Now, a London startup called Verve, which plays on the influencer theme in the area of selling tickets to experiences and events, has raised a significant round of growth funding to expand its business.
Pollen has now raised $100 million, and while it is not disclosing its valuation, Callum Negus-Fancey, the CEO who co-founded the company with his brother Liam, told me that it’s about 3.7 times higher than in its previous round.
The era of influencers is well and truly upon us in social media: the “billboards of new media,” as Negus-Fancey describes them, have become a major way for brands to reach certain kinds of audiences — often younger demographics that are spending a lot of time already on social platforms whose tastes are formed in part by posts from those whom they follow.
Pollen then works with event planners — be they music festival or concert organizers, nightclub events or destination events such as skydiving or chartering yachts, some 500 in all, including Live Nation, MGM Resorts, TAO, Hakkasan, AEG & C3; and secured partnerships with Ticketmaster, Eventbrite, Priceline, StubHub and SeeTickets — and negotiates a certain amount of tickets to these that will be marketed through its network of people, the members of Pollen.
Pollen makes money by taking a cut on each sale — usually something like 10-20%, Negus-Fancey said.
“I see us micro-influencers, more like an evolution of direct selling rather than related to what happens on Instagram,” Negus-Fancey said.