Experiential marketing start-up Brandcrush has raised $1 million to build its domestic business while further developing its offering in the US.
Venture capital firm Rampersand, Luxury Escapes founder Adam Schwab, and Blackbird Ventures’ Startmate accelerator program have joined existing supporters Nicky Jackson, Jane Martino, and Sean Taylor.
Co-founders Teresa Aprile and Matthew Hurle launched the company a year ago, and have already worked with brands including Ferrero, Bega Cheese, and Tom Organic, with activation hosts such as WeWork and XTend Barre. [Hurle will be sharing the start-up's journey and the value of real world engagement via activation at the upcoming Food & Drink Business +PKN Brands Behaving Bravely LIVE breakfast forum in Melbourne on 11 October.]
Aprile said that while a capital raise is “a beast in itself”, the company is excited about the problem it is solving for marketers and brands with the solution it provides.
“As consumers get more and more ingrained in digital, we’re going to crave physical connections, and that is what we are providing.
“We wanted to build a marketplace for premium businesses and events, so it would be as easy for marketers to book experiential marketing as it is a Google or Facebook ad,” she said.
The first few months of Brandcrush was focused on space acquisition. Once Aprile and Hurle had businesses to work with, then they could start to show how brands could be activated.
“We’re in a business where that traction takes time, and a lot of investors are not experienced in, or understand marketing or experiential marketing. We spent a lot of time explaining we are not going out after existing opportunities but unearthing new ones through businesses that have tremendous physical reach but haven’t been able to monetise that.”
Aprile said B2B marketplaces are hard because you are growing both sides, but there are such “massive gains to be had when you do nail it”. For Aprile, it’s about solving a problem in regard to workflow as well as access to the network.
Getting the narrative right for investors was crucial. “Just like the Ubers of the world who could grow an entire industry as the result of having a solution, we see that potential for Brandcrush.”
The three key difficulties about experiential marketing for businesses are discoverability, staffing and logistics, and measurability.
“We solve those problems and make experiential as easy to book as traditional advertising. We know it is effective because we’re seeing marketers allocate more time and resources to it, but it is still in the too hard basket for many.
“The beauty of the platform is companies can scale experiential campaigns with a click, as opposed to spending hours and hours coordinating staff at different locations.”
The additional benefit is the businesses that come on board as brand activators carry their own level of influence. Having the brand on site is its own form of endorsement, Aprile says.
"It appeals to both sides of the platform – we’re creating new media revenue opportunities for businesses as well as providing activiation hosts a a way to monetise their physical reach. The Bottle House in Melbourne has two locations and has already raised $10,000. It provides them with additional income as well as an experience for their customers."
Aprile's co-founder Matt Hurle will take the stage at this years Food & Drink Business + PKN LIVE event in Melbourne on 11 October. Hurle will show attendees how technology is enabling hyper targeting, scalable execution, and real world endorsement through a network of trusted businesses.
He will give insight into what's driving the brand activation phenomenon and demonstrate how Brandcrush works with brands and activation partners/hosts to facilitate product sampling and experiential marketing with a difference, which is relatively inexpensive yet drives consumer engagement, sales, and brand loyalty.
For the full line up visit: Food & Drink Business + PKN LIVE
For tickets visit here.