- Linktree, the Australian startup that helps connect consumers to creator output, announced US$45 million in funding and is expanding globally, investing in social commerce, payments and engagement.
- Founded in 2016, the platform simplifies the complexities of the internet by enabling users to promote all of their platforms and work in one place.
- Co-founder and CEO Alex Zaccaria told Business Insider Australia he wants the platform to give everyone from companies to creators online “complete agency over your identity, complete agency over your privacy.”
- Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.
In an earlier internet era, influencers tended to blow up on a single platform – gamers on Youtube, fashion tastemakers on Instagram, and political pundits on Facebook.
Now the people who make their money from attention tend to think bigger:
They’re brands whose reach transcends platforms — and a tool which has enabled this shift is Australian startup Linktree, which today announced a US$45 million Series B raise powered by VCs Index Ventures, an investor in Patreon and Discord, and TikTok investor Coatue
The announcement follows an initial US$10.7 million funding round announced in October 2020.
Where companies once posted cumbersome hyperlinks in the profile section of social platforms, Linktree streamlined this process with a virtual menu for users to access content that enables brands, artists, publishers, creators and businesses to curate their own online universe.
Today most influencers — or indeed anyone with a social following – won’t miss an opportunity to reach audiences across multiple platforms. It’s not unusual for an influencer marketing themselves for work to boast of followings that tally up eyeballs from all corners of the internet.
For example Peach PRC, one of Australia’s most-followed TikTok personalities lists YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and an array of streaming and music platforms (she recently released a single and music video) including Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, Amazon and Pandora on her Linktree.
The company has more than 12 million global users, from industry giants like Shopify, Facebook and HBO, to content creators and small businesses, and it says around 30,000 people sign up every day.
Traffic is evenly dispersed across multiple social platforms, along with direct search, QR codes and email signatures, co-founder and CEO Alex Zaccaria told Business Insider Australia.
The company utilises a freemium business model, with the majority of the customer base paying nothing. For those who want more from Linktree, a $6 monthly subscription provides users with analytics and targeted marketing tools.
Since its Series A round in October 2020, it has introduced new features including video links and streaming embeds that allow users to further expand the platforms they can include on their Linktree platforms.
As social platforms evolved, creators didn’t have agency or control over their digital presence, Zaccaria said. Linktree wanted to let companies and creators bring their audience onto one simple page to take action – whether that was conversion, filling out a form, or getting an email address.
And as social platforms multiply, there’s no longer a need for companies to always have big, immersive websites. Linktree streamlines what people already do: click from posts to web pages to other social platforms and back.
Simplifying identity on the internet
Those in marketing in the early 2020s were the first to see the opportunities to monetise across emerging social platforms, and Linktree founders, brothers Alex and Anthony Zaccaria and their friend Nick Humphreys, were among them.
They founded Linktree in 2016 while working at an advertising agency they also co-founded, where it became obvious that what companies, brands and creators needed was the ability to connect up their social presence in one place,
Simple as that may sound, it’s an elegant fix that has streamlined publishers and brands ability to direct users around their ecosystems of content.
“We see Linktree as being a really important part of how publishers and small businesses and creators reach their audiences, because there is really a need to unify your audiences from absolutely everywhere they live into one place,” Zaccaria said.
The average internet user in the US has 8.9 social media accounts, he said, up from less than six a few years ago.
“We are seeing this explosion in fragmentation, so unification is really important.”
It’s why Linktree sees itself as what Zaccaria calls the “social identity layer” of the internet. “It really is a representation of yourself and what you want your users to do,” he said.
“If you search for Selena Gomez, for example, you’re gonna find her weight and height, but you’re not going to find out what’s important to her. Whereas if you go to her Linktree you can see a curated list of links … of what’s most important to her right now.”
“It’s not what an algorithm wants you to know about you, it’s about what you want your audience to know about you,” he added.
It’s harnessing what he says the internet is moving towards, which is “complete agency over your identity, complete agency over your privacy.”
Social commerce is key focus
Zaccaria said building out Linktree’s social commerce capabilities is a top priority moving forward, reducing “the space between the click and the conversion,” and naming new features that let Linktree users monetise and engage with followers through the platform.
The company rolled out a ‘support me’ e-commerce link that enables users to get support from their visitors, receive payments directly through the platform in a process akin to digital subscription service Patreon, as well a link that lets creators receive requests from their followers.
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