Bryan Gold—An Influencer Leader: The CRM Influential Leader Awards
Influencer marketing is an internet sensation right now, accounting for more than $6 billion in ad spending per year. Influencers speak to consumers in an authentic and personal voice that makes them more trusted than traditional advertising.
No one knows the potential of influencer marketing more than Bryan Gold, CEO of #paid, a company he cofounded with childhood friend Adam Rivietz right after graduating from the University of Western Ontario in 2014. The two, who are barely 25 years of age, came up with the idea for the company after realizing that a friend had 100,000 followers on Instagram but no way to cash in on all that popularity.
The Toronto-based company’s mission, as stated by Gold, is “democratizing access to the world’s most inspiring creators and empowering them to make a living doing what they love.”
The platform offered by #paid leverages IBM’s Watson artificial intelligence and cognitive computing technology to match marketers and content creators for integrated influencer marketing programs, content creation, and native amplification. Other technology in the company’s portfolio includes a proprietary pricing algorithm; automated workflows to help companies scale their influencer marketing programs, manage influencer rosters, approve content, and measure results; machine learning that improves recommendations over time; and comprehensive analytics that help companies forecast the performance of their campaigns, optimize mid-campaign, and analyze programs once they’re done.
The company currently has an active influencer network of more than 15,000 content creators scattered across more than 100 countries. It counts among its clients many Fortune 500 companies, including Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Audi, Chevrolet, Toyota, Canon, Visa, Sony, Ikea, and LG.
The company recently cashed in on a $9 million funding round, money that Gold says will go toward expanding the company internationally and extending its platform with a cloud-based offering focused on enabling marketers to run world-class influencer marketing programs on their own. Additionally, #paid will continue to enhance its AI-powered matching algorithm, Affinity Score, which uses advanced image-recognition, past campaign performance, and relationships with the creators to ensure optimal and authentic recommendations.
“The #paid team has achieved exceptional traction and revenue growth, and we believe they’re positioned to accelerate the influencer marketing industry in a big way,” said Matt Roberts, a partner at ScaleUP Ventures, the leading investor in the funding round, in a statement. “Their unique matching algorithm leverages AI and online communities to identify creators who deeply believe in the brands they are promoting and authentically connect them to highly engaged audiences. #paid is in an advantageous position to bring global scale to brands and ad agencies to run influencer and content marketing programs that drive impact and ROI.”