William Morris Endeavor has participated in the second round of funding for Influential, a digital marketing agency that specializes in pairing brands with social influencers, the firms announced on Thursday.
Influential raised $12 million in its Series B financing, with WME joining as a new investor, at an undisclosed valuation. The firm has raised $26.5 million since it launched in 2013.
“This is a watershed moment for Influential,” said Ryan Detert, founder and CEO of Influential, in a statement. “We are thrilled to start our new relationship with WME, and are proud of continued support from our partners at Instanz Australia. We are well beyond the wild, wild, west of influencer marketing. Brands, agencies, and the younger consumer generations, are extremely receptive to influencer marketing however, have not yet been able to tap into its true potential.”
Influential leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning tools to match major companies like Coca-Cola and Sony Pictures with thousands of influencers. Its campaigns have been seen more than 5 billion times across Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and YouTube.
The new bond is “perfect” for WME to connect its talent roster to marketing opportunities, according to Chris Jacquemin, WME’s head of digital.
“This whole partnership came about as we had been thinking a lot about the future of the commercial-endorsement business we do for talent clients, both on influencer side and very much on the traditional side,” said Jacquemin in a statement to TheWrap. “I was interested in how technology would impact that side of our business, and we set out to do this in a more dynamic, data-driven way.”
The financing will allow Influential to take its software-as-a-service platform to market. WME joined existing investors Capital Zed, ECA Ventures, Paradigm Talent Agency, ROAR, and Tech Coast Angels.