Social content marketing technology startup Stackla has today announced the close of its first capital raise totalling $2 million. Investors in this round include Australian VC firm rampersand as well as Tony Faure, Non-Executive Director of oOh! Media and a former Yahoo! And Ninemsn executive; Grant McCarthy of Asia Pacific Growth Management; one of Australia’s foremost business commentators Alan Kohler; and Sam Mackay who is the chair of kikki.K. The funds will assist in the company’s plans to expand its presence in the US and UK, and double its staff over the next 18 months.
Although technology allowed brands to have a wider reach, marketing has also become more and more complex. Oftentimes, brands get lost in the social media firehose and consumers struggle to keep track of the best content due to the ephemeral nature of social media. Stackla wants to solve this very problem so that brands and consumers can both harness the power of social.
Stackla was founded in 2012 by Sydney-based entrepreneurs Damien Mahoney and Peter Cassidy, who came up with the idea for their startup while helping NRL teams develop social media content. Today, Stackla’s digital marketing platform aggregates and curates social media content for over 300 big name clients including Adidas, ANZ, Toyota, Canon, News Corp, Telstra, Medibank, Pandora, Qantas, McDonalds, NVIDIA, Michael Hill, Vogue, Toyota, Holden, MYER, Tourism Australia, Citibank, Origin Energy, SBS and most major Australian sport organisations, among many more bluechip clients.
The startup has been gaining traction globally with US clients Comcast, Boost Mobile, Target, Jawbone, Red Bull and Nespresso, as well as British clients Contiki, Shell and the British Labour Party using Stackla as a core part of their marketing efforts.
Stackla has also warmed the heart of social media giant Twitter, who has welcomed the startup as its first and only Australian Twitter Technology Partner.
In a nutshell, Stackla’s technology helps brands improve conversion rates by bringing social endorsements to their own websites and at point of sale. CapGemini’s recent Digital Shopper Relevancy report found that among shoppers social media’s influence was waning compared to websites and in store. A separate Monetate study of 500 million ecommerce sessions found only 1.55 percent of all ecommerce traffic came from social and just 0.71 percent of that resulted in sales.
“The influence of social media on e-commerce has been a letdown for many brands and consumers, driving a tiny portion of online sales and playing a decreasing role in the consumer shopping journey,” said Cassidy.
Stackla allows brands to discover and showcase the best brand mentions from across the social web. Use cases include social ‘catalogues’ for ecommerce websites; content crowdsourcing for live events; curated social media hubs for brand websites; and real-time visualisations generated from social data.
“Fans and customers are recommending brands and products to their friends on social media – these are money-can’t-buy endorsements. The problem is, social endorsements are fleeting and hard to capture,” said Cassidy.
“Stackla solves this problem by helping marketers cherry pick the best content on the social web and showcase it where their customers are – on websites, apps and at venues.”
A major trend the startup has noticed (and to a degree, even facilitated) is a shift in the way companies manage customer relationships. Big brands are moving away from managing Facebook pages towards making their own micro-sites where they can control both customer relationships and data.
Stackla is seeking to double its staff over the next 18 months by bringing on developers, salespeople and marketers in its new US and UK offices.
“With a footprint to build in the US and UK and over 30 staff to hire, the work has only just begun but we are thrilled that investors and customers believe in our vision,” said Mahoney, Co-Founder and CEO of Stackla.
“Social media is a mainstream activity marketers engage in every day, and we believe our software will become a key part of every marketer’s daily workflow.”
McCarthy, Asia Pacific Growth Management executive and a director of APGM’s investments arm who contributed to the investment round said he was “delighted” with Stackla’s traction and it confident that the team is “well-placed to execute on its vision”.
“The international expansion is set to continue that high growth trajectory and we’re excited to be helping Stackla achieve its goals.”