Company Overview: GRIN is building the infrastructure for the creator and influencer economy, providing an end-to-end SaaS workflow solution for eCommerce brands to build and manage authentic relationships through industry-leading marketing software.
Round: We invested in the Series A in December 2020 led by e.ventures with participation from Bullpen Capital. Subsequently, we helped catalyzed a Series A Extension in April 2021 with Imaginary Ventures and Good Friends.
Why We Invested: Influencer marketing is big business. So is the technology that enables it: the global software market size is expected to grow from $6B in 2020 to $24B by 2025.
Influencer marketing was born from the social media age. Brands and individuals with highly engaged social media audiences collaborate to market products or by creating content that drives brand engagement and sales. Influencer marketing encompasses affiliate marketing, branded content, public relations, and customer advocacy and may be the most critical component of the high-growth brand playbook.
However, the current influencer marketing process is painfully broken.
Brands often run large-scale, sophisticated programs internally while using several messy systems and tools that do not work well together. Influencer marketing networks and marketplaces that promise to unite influencers and brands play the role of middleman. They are perversely incentivized to find any influencer who will hawk a product in exchange for cash. Since the product endorsement is seen as a transaction, there is little to no thought given as to whether the messenger believes in the product they are promoting. When brands treat influencer marketing this way, influencer marketing fails. The content is not trustworthy. At worst, it can lead to disastrous consequences for the brand.
GRIN is an all-in-one customer relationship management (“CRM”) software platform designed specifically to manage and grow eCommerce brands through their relationship with influencer marketing. Their software enables eCommerce brands to activate large networks of social media influencers, traditional affiliates, athletes, customer advocates and more through the full lifecycle of discovery, recruitment, activation, product seeding, contracting, reporting, analytics, and payments.
GRIN solves a pain-point for brands attempting to adapt to the significant change in consumer behavior experienced over the last several years.
Consumers now predominantly engage with media on their mobile phones, instead of television, an adjustment which is causing a crisis for how brands market their products and services. Modern brands are succeeding by going to where the consumer attention is and building trust. They do so by partnering with influencers, athletes, and opinion leaders who have engaged social media audiences in those channels.
GRIN’s second-to-none influencer discovery, analytics tools, and workflow integration, coupled with its high-touch customer service, distinguish it from existing all-in-one solutions. GRIN is known for building authentic and trusting relationships between brands and influencers – and ultimately driving successful sales outcomes with consumers. GRIN achieves this authentic matching and communications between influencer and brand by providing a rich search and discovery functionality, which uses social listening technology and integrates a brand’s sales data to identify influencers that have purchased from the brand in the past.
The more time we spend with Brandon, GRIN's CEO, the more confident we are in his ability to execute. With over a decade of experience in marketing, Brandon is an expert in developing and curating authentic relationships for brands, partners, and teams he works with. The concept of influencer marketing is not new. Red Bull was itself a product of influencer marketing and Brown was at the forefront of Red Bull's relationships with taste makers, celebrities and athletes. While there, Brandon was responsible for a team of 60 employees, managed all consumer marketing for a $200M regional business, and built one of the most extensive opinion leader programs in the world (predecessor to “influencer marketing” before Instagram).
We are excited to work with a fantastic consortium of investors in Imaginary Ventures, Headline, Bullpen Capital, Good Friends, and FundersClub.