By John Tilak
TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian startup Influitive, a marketing-software provider, has raised $30.5 million in funding as it looks to finance growth and expand into Europe and Asia, its top executive said on Thursday.
Canadian and U.S. technology companies have been benefiting from a recent flood of venture capital-investments with investors rushing to buy stakes in promising startups as early as possible.
Companies use Influitive’s software platform to mobilize their most-valued customers - who they call advocates - by motivating them to refer others, to write reviews and to get the word out on social media. Influitive has about 250 corporate clients including Hootsuite, IBM <IBM.N>, Hewlett-Packard <HPQ.N> and Dell.
"The challenge isn’t in identifying advocates. The challenge is in getting the full potential from them,” said Mark Organ, founder and chief executive of Toronto-based Influitive, who added that the company's latest funding was significantly oversubscribed.
Organ was the founder of software company Eloqua Inc, which was acquired by Oracle <ORCL.N> for about $871 million a few years ago.
The latest funding round was led by Georgian Partners, a Toronto-based venture capital firm that specializes in the software and data analytics markets. Georgian put in about half the funding.
“We feel advocacy marketing is going to be a huge market category,” said Simon Chong, managing partner at Georgian Partners, who will join the company’s board.
“(Influitive) lives by their own home cooking,” he added. “They use their advocacy platform to mobilize their customers.”
Other investors include Atlas Venture, Docomo Capital, BDC Capital IT Venture Fund and Relay Ventures.
The company plans to use the money to enter markets in Europe and Asia, add products to its suite and hire staff, Organ said. Influitive is looking to double its headcount to about 200 over the next year, he said.
While the chief executive declined to disclose the company's revenue, he said sales growth quadrupled last year and is on track to triple in 2015.
Influitive is not yet turning a profit but aims to do so in the next 24 months, Organ said.
The company wants to be ready for a potential initial public offering by 2019, he said.
(Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson; and Peter Galloway)