Collective Bias gets $10.5 million to fuel expansion

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 117 views 

Bentonville-based Collective Bias has secured $10.5 million in investment to fund an expansion that could add 50 jobs to the company, with 25 of those planned for Northwest Arkansas.

The Series A investment round was led by Updata Partners.

For the past three years Collective Bias posted triple-digit growth by gaining new business from Fortune 500 companies. They have retained brands such as Heinz, Sears, Disney, Johnson & Johnson, Elmer’s  and Colgate for a variety of marketing tasks.

Since opening in mid 2009 Collective Bias has created 67 jobs to handle the firm’s growing customer base – 50 of those jobs are based in Bentonville. Collective Bias has grown annual revenue to $10 million with ambitious plans to exceed $20 million in 2013.

CEO John Andrews told The City Wire during a January interview that the firm would soon announce another round of funding needed to fuel the company’s ongoing growth and key business acceleration, including an international expansion.

“This investment round provides Collective Bias with runway to extend our four year leadership role in this new media category. We will employ these dollars to robustly enhance our Social Fabric content management platform, enter new markets and grow our team,” Andrews said in a statement released Tuesday (April 2).

At its core, Collective Bias hopes to help its customers experience sales growth by winning the hearts and minds of potential shoppers through social media influence or healthy gossip. Think of it as recruiting a chorus of public voices to sing in harmony about a particular brand. Research shows this is more compelling than anything a company is saying about their own brands.

Andrews says his firm uses a proprietary “social fabric,” which is a vetted group of more than 1,400 shopper influencers scattered across the country. This group creates authentic content – stories, photos or videos – about the brands everyday people are already using and love.

“Harnessing the power of social media to drive brand recognition, loyalty and sales are C-level priorities for consumer-focused companies, and Collective Bias has a record of delivering impressive results for its customers,” Jon Seeber of Updata Partners said in the statement.

James Socas, a general partner at Updata Partners, said Collective Bias has created the combination of shopper marketing expertise and brand and retail experience that will allow them to grow in the “new era of marketing.”

The financing process was facilitated by Gridley & Company, a New York-based investment bank that provides financial advisory services to companies in the digital and information services industries.