As people get pickier about whose blogs they are reading, elite bloggers have risen to the top. But the two aspects of this industry, the connecting of the best bloggers in one area and the presentation of the content have remained (unfortunately) separate. But with the latest acquisition the biggest blog discovery platform has partnered with a top influencer-advertising platform to create a two-headed monster. With Activate by Bloglovin’, formerly known as Sverve, being acquired by Bloglovin’, the way we read blogs has changed and has created the space it needs to only optimize our blogging experience.
With both companies being from NY, we spoke with Rohit Vashisht about the recent acquisition as well as about how the influencer blog world is being altered.
Tell us about your service.
Activate by Bloglovin’, formerly known as Sverve, is an influencer marketing platform that connects brands with targeted and influential content creators for native advertising campaigns. Activate’s platform amplifies reach and awareness via an active network of influencers who are constantly engaging with their social channels and communities. We also provide real-time metrics that track social content, engagement and conversions.
Who acquired you and what was the acquisition process like?
We were acquired by Bloglovin’, the leading social discovery platform for blogs and influencer-focused lifestyle content. Our acquisition process was pretty intense and fast paced. We didn’t want to lose any momentum on business whilst going through the deal process therefore both teams worked round the clock to execute the acquisition in sixty days. The first half was about business case, due diligence, and overall deal terms. Once we reached an agreement, our tech teams started working on product integration, business teams worked on sales, marketing and new branding, and legal worked on hammering out paperwork. Our goal was to launch an integrated platform the day we closed and announced the deal. There were many long nights and working weekends but we crossed the finish line on time.
What factors about your business led Bloglovin’ to consider the acquisition?
About 750K influencers worldwide actively use Bloglovin’ as a source of inspiration to create quality content and gain new followers. With influencer marketing going more mainstream, Bloglovin’ was looking for ways to bring a plethora of monetization opportunities to their large influencer base. At Sverve, we had built a robust platform that was used by marketers to connect with our growing community of 25K influencers, track performance of their campaigns, and make automatic payments. By combining efforts, we are able to give every influencer, whether big or small, the ability to monetize their online presence. Additionally, brands have the opportunity to work with different subsets of influencers and better reach their target audience.
What factors about Bloglovin’ influenced your decision to be acquired?
At Sverve, we were looking for ways to grow our community, build a marquee brand among influencers, and create a stellar sales team to bring more campaigns on the platform. We saw all three coming together with Bloglovin’. As a combined company, we are now the largest influencer network globally and a brand that is recognized by influencers across tiers, platforms and geographies. Bloglovin’ was already building a great commercial team that further expedited our roadmap to success.
What are your plans going forward?
Our vision is to become the leader in influencer marketing globally. With our scale and reach, we have the ability to influence millions of people across social platforms with native content. Our near term plan is to expand our product offerings to include programmatic campaigns for more social channels like Instagram and Snapchat. We also plan to bring deeper information on followers to accurately target brand campaigns, and launch our platform in Europe and Canada. And of course, we are aggressively growing our team by hiring in all functions.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that are building their businesses?
In 2013, we had just finished 500 Startups accelerator program and were discussing if we should stay in the valley or move back to New York. I am glad we decided to move back as it turned out to be the boost our startup needed at that time. NY is a great destination for ad-tech startups with brand access, thriving entrepreneurial community, and access to capital. It was easier to hire and retain talent, meet clients, and find industry experts in the city. NYC’s entrepreneurial community is small when compared to the valley but it is relatively easy to meet fellow entrepreneurs, investors and mentors. My best advice to fellow entrepreneurs is to make time to attend meet ups, go to events, and be a part of the community to get the true value of NYC startup ecosystem. Having raised VC funding on both West and East coasts, I found a better appetite for our kind of startup [revenue positive with a clear business model] among NY investors.