Business

Brand Networks casts off bootstraps with first $68M ”warchest’ of funding

Brand Networks has raised $68 million in its first round of funding to speed up its growth and expand around the world.

Brand Networks combines enterprise-style software with agency-like services. The company works with big brands that have different social goals across their various departments, business units, sub-brands and locations. Along with the funding announcement, Brand Networks also announced a product called the Social Marketing Stack–  a platform that marketers use to manage content publishing, applications, ads, and insights across Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and other social platforms. The platform consists of four solutions (publish, amplify, insights, and apps) to help brands get the most out of their social media marketing efforts.

All of this technology supports brands’ social marketing efforts. Consumers these days expect a lot from their favorite brands. They demand interesting content, a social media presence, local outreach, and engagement. For international companies with a large fan base, it is a momentous task to ensure that all marketing efforts are customized and unified, but necessary to see returns.

“We’ve figured out a way to bring comprehensive software to the CMO that solves specific business challenges,” CEO Jamie Tedford told VentureBeat. “Brands are perfectly positioned to be marketed by software, but it’s just not in their DNA. With our software-service hybrid model, we come in and work with brands to develop a social marketing strategy that works across the organization from CMO to store manager. There is still big money in this space. It’s an established, but still young market, as we’re yet to see how Twitter, LinkedIn, now Tumblr and mobile in general are going to set up their own marketing ecosystems, which ultimately leaves lots of room for innovation.”

Brand Networks was founded in 2006, back when MySpace was more popular than Facebook. Founder and CEO Jamie Tedford was working as an advertising executive at Arnold Worldwide and saw that social networks would have a profound impact on the brand world by bringing them in closer contact with consumers. He recruited cofounder Mike Garsin and they built Brand Networks. The company has been bootstrapped the whole time. It achieved triple digit growth revenue in 2010 and hired 100 people this year, across five offices in Boston, NYC, LA, Toronto, and Rochester. Brand Networks works with major clients including American Express, Biore, Starbucks, and Macy’s. Private equity firm AEA led this round.

“After years of organically building tools and services directly in response to customer demand, we’ve reached the point where the social marketing ecosystem is mature enough and we’re ready to scale,” Tedford said. “We’re a profitable company already, but with AEA, we’ve brought on a financial partner to accelerate growth and allow us to innovate on our product even further, deepen our penetration of verticals and increase our footprint both nationally and internationally. Now we also have a war chest behind us for strategic initiatives and potentially acquisitions.”

Photo Credit: FateDenied/Flickr


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