Round led by SoftBank Capital and Fairhaven Capital. KBS and P Ventures, Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments (BDMI) and several individual investors also participated in the round.
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NEW YORK, NY, CrowdTwist, a leading social loyalty and rewards platform, today announced that it has secured $6 million in equity financing in a Series A round led by SoftBank Capital and Fairhaven Capital. A recent graduate of the inaugural TechStars New York class, CrowdTwist will use the funds to support accelerated growth. kbs+p Ventures, Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments (BDMI) and several individual investors also participated in the round.
CrowdTwist's platform engages and activates a brand's audience wherever the brand is, both online and offline. Integrating seamlessly into a brand's site and experience, CrowdTwist gives brands the ability to track, incentivize and reward customer engagement across online, social and mobile channels. CrowdTwist also helps brands identify their biggest cross-platform influencers and understand how an individual customer is interacting with their various properties.
The CrowdTwist platform has already proven a powerful tool for brands like JCPenney and LiveNation. Among its roster of clients, CrowdTwist has increased average time-on-site by 250%, average page views per visit by 450% and average purchase size by over 30%. CrowdTwist has also generated tens of millions of earned media impressions for its customers.
"Brands continue to increase their overall digital marketing spend, but they lack the tools to understand which customers wield the most value and influence and which engagement platforms are contributing the most to sales," said Joe Medved, Partner, SoftBank Capital. "CrowdTwist solves this problem by providing cross-platform connectivity and actionable customer insight that drives measurable ROI for brands."
To drive engagement, CrowdTwist first connects the myriad places where a brand lives, including a brand's primary website, its online and offline points-of-sale, email, Facebook, FourSquare, Twitter, as well as other platforms. CrowdTwist then rewards a brand's customers with points for any kind of brand interaction across these various channels, including linking their social accounts, interacting with the brand socially, sharing content, contributing reviews & ratings or making purchases. As customers accumulate points, they have the opportunity to earn any type of real-world rewards that the brand chooses. These rewards could include experiences, access, status or more traditional items, such as discounts or free goods.
On the back-end, CrowdTwist's analytics dashboard gives brands the ability to tie together previously disparate sources of data about individual customers across different platforms. For example, brands can understand which actions or content contributions have the most value, who is spending the most time with the brand or what customers produce the strongest brand benefit over time. CrowdTwist then arms brands with custom campaign tools to speak directly to these customer segments.
"Historically, purchases and point-of-sale transactions have been the foundation of brand loyalty programs, as these were the most common places for a consumer to directly interact with a brand," said Rudina Seseri, Principal, Fairhaven Capital. "The emergence of multiple social channels, both online and mobile, has disrupted this model. Consumers can be rewarded for engaging with a brand online or sharing brand experiences via their social streams. CrowdTwist is positioned as the leader in helping brands take advantage of this growing trend in social loyalty."
"While the era of the fragmented social web is presenting a new set of engagement challenges, it is also significantly changing how brands view and approach customer loyalty," said Irving Fain, CEO and Co-founder, CrowdTwist. "Brands that take steps now to connect all of their online and offline audiences and enrich the overall customer experience are well positioned to discover, activate and retain their highest-value customers. Today's funding by a fantastic roster of investors is an affirmation of this vision, and we look forward to continuing to build a world class team and product."
About SoftBank Capital
SoftBank Capital is an independent venture capital firm focused on early stage businesses addressing ubiquitous, social computing. The firm addresses opportunities that deliver socially driven content, services and applications across platforms and devices. SoftBank Capital offers entrepreneurs valuable experience and resources, including its close association with SoftBank Corp. in Japan. The firm's historical investments include Associated Content, Buddy Media, Danger, E*TRADE, GeoCities, GSI Commerce, Huffington Post, WebMD, and Yahoo!. SoftBank Capital has offices in Newton, MA, New York City and Buffalo, NY. For more information, visit www.softbank.com
About Fairhaven Capital Partners
Based in Cambridge's Kendall Square, Fairhaven Capital is a venture capital fund dedicated to a thesis-based approach to investing in North American technology companies. This approach focuses investment efforts on markets where emerging companies and technologies can create significant value in three to five years. The Fairhaven team is focused on themes in the consumer, enterprise, financial services, materials, media infrastructure and security markets. Fairhaven is currently investing out of its second fund of $250 million. For more information go to www.fairhavencapital.com.
CrowdTwist is a social loyalty and rewards platform that engages and activates a brand's audience wherever the brand is, both online and offline. Giving brands the ability to track, incentivize and reward customer engagement across any online, social or mobile channel, CrowdTwist grows audiences, strengthens engagement, monetizes users and increases online and offline sales conversions. CrowdTwist also empowers brands to identify their biggest cross-platform influencers and understand how an individual customer is interacting with their online, social and mobile properties. Founded in 2009 by Irving Fain, Josh Bowen and Mike Montero, CrowdTwist is based in New York City.