Props, the first marketing platform that connects brands with authentic content creators, has launched after reaching its goal of raising $5.5 million in capital. Jump Ventures and Hari Ravichandran is a major investor, and the team is providing both monetary and practical support as the new platform grows.
Props uses AI technology to help brands find content creators that share their values and are passionate about their products. They believe that this will be more effective for brands than hiring traditional content creation agencies or influencers, as the content (whether it be photographs, writing, videos or any other content) will be created by someone who is passionate about the topic.
The platform uses IBM Watson to help brands to find appropriate content creators who are genuine experts in their fields. The creators are not simply “influencers” and must have a track record of creating high quality, engaging content as well as being genuinely well informed about their chosen topics. They also need to have a fanbase that trusts their recommendations and advice.
By connecting brands with storytellers who have a genuine interest in and passion for their industry and area Props helps brands and companies to get access to their target market – and to gain access through a good review from a trusted expert. The AI technology essentially matches brands with creators based on shared values and interests, which will make recommendations and promotions more authentic.
Props president and CEO Joseph Perello believes that his platform will allow for more respect in marketing and promotions. Because the promoters are already passionate about the area that companies are asking them to endorse products in, they will be able to tell an authentic story around their experience and start a conversation about the brand with their followers.
The followers of the creators are also people who will be interested in the brand and its product line. If someone follows a photo blogger who shares photography tips, for example, they will be likely to place a fair bit of weight on endorsements for camera products from that blogger. Props would help the blogger and camera brand in this situation by connecting them.
Hari and Jump Ventures are helping Props to grow, and they expect the platform to be a big success. Jump Ventures is a holding company that provides financial and practical assistance to disruptive tech start-ups and leverages the extensive expertise of their team to help these start-ups to scale their operations and set themselves up for substantial growth.
A number of the Jump team members worked with Hari at Endurance, a tech company he founded in 1997 and was the CEO of for 20 years as it grew from a small team to a global corporation with 3,500 employees. Hari left to found a holding company in order to leverage his experience and expertise to help other disruptors and innovators to grow.
Jump has added their investment (and assistance) in Props to an expanding portfolio of innovative businesses. Their knowledge is hugely valuable for all of the companies they invest in and share their experience with – as is the initial capital they can provide!
A number of high-profile businesspeople and holding companies have also invested in Props. Apart from Hari and Jump Ventures, Paul Speaker (who is the former CEO and co-owner of the World Surf League), Rachel Lightfoot Melby (who worked at Google and YouTube and has founded her own companies) and Axispoint (a technology firm) have also made significant investments.
The founder of Axispoint, Scott Powell, is in fact the Head of Development at Props, while Rachel Lightfoot Melby is on the advisory board (along with Jump Ventures Chief Communications Officer Lark-Marie Anton). There is a lot of expertise available for the new platform to call on, and numerous experienced people from the world of tech start-ups are investing.
In fact, the head of AI at Props (Oliver Blodgett) was an executive at IBM Watson – the AI that powers Props. His experience with AI and Watson in particular will prove hugely valuable for the new agency and will also help both brands and creators to get as much as they can out of the AI. From the technical knowledge side through to the challenges of growing a business, Props looks to have all of the necessary tools to succeed.