Today CrowdRiff, an AI-powered visual content marketing platform for travel brands, announced it has raised a $9 million USD Series A funding round led by Leaders Fund, a Toronto and Atlanta based venture capital firm that primarily invests in enterprise SaaS platforms. High Alpha Capital, Gibraltar & Company, and BDC Capital also participated in the round. CrowdRiff will use the investment to expand its customer base globally and develop new products that intelligently deliver high-performing visual content at the right time and place to influence travel decisions.
“Visuals are the language of modern-day travelers,” said Dan Holowack, CEO and co-founder of CrowdRiff. “Around the world, it’s visual content that most heavily influences where people choose to travel and how they spend their money while abroad. We’re thrilled to accelerate our innovation and expansion in the travel sector and further enable travel brands and their agencies to effectively use visuals to attract and engage people throughout the travel buyer journey.”
Since raising $2 million USD in seed funding in 2016, CrowdRiff has more than tripled its revenue and grown its customer base to over 500 travel and tourism brands in 24 countries. During this time, the company has also expanded its platform with the launch of several new service offerings, most notably Media Hub, a digital asset manager that enables CrowdRiff customers to discover, store, share, and collaborate on their visual content — user-generated and professional — using one central platform.
“We are super impressed with Dan and Abhi’s vision for the travel industry,” said Gideon Hayden, co-founder and Partner at Leaders Fund. “In a short period of time, CrowdRiff-sourced content is reaching millions of travelers every month who are at the beginning of their trip discovery process, and is resulting in a significant uplift in travel bookings for its customers. The team has a relentless focus on customer satisfaction and enabling travel brands to tell their stories in a vastly more compelling way. We are excited to support them on this journey.”
Travel is one of the world’s fastest-growing industries — in 2017, it accounted for $1.6 trillion USD in spending and over 10 per cent of the global GDP. Visuals, and user-generated content in particular, are shown to significantly increase ad conversions in the industry in part because, according to a study from Elon University, 66 per cent of consumers rely heavily on user-generated visual content when making purchasing decisions. Internal CrowdRiff studies echo this finding and show that visuals acquired using its platform result in a 300 per cent increase in ad conversions.
“We are fortunate to have been an early adopter of the CrowdRiff platform, which has become a complete visual asset management system for our organization,” said Jeff Robinson, Director of Marketing at Visit Indy. “This year, user-generated content acquired via CrowdRiff powered our ad campaigns, enabling us to share the story of Indianapolis through the eyes of our visitors. We are extremely proud to partner with the CrowdRiff team as they continue to develop new, innovative solutions for Visit Indy.”
CrowdRiff, which to date has processed over 500 million images, also recently became one of the first travel-focused Creative Platform Partners to join the Instagram Partner Program, and announced the addition of former Facebook growth lead, Joelle Maslaton, to its Board of Directors.
To learn more about CrowdRiff’s visual marketing platform, visit: crowdriff.com.