Heartbeat, the leading two-way brand endorsement platform, announced the close of a $1 million seed round of equity funding, led by Sinai Ventures, backers of Pinterest and Compass, along with Firebrand Ventures. With total funding of $2.9 million to date, the seed round was also participated by Heartbeat’s existing investors, including Right Side Capital Management.
Brian Freeman, co-founder and CEO of Heartbeat, said: “We’re developing the most effective platform for brands to engage with millennial consumers through better targeting and segmentation, authentic connections with advocates, and scalable reach to an audience of more than 526 million consumers. We’re thrilled to welcome Sinai Ventures and Firebrand Ventures to the Heartbeat family, as this new funding will further accelerate our ability to grow with the demand in this billion-dollar market.”
Jordan Fudge, Partner with Sinai Ventures (a new investment fund with $90 million under management), said: “As the advertising space continues to adapt to consumers’ media consumption habits, brands are increasingly experimenting with new channels for customer acquisition and retention. Influencer marketing has the potential to attract a considerable share of the average ad budget; however, there is no real programmatic technology or network to implement these strategies. With Heartbeat and its more than 145,000 Ambassadors, brands have been able to attract and retain customers at scale through user-generated content, and have seen significant returns on investment across a number of leading brands and agencies.”
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Since launching last year, Heartbeat has enabled numerous influencer campaigns in partnership with premium brands including H&M, Amazon, Laura Mercier, Soylent, Bebe, Le Tote, Dashlane, Kaplan MD, Syfy, Warner Bros, and Saks Fifth Avenue. Additionally, the company has formed strategic partnerships with major generation Z and female-focused agencies including Clique Media Group, W Promote and AwesomenessTV. Heartbeat’s total audience reach has grown to more than 526 million consumers through its over 145,000 Ambassadors, currently generating over 100 million likes and over 9 million comments weekly.
Vanessa, GM of Lilly Lashes, said: “The Heartbeat team has created a product that is aligned with the innovative direction that the paid media channel is headed. They’re out of the box solution for driving organic content, coupled with expert knowledge of the social space, and a beyond professional team, makes this company the perfect partner for any brand looking to stay relevant with their consumers and outsmart their competition.”
Brands today are spending $36 billion on social channels to engage and acquire new millennial consumers through traditional ads and “influencer campaigns.” However, there are few authentic two-way conversations between consumers and brands. Why? Millennial women are the hardest consumers to acquire and retain because they trust friends’ recommendations exclusively when choosing between one product or service and another. Heartbeat is making social campaign spend more effective by enabling brands to engage in a direct conversation with consumers through trusted friends, which are part of Heartbeat’s extensive network of more than 145,000 millennial and generation Z Ambassadors. They create and share content about these brands and why they love them with their friends, creating authentic connections between brands and consumers.
Heartbeat offers in-depth targeting and segmentation capabilities to ensure brands reach the right audience, based on interests, location, shopping habits and more. Brands can then choose from seven types of marketing campaigns, such as a new product launch or driving increased sales on-site. Once campaign launches, Ambassadors begin publishing user-generated content immediately, enabling brands to review insights and optimize campaigns in real-time from a robust analytics dashboard.
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