For those of you not up on your marketing lingo, referral marketing basically involves encouraging customers to promote your product to their friends and family, then rewarding them when their referrals pay off. For example, Olark used Ambassador to create a program where you can receive 25 percent of the lifetime revenue for each customer you refer.
Competitors include Friendbuy and Extole, although Ambassador CEO Jeff Epstein said many customers were previously just using spreadsheets to track the success of their campaigns. Or they were like Olark, which used an in-house referral management system before switching over.
Ambassador offers the ability to create a campaign in a few minutes, take advantage of pre-built widgets and integrate with other products like Salesforce.com and MailChimp. The ultimate goal, Epstein said, is to build “a complete software suite around the post-conversion funnel” — in other words, to manage customer interactions.
“What we’re tackling is consolidating all of those point solutions,” he said. “Not just referrals, references, feedback or Net Promoter Score, but a holistic approach … to everything that a customer or advocate can do to help drive conversions or feedback for your company.”
The Series A (also disclosed in a regulatory filing) was led by Arthur Ventures, with additional investment from Zelkova Ventures, Ludlow Ventures, Social Starts and Matchstick Ventures. Epstein said the money will help the team expand from 23 to 75 employees in the next year.
Ambassador was originally called Zferral and it was part of TechStars NY, but it’s now based in Detroit. In fact, it just moved into a new 7,000 square foot Detroit office, which you can see in the photo at the top of this post.