Zefr Raises $30M, Pushes Social, Video Brand Connections

For brands and publishers, managing their video assets across social media channels has never been tougher -- a fact that bodes well for some enterprising software start-ups.
 
In particular, Zefr claims to have increased revenue by 100% for three consecutive years with the help of clients like Adidas, Hasbro Studios, "Saturday Night Live" and Real Madrid. Setting itself apart from other software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions, Zefr specializes in content that brands and fans upload to YouTube.

Now, hoping to secure its already strong position at the intersection of social and video, Zefr just took $30 million in funding from Institutional Venture Partners, along with existing investors like U.S. Venture Partners, Shasta Ventures, First Round Capital and Richmond Park Partners.
 
“We have momentum,” said Zach James, co-founder of Zefr. “With the new capital, we are going to add fuel to the fire.” Agency partners like Wieden+Kennedy and the Starcom Media Group use Zefr’s BrandID service to identify brands’ fan-uploaded content -- as well as competitor content -- and connect brands with receptive audiences.
 
Zefr also manages and monetizes professional rights for top studios and labels like Warner Bros., Sony Music, Universal Pictures, Paramount, Lionsgate, MGM and The Weinstein Co. (Named Movieclips at the time, rights management was actually Zefr’s original business model when it launched in 2009.)
 
Like digital video, the social-marketing business has never been bigger. This year, advertisers are expected to pump nearly $12 billion into social networks around the world, according to eMarketer. That’s 25% more than marketers spent on social last year.
 
But, while Facebook and Twitter are widely considered to be the kings of social, YouTube is arguably a more valuable social channel for brands and publishers -- particularly among younger users.
 
In fact, nearly 75% of U.S. teens say they use YouTube “frequently,” according to a recent survey from The Intelligence Group -- far more than the 60% who claim to “frequently” use Facebook.
 
To date, Zefr has now raised about $53 million from investors.

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