Featured Startup Pitch: Sverve connects bloggers with brands to increase readership, visibility and revenue

By Editor February 5, 2013

Sverve_logoCompany: Sverve

Website: www.sverve.com

Founders: Rohit Vashisht and Vikas Gupta

Headquarters: Edison, New Jersey

Year Founded: 2012

Twitter: @mysverve

LinkedIn: us.linkedin.com/company/sverve

Facebook: www.facebook.com/mysverve

Blog: www.sverve.com/blog/

Brief Company Description: Sverve connects women bloggers with the right brands for paid opportunities and new readers for sustainable growth.

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Sverve foundersBy Rohit Vashisht, co-founder and CEO

Product Overview

Sverve connects brands and women bloggers to get the best value for their investment and skills, respectively. With 20 million women bloggers in the U.S. alone and only the top 100 known, there is no way for brands to find the right bloggers for their social media campaigns. Moreover, bloggers have had limited avenues to connect with brands.

Sverve has built a deep and accurate categorization of women bloggers. On Sverve, bloggers describe their blogs, add up to five areas of influence, and provide statistics for reach and conversion. In addition, bloggers connect with their peers for new readership and receive peer endorsement on their areas of influence to establish themselves as authorities on their topics.

Brands, in turn, can find the right blogger based on their target segment, demographic and location. Sverve provides end-to-end campaign management tools to brands for communicating with bloggers, tracking metrics and reporting on campaigns. Therefore, brands not only get access to thousands of bloggers along with the estimate of their reach and areas of influence, but they also find an easy way to work with influencers on their social media marketing campaigns.

Founders’ Story

Vikas and I are the founders of Sverve. We have founded five startups between us before starting Sverve. We bring years of experience in Internet business, technology and product management to the table. We worked with mom bloggers for more than a year and first-hand learned the challenges faced by both bloggers and brands for discovery, communication and execution of social media campaigns. After conversations with hundreds of bloggers, we learned that they were either wrongly pitched to by brands or never even pitched to at all. Similarly, brands lacked mechanisms to find the right influencers for their campaigns and had no transparency on bloggers’ true outreach. It led us to launch Sverve in 2012 and, ever since, we are seeing great traction on the service.

Marketing/Promotion Strategy

Sverve connects brands and women bloggers; therefore, our marketing strategy is geared towards both of them. For bloggers, we rely mostly on referrals and a viral model. Our service has grown to 2,000-plus bloggers and most of them joined us by word-of-mouth from their peers. In addition, we are advertising on blogger networks and participating in blogger conferences.

We currently target young/new brands and online businesses looking to get the most from their campaigns. We are honing our inbound marketing to acquire brands and working on traditional sales channels to reach out to more companies.

In addition, we recognize the challenges bloggers and brands face as they look to grow their blogs and build their brands. We utilize educational tools, such as webinars and white papers, to help provide bloggers with methods to grow their blogs and brands insights into the benefits of marketing via a blogger market.

Market Opportunity

A $3.4 billion market growing at 35 percent CAGR, social media marketing is a rapidly increasing communication medium for companies as they look to connect one-on-one with their customers via channels such as blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. It presents Sverve a great opportunity to organize the blogger market and bring companies much needed transparency.

There are 20 million women bloggers in the U.S. alone and according to one study, 93 percent of women bloggers are eager to partner with brands, but almost 60 percent have never been presented with an appropriate opportunity. Sverve aims to solve this problem by providing brands a simple and transparent way to tap into the difficult-to-target women bloggers market; enabling all companies, PR firms and media outlets the ability to find the right influencer to get best ROI on their marketing spend.

How We Stand Apart from Competitors

Sverve’s competitors may include influencer marketing services, influence measurement services and job sites. While most influencer marketing services work on agency models and target large brands, Sverve focuses on small and mid-size brands and niche bloggers. Sverve sets itself apart by providing a self-service platform that simplifies social media campaigns by providing a deep and accurate classification of influencers, targeted match-making between brands and influencers, and end-to-end campaign management resources for brands.

Sverve’s unique qualities derive from a goal for transparency. Sverve aims to be an open platform where brands can browse, select and work with influencers directly. In addition, Sverve provides brands the tools to create, manage, and track campaigns to make informed and quick decisions. Sverve’s user-curated categorization of influencers backed by their peer endorsement provides a more accurate measure of their influence which, in turn, allows brands to better match their marketing spend.

Business Model

Sverve brings paid opportunities to bloggers and provides the best ROI on social media campaigns to brands. We have three strong revenue streams for the value we deliver to bloggers and brands. Brands can start a campaign for as little as $50 per month and may also purchase additional packages to gain access to tracking and reporting tools. All bloggers may purchase Blog Certifications for a flat fee of $25 every six months. These certifications will verify a blogger’s statistics such as unique visitors, page views, etc. and will show up on a blogger’s Sverve profile. Many brands have shown a keen interest in isolating certified bloggers for their campaigns. Going forward, we plan to offer premium accounts to bloggers to get first access to campaigns, one free blog certification, and more visibility on the platform.

Current Needs

Our service is growing rapidly and we are looking for a star developer with passion for technology and willingness to work in a dynamic environment. We are also looking for a creative marketing person to help us grow awareness about Sverve. We received initial funding last year and are in the middle of closing another round.

Sverve – www.sverve.com