Wove raises $9M to help companies form strategic marketing partnerships

After rebranding earlier this year and scrapping pretty much their whole mobile ads business, Wove, formerly known as TapFwd, has a fresh plan to disrupt the marketing industry.

Co-founders Eddie Siegel and Alex Wasserman have built what they call a brand collaboration network, a new way for companies to form marketing partnerships with similar brands. They say sourcing and closing a deal with another company on Wove is as easy as sending a Facebook friend request.

“Marketers don’t want to sell data with each other and they don’t want to share data with each other,” Siegel told TechCrunch. “They want to grow their core business and leverage their data assets without having to share it with another company, and they need a third-party network to form these partnerships.”

With the launch of their latest product comes new money: Wove has raised $9 million in a round led by August Capital, with participation from new investors Origin Ventures, Walmart’s SVP of U.S. e-commerce Anthony Soohoo, Canaan Partners general partner Deepak Kamra and existing investors Partech Partners, AngelPad and Tekton Ventures. Partech previously led TapFwd’s $3 million seed round.

To develop a marketing partnership with Wove, a company has to sign up and pay an annual fee. Once you have an account, Wove will make recommendations of companies — other Wove users — to work with based on their market and/or customer demographic. When a pair of companies express mutual interest, Wove handles the execution and measures the effectiveness of the partnership with its suite of digital tools built into the platform.

Here’s an example of a hypothetical partnership born out of Wove: A dog-walking startup like Wag logs onto Wove and is matched with Ollie, a dog food startup. The pair agree to set up a short-term promotion, providing discounts to Ollie customers if they set up a Wag account and vice versa. Wove then negotiates the terms of the partnership, develops the promotional materials and ultimately determines how well that partnership bolstered the businesses. 

The idea for this marketing matchmaking service came, Siegel says, from TapFwd’s customers.

“We got here because our customers pulled us over here,” Siegel said. “This originally grew as a pretty organic side project and now we are catching up to the customer demand. We have a lot more demand than we can service.”

With the $9 million investment, the San Francisco-based startup, which counts HotelTonight, Turo and Winc as customers, plans to scale its engineering team.

August Capital’s Howard Hartenbaum has joined the startup’s board of directors as part of the round.