26 May 2012
GroSocial Nabs $1M From HubSpot Execs & More To Become The “Buddy Media For SMBs”
Back in October, GroSocial raised $450K in seed funding from the Kickstart Seed Fund, Monarch Ventures, Rock & Hammer Ventures and a handful of angel investors. The seed funding acted as early validation and fuel for the Utah-based startup, which is on a mission to help SMBs — and organizations that lack the resources to train or hire dedicated social media teams — boost customer engagement and monetization via social media.
Today, the Utah-based social media marketing company has officially received further validation from investors, with the announcement that it has closed an additional $1 million in funding. Each of the investors that participated in the startup’s initial financing have re-upped, along with a handful of newcomers, including HubSpot Co-founder and CTO Dharmesh Shah and HubSpot CMO Mike Volpe.
Thus far, GroSocial has focused its efforts primarily on Facebook, but with the new capital, Co-founder and CEO Zach Mangum tells us that the startup will be expanding its scope to include integrations with other social networks in an effort to become the “Buddy Media for SMBs.”
Since October, GroSocial’s partner list has grown to include Yellow Pages, LegalZoom, SurveyMonkey, and HubSpot, among others, adding to the thousands of businesses (across some 20+ countries) already using its products. The startup is also in the process of working with a number of SMB aggregators to white label its platform and sell it as their own social media marketing product.
For some context, GroSocial has been primarily focused on its flagship “Customizer” platform, which allows brand managers to launch custom-designed promotional tabs on their Facebook partner networks. Partners can use those tabs to run contests, offer promotions, coupons, services, or to add videos. Managers can choose to add a “like gate,” meaning that customers must “like” the company’s brand page in order to access the promotions that live on the tabs, and have the ability to choose which parts of its tabs can be modified by partners and take advantage of engagement statistics.
And, thanks to integrations with services like SurveyMonkey, users can not only use the drag and drop application to design custom content for Facebook pages, but take advantage of social distribution of surveys, collecting feedback from Facebook fans as they visit your brand pages.
As for what’s next, according to David Cohen of AllFacebook, GroSocial will be looking to expand its offerings to small to mid-sized marketing agencies, enabling access to white-label services — something traditionally reserved for larger agencies with more sizable social marketing budgets. Agencies will be able to resell GroSocial services at a price point that begins at $200 per month, making it easy to turn a profit and recoup costs.
This new functionality will allow GroSocial to become both a content and training provider for the many small-to-midsize marketing agencies out there, allowing the startup to monetize as it scales, while reducing the headache agencies find when trying to juggle the implementation of their clients’ social media marketing initiatives while managing their accounts.
Though GroSocial has been targeting SMBs, using Facebook as the foundation for its apps, with its new funding in tow, the startup will be looking to expand to other social networks as well as court larger companies, building on the recent additions of eBay and SkullCandy to its client roster. Mangum said that he expects GroSocial to pass 50,000 paying customers by the end of the year, which, along with the funding, will enable the startup to double its headcount.
For more, find GroSocial at home here, or check out a few of the apps that were created by some of its SMB users. Video on Customizer below:
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