Zyper, the London-based marketing platform that connects brands with their “superfans,” has raised $ 6.5 million in Series A funding. The new round, which brings Zyper’s total funding to date to $ 8.5 million, is led by Talis Capital, with participation from Forerunner Ventures and Y Combinator.
Founded by Amber Atherton, Zyper has built a platform that lets companies identify their top fans, and therefore advocates, on various social media. It then invites these communities of fans to join advocacy campaigns where user-generated “ad” content is seeded in return for various rewards and experiences.
It’s a more granular and long-tail approach than so-called influencer marketing that targets people with much larger social followings. Atherton has long-argued that traditional influencer marketing often results in poor engagement. Instead, Zyper’s tech identifies a brand’s top 1% organic fans, typically seeing each Zyper brand community consist of around 500-1,000 advocates.
To identify superfans for each respective brand Zyper works with, the startup employs computer vision and natural language processing technology. Atherton tells me that it is this ability to accurately identify and segment superfans that gives the startup an edge, often doing a better job than the brands themselves. Zyper has already filed for a patent relating to its tech and is in the process of filing for a second one.
“These superfans provide a constant stream of trusted, user-generated content (UGC) that sparks conversation and boosts sales while unearthing new product and purchase insights,” explains the company.
To that end, brands Zyper works with include Banana Republic, Coty, Nestlé and Topshop.
Meanwhile, Zyper will use the new funds to open a San Francisco headquarters. It will also continue to invest in the development of its “predictive analytics engine” and recommendation system algorithms.
Atherton says, as part of this, the startup is building out self-service capability so that it can on-board more brands. It is also growing engineering and sales teams and recently appointed Lauren Pye, who previously served as VP of Sales in North America for Live Nation Entertainment, as executive director of Sales.