Rising interest in conversational media, stronger investments in suggestion technology, and a renewed commitment to building greater diversity within technology propel a new round of financing and growth
In the age of social distancing, messaging has become an inextricable part of everyday life. To continue to help bring these online conversations to life, Holler today announced a $36 million Series B round co-led by CityRock Venture Partners and New General Market Partners LLC founded by billionaire entrepreneur, Richelieu Dennis. Additional investors in the round include Gaingels, Interplay Ventures, Relevance Ventures, Towerview Ventures, and WorldQuant Ventures. The investment will help the company continue to enhance digital messaging experiences and accelerate the development of its conversational media products, and a new model of advertising that directly and organically connects brands with consumers within peer-to-peer messaging environments.
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CityRock Venture Partners invests in companies at the nexus of growth, impact, and diversity – an ethos that falls in line with Holler’s vision to create new standards for next-generation technology companies. Holler believes young companies have a responsibility to prioritize diversity in product, people, and impact, and to set higher ethical guidelines for emerging tech and how we use it.
“Holler is more than simply a groundbreaking technology company,” says Oliver Libby, co-founder and Managing Partner of CityRock Venture Partners. “Under Travis Montaque’s visionary leadership, Holler boldly stands for a new era of ethics in social media, and also deeply reflects the values of diversity, inclusion, and belonging. Along with what we believe is huge market potential, this is why Holler aligns so strongly with CityRock’s purpose-driven investment strategy. Our team is honored to be a part of Holler’s extraordinary journey.”
Holler will use its latest funding round to invest in the research, engineering and development around conversational media, and the original creative content intended to drive its use. Holler’s sophisticated Suggestion AI Technology is now capable of more accurately understanding context and nuance in messaging, leading to better content suggestions, and improved conversations. The technology is being adopted by major platform partners via Holler Kit 5, the company’s latest SDK. With Holler Kit 5, developers can seamlessly bring engaging content and features such as GIFs, stickers and advanced Suggestion AI Technology into their platform – all with one integration. Most recently, The Meet Group, a portfolio of popular dating apps, updated its platform with this technology, and a strong pipeline of new partners are lined up to integrate Holler Kit 5 throughout the next three quarters.
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“Having meaningful conversations online is more important now than ever,” said Travis Montaque, CEO and Founder of Holler. “We knew that conversational media would be essential to everyday life so we’ve spent the last few years finessing our technology and building the foundation to take advantage of the moment when the market was ready to embrace it on a broader scale. In 2020, that work has started to pay dividends as the influence and potential of conversational media gained momentum with both investors and brands.”
The brand and advertising community in particular has taken note of the opportunities within messaging. In 2020, Holler launched new conversational media campaigns on behalf of industry leaders including HBO Max, Orbit, and Vita Coco. Major corporations such as AB InBev, Diageo, IKEA, Mars, Molson Coors, and Starbucks have scaled their programs on Holler’s platform after successful trials. A suite of Molson Coors brands— including Vizzy, Blue Moon, Coors Light, and Miller Light— achieved significant levels of reach with their campaigns.
2020 was Holler’s first revenue growth year, and revenue booked in Q1 2021 has already hit 226% of total revenue in 2020 and remains on a positive growth trajectory. The company is bullish on the continued importance of messaging as a communication tool, and believes that stickers, GIFs, and other content within messaging is only the beginning.
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