apartment. Initial financial support was raised through family and friends, many of whom would later join the company.
From the beginning, Traackr was born to be global. Our cofounders, Pierre-Loic Assayag and David Chancogne, are two French guys who’ve lived in the US for quite some time, but have maintained their ties to Europe, so early expansion to the U.K and France happened naturally. Today our team boasts 13 nationalities and collectively, Traackstars speak 19 languages. We are physically and culturally able to support our customers globally.
Traackr is very much a tribe. We support each other and radical candor is encouraged. We are proud to have had three “boomerang” employees so far and a fourth is hopefully joining us again shortly (you know who you are!). As our CEO has been known to say, “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.”
In 2016, we expanded even more, with the addition of senior executives with proven-records in the martech industry. Today, we have our headquarters in San Francisco and offices in Boston, New York, Paris and London. We conduct business in 19 languages, with customers in 43 countries. It is one of the reasons large enterprise firms choose us as their IRM platform.
We are drawn to rapidly growing and fiscally disciplined SaaS businesses like Traackr that solve fundamental problems for their customers.
– Dave McLean, co-founder and General Partner at Workhorse Capital.
Traackr, a vision focused on H2H
Pierre-Loic and David wanted to provide businesses with technology to thrive in today’s modern marketing world by enabling marketers to build relationships with influencers who engage with marketing-savvy, digitally native customers and drive people-centric change in the enterprise.
Traackr has always been focused on empowering businesses to build real relationships with influencers. While influencer marketing is incredibly powerful, the flipside of the coin is that it takes hard work. Anyone who tells you otherwise, tempts you with shortcuts or a tap for influence, is selling you pipedreams.
We started calling Traackr an Influencer Relationship Management technology in 2014 after clients started calling us their “CRM for influencers”. At the core of our discovery algorithm are three key elements: Reach, Resonance and Relevance.
In 2011, a visionary named Brian Solis asserted these three components as the pillars of influence. With a common vision and values, it seemed natural to team up to explore the future of influencer marketing within enterprises: a key to accelerate digital transformation and enable true customer centricity – it remains our most successful piece of content.
Since 2008, Traackr has been instrumental in helping define this new “IM” category. We’ve worked with our customers and community to distill the knowledge and expertise and build new ways of thinking and engaging, new models, processes, workflows, methodologies and frameworks to support today’s transformation. We even went as far as to create an online academy with awarded Shonali Burke for educational purposes.
Traackr’s remarkable lifetime revenue performance is the inverse of what would be expected of a typical SaaS business at a similar stage. The large amounts these typically spend to ‘find’ the market and customers, was dramatically reduced by Traackr via use of its own IRM product as the foundation of its growth, using its own toolset in both marketing initiatives and sales practices.
– Robbie Vann-Adibé, Chairman at Traackr
Traackr, an enterprise-grade technology
Our engineering team kicks ass. They have solved some of the toughest technology challenges and brought our customers the platform they need to succeed.
While most other influencer marketing tools are tactical, single feature apps, influencer marketplaces or network-specific tools, our in-house expertise has led to something else: a data-driven software solution that enables global brands to scale influencer programs by consolidating discovery, management and performance analytics all in one system.
Our infrastructure is fully built to support always-on influencer relationship building, structure for cross-team collaboration and surfaces relevant insights to achieve meaningful results in one easy-to-use platform. Thanks to this sophistication, global brands such as Microsoft, L’Oreal, SAP, Travelocity, Honda and the Coca-Cola Company trust Traackr to structure and scale their influencer marketing programs across departments and geographies.
At our recent all-hands meeting in San Francisco, we felt immensely grateful that 9 enterprise customer representatives flew from around the world to spend two days with us. They shared their successes and challenges, but were most eager to spend the rest of their time discussing our technology platform, our roadmap and the future requirements and developments they see.
As a tech company, listening, thinking, developing, testing, iterating, validating and sharing is part of our DNA. From our early days 3R based influencer discovery and its upgrades over time to our recent I3 powered analytics, our technology team keeps on innovating and will continue to do so with this new funding and the client and industry communities we have built.
Traackr is unique as they have built a fantastic SaaS platform that makes the discovery, management and measurement of influencer relationships seamless while using data to help quantify the impact of those relationships across the customer journey.
– David Jones, founder and CEO of You & Mr Jones
Traackr, a bright future
The Series B funding was a long, long process. Our leadership team didn’t want just any investors or some outrageous investment that would leave employee options worthless. We didn’t want to lose control of the company we are so proud to have built. In short, we didn’t want to sell out what makes Traackr so special: a team, a vision, a product, a solution.
What we needed were strategic investors to help us move to the next level. We couldn’t have found more forward-thinking and complementary organizations:
- Growth equity firm Workhorse Capital invests in bootstrapped software and technology-enabled services companies, and acts as an intellectually-engaged partner with management teams who aspire to accelerate the organic growth of their already successful businesses. Their motto resonates: “Don’t die trying to be a unicorn, when you can be a workhorse.”
- Brandtech group You & Mr Jones adds Traackr to its roster of visionary technology company investments revolutionizing how brands connect with people as big believers in people-powered marketing and in particular the power of influencer marketing.
The benefits of bringing such strategic investors on board has already been felt on multiple levels, as they share our vision of influencer marketing and support our mission to empower every organization to break through the noise, earn trust and build a brand that customers love.
We plan to use this round of funding to fuel sales and customer success across the globe. Increasing the depth of data and range of platforms covered on the platform will also be a priority for Traackr’s product and engineering teams.
As companies scale influencer marketing programs, they see their brand through a new lens, one that is managed outside the organization. Influencer-generated content unveils where audiences are most engaged so brands can nurture customers along the sales journey on a highly personal level.
Influencer marketing has proven to be an integral lever in today’s people-powered marketing mix. It’s no longer an option. Companies need more authentic ways to communicate with their customers, and as a result, are shifting their budgets over to influencer partnerships.
Traackr customers are using IRM, not just as a more effective marketing and corporate communications platform, but also as a fundamental operating principle within their businesses. IRM is one of the most capital-efficient strategies a business can deploy to massively impact revenue, cost and productivity.
Influencer marketing is one of the key pillars of our digital transformation to build ‘love brands.’ It requires agility and real-time data. We trust Traackr’s solution, as their platform provides the real-time intelligence we need to activate beauty influencers who resonate the most with our fans.
– Marc Duquesnoy, Social Media Performance Director, Global CDO Team, L’OREAL Group
So, once again, thank you for sticking with us through highs and lows over the years. We thrive on your support and our dialogue with you. Here’s to the next phase of Traackr, we hope you’ll continue on this journey with us!