More than anything else, the marketing world wants to elicit emotion. The difficult part of this is being able to gauge emotional response of content and figuring out what works. This is where Knotch comes in handy. The provider of real time intelligence gives you an easy to digest platform to analyze branded content. With this invaluable information you are able to strategically develop your brand to attract whom you want and when you want it.
AlleyWatch chatted with CEO and founder Anda Gansca about the company and how their latest round of funding went.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
The $10M Series A included participation from the majority of our previous investors, especially our lead investors Michael & Xochi Birch as well as new, strategic capital from some the most successful entrepreneurs in the media, brand, entertainment and technology spaces including Beth Comstock, vice chair at GE and veteran media executive Jon Miller.
The goal was to bring together a group of very active investors who would help us go to market in a unique way and introduce us at the highest levels of our prospective clients – global brands.
Beth Comstock was our first big believer when she gave us a shot to work with GE and as time went by, she joined our investor group as a personal investor. She has been an incredible mentor to me as well as a terrific strategic investor for the company. She is the type of investor we sought to involve with the company as part of our Series A.
Tell us about your product or service.
Knotch is the leading, independent provider of real-time intelligence on digital marketing. The Knotch Intelligence Suite for Brands allows marketers to have a real-time, trustworthy, comparative view into their own digital marketing efforts as well as those of their competitors and partners.
What inspired you to start the company?
I was raised in a family of entrepreneurs who taught me the value of being innovative, disruptive and brave – all of which are requirements in starting a company. I’m also a huge data nerd, which led me to the initial idea around Knotch and the problems we could solve with transparent, accurate data.
How is it different?
Knotch is the only real-time intelligence platform that provides brands with an independent and integrated view of the performance of their content efforts, as well as pre- and post-campaign intelligence.
With Knotch, brands are able to search and follow others who are actively creating branded content as well as quickly identify opportunities to increase share of voice, understand and optimize their content lifespan, identify top performing content to repurpose and more.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
Knotch is creating a new market that is at the intersection of two giant markets: research and analytics. We could disrupt both or create an entirely new one, or all of the above.
What’s your business model?
We’re a SaaS business; clients subscribe to our platform and pay for a license.
Tell us about the decision to move your company from SF to NYC.
I first started traveling back and forth to New York a few years ago when we realized that Knotch had great potential for capturing emotions around branded content. Recognizing this great opportunity, I began talking to media companies and brands in New York. Eventually it became clear that we needed to be where our clients are (or where they constantly travel to) in order to truly build a product for them. New York was also better suited for the inflexion point we had reached as a company – having matured from startup to business and having to focus on commercializing our product.
What was the funding process like?
The funding process is always hard mainly because as an entrepreneur, your main obsession is your product and your clients, not raising money. So it’s a real distraction from the things that matter and the things that ultimately make you get up from bed every day. That being said, it’s also a great opportunity to meet and forge deep partnerships with supporters who then have your back as you grow and encounter all the challenges that you couldn’t even imagine the year/month before.
So all in all it’s a hard process, but one that is essential and ultimately hugely beneficial to the company and to the team.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
Being forced to fit in a box is hard when you’re trying to build a company that is creating a new market for itself. It’s one thing to be the “X or Y” for a vertical/industry that already exists – it’s much harder to revolutionize two markets by creating a new market at the intersection of the previous two. In our case, we are disrupting analytics and research by creating a product and a category that gathers these previously un-relatable data sets (the quality & the quantity) together and at scale. Having to fight tags like adtech, martech, etc. is hard because ultimately you expect to be taken at face value, not to be pattern-matched against something that has or hasn’t worked in the past. Luckily enough, true visionary investors love investing in things that haven’t been done before and they aren’t afraid of doing so; I was very lucky to get to those types of investors while fundraising.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Knotch is about a lot more than branded content. Knotch is about building a new layer of intelligence across the web that deals with sentiment, interests and feedback. Our vision is to become the feedback standard and the way audiences share how they feel online whether it’s about content they are consuming, products they are buying, movies they are considering or colleagues that they work with. Our vision is massive and the potential of what we want to build doesn’t stop at the usual “can this be a $1B company?”
That being said, branded content is a great area to start with because it is a growing category and it has a big need for unified, independent intelligence. Our investors recognize this need and know that Knotch is the solution. Knotch provides insights and the context to understand branded content effectiveness. Moreover, we built Knotch first and foremost for marketers, understanding the need to bring an independent assessment in real-time to power a fast and lean optimization of the media spend. It’s also important to point out that we put a lot of development into the user experience required to keep users engaged. Until Knotch, that hasn’t been the case, and our investors understand how important it is, how hard it is to get right and therefore, the immense value that we bring that is unlike anything out there today.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We are planning to use this funding to build our data science team and ensure Knotch is open to integrating with different platforms and data pipelines.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
First and foremost, try to become profitable. There’s nothing stronger in a negotiation than not needing the money. Second, look for funding in places that aren’t “traditional,” i.e. there’s incredible angel investors out there who are big executives at companies that are probably using your product – get them on your side through an investment. Don’t assume that VCs are the only solution. Angel investors might be a lot better for you, especially for a seed round.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
Our goal is to be the destination for actionable intelligence and wisdom for our clients as they seek to answer bigger questions about how digital marketing efforts connects to actual ROI. This wealth of intelligence enables marketers to make real-time decisions about their digital investments.
What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?
Craft on 19th st.