Crowdtap Raises $7 Million To Help Brands Connect With Their Influential Customers

Crowdtap, a service that allows marketers to easily collaborate with and mobilize targeted crowds of influential consumers, announced today that it has raised $7 million in series A funding. The round was led by Foundry Group, with participation from GSA Venture Partners and social media agency Mr. Youth. Mr. Youth invested $3 million of seed funding in Crowdtap back in 2009 (and served as an incubator for the company during its early stages), which brings the startup's total current investment to $10 million. Crowdtap said that it will use its infusion of capital to ramp up hiring in both its sales and engineering teams. With an ever-widening gulf between consumers and brands, Crowdtap is attempting to retool marketing to make it a more collaborative and participatory process. It's certainly an ambitious goal, which the startup hopes to catalyze by allowing brands and marketing agencies to access its growing member base of 150,000 Crowdtappers. The startup wants to become a network "for Brand Influencer Communities", or, in other words, a resource that aggregates groups of influential consumers that can be tapped for realtime research, collaboration, or word-of-mouth marketing. Leveraging existing customer bases, along with locating potential new customers, is no easy feat for brands. Crowdtap hopes to enable brands to identify, centralize, and activate key consumers by more easily tapping into their Facebook, Twitter, and CRM channels. Crowdtap offers brands the ability to poll their top customers, view profiles of these customers, and receive breakdowns and analysis of the polls, which can then be retargeted based on answers provided. Brands can also form panels of consumer to quickly start discussions, posing questions to which consumers can then respond, comment on, and vote. For its community of Crowdtappers, the startup attempts to increase brand engagement by offering a game-ified experience, allowing these members to level-up, gaining status among their favorite brands, earn perks, get access to the latest products, and make donations to charities of their choice. Since launching its beta platform in August of 2010, Crowdtappers have completed 4.6 million brand actions, which include polling, online panels, social sampling, etc., and the startup's communities are now averaging nearly 400,000 actions per week. Crowdtap launched officially at SxSW in March and has since added another 100,000 members in the U.S. Brands currently working with Crowdtap include Old Navy, AMEX, Pinkberry, MSN, Diageo and Bing, and the startup has also forged partnerships with PR, creative, and digital agencies like Weber Shandwick, GolinHarris, Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal, and Mullen. For more on Crowdtap, check out the video below:
Rip Empson

Rip Empson is a Writer at Gigabuzz, focused on covering early-stage startups, especially those with a technology focus and great perks.

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