Influencer marketing platform CreatorIQ has just closed a $12 million funding round that values the company at between $40 and $50 million, according to The Wall Street Journal — which is four times its value prior to the Series B.
TVC Capital led the round, which also included participation from Affinity Group and Unilever Ventures — the private equity arm of the consumer goods conglomerate. Affinity led CreatorIQ’s $3.5 million Series A in 2017.
The Wall Street Journal notes that the investment by Unilever marks an effort by the nutrition, hygiene, and personal care giant to better understand influencer marketing. Although Unilever harnesses influencer marketing extensively to promote its household brands like Dove and Axe, its executives have previously critiqued the space for being undermined by fraud due to the prevalence of bots, purchased followers, and poor transparency in terms of measurement.
CreatorIQ is a software company that helps marketers link up with influencers, manage their spend, and measure the results of any ensuing campaigns. Its flagship platform, called the Enterprise Creator Cloud, is powered by artificial intelligence. CreatorIQ’s Series B round brings total funds raised by the five-year-old company to $15.5 million. CreatorIQ — which already works with Unilever as well as Airbnb, CVS, Disney, and Mattel — will use the its latest funds to build new measurement and data tools, as well as to double its staff this year to 160 employees.
Despite past criticisms, Unilever’s EVP of global media, Luis Di Como, told the Journal that CreatorIQ provides fraud detection services. Furthermore, Vasiliki Petrou, group chief executive at Unilever Prestige — which comprises luxury beauty brands like Dermalogica, Living Proof, and Kate Somerville — also said that Unilever is also pushing to partner with more micro and nano influencers, who count smaller, more engaged followings.
“The most impactful brand stories no longer come directly from brands,” Igor Vaks, CreatorIQ’s founder and CEO, said in a statement. “They are told in collaboration with passionate advocates who are helping build culturally relevant companies by delivering these stories to the world. Brands are turning to influencer marketing because it drives results, but only enterprise-grade technologies can help them succeed at scale alongside older and more mature marketing channels.”