The all-in-one SaaS marketing platform SOCi announced today that it has raised an $80 million D Round. This comes exactly one year after announcing a $15 million round. Last year’s round was positioned as focusing on building out SOCi’s localized marketing platform. The new round appears to be all about supporting growth.
“Demand for a centralized multi-location marketing tool has skyrocketed as more businesses have finally caught on to the importance of a localized strategy. We’re excited for the year to come, and this investment will help SOCi further scale to meet this demand by growing our sales, marketing, and customer success teams, increasing our focus on R&D and new products and eyeing strategic M&A opportunities,” SOCi CEO and co-founder Afif Khoury told Localogy Insider yesterday.
Khoury is betting his own money on SOCi’s future by participating in the round. Also chipping in personal funds is SOCi board member Doug Winter, Co-founder and CEO of Seismic. Growth equity firm JMI Equity is leading the round. Also joining in the round is Ankona Capital, which is an existing SOCi investor.
This round’s lead investor said the current tough business environment creates opportunities for localized marketing platforms.
“All signs point to an equally difficult first few months of this year for restaurants and other businesses dependent on their communities,” added Suken Vakil, General Partner at JMI Equity. “This means there will be a continued need for localized marketing campaigns that align with national brand values but also provide for community-specific messaging. SOCi’s multi-location functionality positions it as a market leader that currently stands far beyond its competitors as the must-have platform solution for multi-location franchises/brands.”
Brands Struggle with Localization
SOCi, founded in 2012, exists to solve a key problem for multiplication brands. It’s difficult to communicate authentically across dozens, let alone hundreds or thousands of locations. In fact, this is one area where large brands are at a disadvantage vs. small, independent businesses. SOCi has consistently created data-driven content demonstrating how true localized marketing efforts drive better business results.
Dramatic changes during the pandemic in how multilocation businesses operate — from changes in operating hours to new service offerings to new payment option — requires effective communication at the individual location level. This can make a huge difference in which business a consumer chooses to patronize.
Currently, more than 350 national and global enterprises use SOCi to handle their localized marketing. These include Ace Hardware, Anytime Fitness, The Hertz Corporation, Nekter Juice Bar, and others. These 350+ brands use SOCi to manage local search, social, reviews, and ad campaigns for more than 100,000 individual business locations.
Last year, SOCi added more than 100 new customers and nearly 30,000 additional business locations to its platform. Not bad for a pandemic year.
We will follow with interest how SOCi deploys its fresh capital to scale. We will be particularly interested in seeing which, if any, companies SOCi acquires in 2021. Will the company buy a complementary business or two to expand its feature set? Or will it go right at a direct competitor in a consolidation play? There is no shortage of social media platforms that SOCi could buy to clear the field and accelerate its growth. We will find out soon enough which path SOCi chooses.