Modash, an Estonia-headquartered influencer marketing software startup, is today announcing a $2 million seed raise.
In December Modash will be three years old. The Canadian CEO, Avery Schrader, arrived in Estonia on a special startup visa, before joining fellow co-founder Hendry Sadrak (CTO) at Modash at the end of 2019.
Some of Estonia's best talent has headed west, notably the Estonian founders of the currency exchange, payments and cross-border bank Wise, which started in London and also listed there .
But Modash sources say there's no plans to take their business away from Tallinn; it seems Schrader is happy where he is.
And it's easy to see why with Estonia being advantaged by Europe-leading digital infrastructures, going right back to the software development of IP telephone call pioneer Skype in 2003. (Estonian tech-o-philes will also tell you online polling stations have featured in elections, for the past seventeen years.)
With its APIs, Modash is pitching itself as the "creator partnerships platform" for brands who want to strike up to an immediate scale with influencer-led creator marketing strategies.
The likes of Wolt, Bolt and Perch have been identified as clients, brought in by Modash's API-driven directory of influencers from across the world, with aggregated performance and audience data.
"If they're on this planet, you'll find them in Modash," the company claims, and it seems there's been little trouble convincing VCs that is the case."
Following on from its pre-seed $200,000 raise on launch in 2019, which Modash says mainly came from Icebreaker.vc, the startup has secured a near-10x round-to-round funding multiple for its second raise.
Change Ventures, a pan-Baltic seed fund and backer of Tallinn-based identity checking service Veriff, led the seed round, with Icebreak.vc returning from last out. Angel investors also participated; Tomas Slimas (former marketing director at Shopify,) Kristjan Vilosius (CEO of Katana MRP), and Akim Arhipov (founding CEO of Basis-ID.)
Rait Ojasaar, partner at Change Ventures, said: "We think of Modash as the linchpin between brands, creators, and soon broader society.
"Sure, the first goal is to help brands find and partner with creators, but this is a complex flywheel that we have yet to see anyone approach the way Modash is.
Given the social media ads storm, Modash believes it can tap into the space for brands who "need new places to share their stories with consumers."
With its free trial, potential clients simply enter an Insta tag to see a key influencer's performance metrics, and will also receive data on any fake Instagram followers.
Once on-boarded to the paid-for API, customers can track down influencers based on the interests listed on their Instagram profile, and find profiles in specific target markets or languages. Creators, too, benefit through the use of APIs that integrate with their existing influencer campaigning tools.
According to Schrader, this paves the way for brands to tap the "subcultures" built and supported by social media's content creators.
"They allow free thought in ways that aren't possible for traditional, monolithic media organisations," Schrader says. "The more novel ideas are shared by individuals, the more effectively we learn, make decisions, and avoid evil as a society. Independent creators' ability to thrive is the antidote to centralized ideas."