BGF has invested $11 million in Genflow, a London & LA based Influencer brand building agency with a unique ecommerce and mobile tech platform, to support its global expansion plans.
Genflow was set up in 2016 by entrepreneur Shan Hanif to help social media influencers develop their brands and drive revenue streams from their audiences.
The company’s Brand-as-a-Service (BAAS) platform, which helps influencers develop their own digital and physical products instead of promoting other brands, allows them to launch their own membership club, gated community, mobile app or direct to consumer brand. Genflow offers the complete infrastructure from design, development, manufacturing and logistics through to strategy, marketing and content creation to drive revenue and profit.
Genflow has a client base of established influencers who typically have large followings on Instagram and Youtube. Tapping into Gen Z consumer buying habits, which sees a growing number of younger consumers looking to buy from ‘people’ rather than corporate brands, the platform helps influencers develop scalable revenue streams that are not dependent on traditional brand endorsement deals.
The company has also recently launched Genlytics to predict and analyse how much an influencer can sell by analysing an influencer’s data.
Genflow has enjoyed exponential growth over the last four years, helping young influencers achieve $1M+ in profit and their brands becoming household names. The business is based in London and LA and, with the new funding, it will expand into Miami, New York and Hong Kong.
Other players in the influencer brand building market include Raenna, an Indonesian startup which raised a $1.82 million seed round in 2019; and Chinese business, Ruhnn, which raised $125 million after it listed on the Nasdaq. Both companies have built up huge profiles in Asia and Genflow is looking to replicate their growth trajectories in the US and Europe.
Shan Hanif, CEO of Genflow, said: “Getting people’s attention and attracting customers remains the biggest challenge and cost for any brand. Our platform helps to provide a seamless and direct interaction between influencers and their audiences, in a highly scalable way.
“We’re excited to be partnering with BGF on this next phase of our growth journey. Their market knowledge, reputation, and network made them the clear partner to help scale our business. As a result of this funding will be able to grow our existing brands, launch a wider variety of products and push on with our global expansion plans.”
The deal was led for BGF by Daina Spedding and Chris Jones.
Daina Spedding said: “We’re delighted to be investing in a rapidly growing full-service agency and tech platform which helps influencers build market leading brands and fast track revenue from their online communities. Led by an exceptional founder in Shan Hanif, we’re looking forward to helping the business realise its ambitious expansion plans. Genflow has demonstrated a strong track record of year-on-year growth and has created an exciting new business model that is disrupting the traditional social media advertising market.”
Following the investment, Genflow has also announced the appointment of digital and social tech veteran Chris Underhill to its board. With more than 20 years’ experience working with PE-backed IT software and services companies, Chris Underhill brings with him significant UK and international growth experience as a previous tech founder and more recently, as chair of several digital marketing, advertising and social tech businesses.
Chris Underhill commented: “I’m delighted to be joining Genflow at such an exciting stage of its growth. Shan and his team have redefined how influencers, celebrities and athletes across different industries can build brands and create highly scalable businesses they own. Its class leading BAAS solution is revolutionising how entrepreneurs can authentically engage their audiences at scale, leading the next generation of social commerce.”