Frontify, the Swiss startup that’s built a “brand management platform,” has raised a chunky $8.3 million in Series A funding. Leading the round is Blossom Capital, the new London-based venture capital firm co-founded by ex-Index and LocalGlobe VC Ophelia Brown. Frontify’s previous seed investors include Doodle co-founder Myke Naef, former Googler Thomas Duebendorfer, and Cédric Waldburger of Tenderloin Ventures.
Founded in 2013 by CTO Roger Dudler — and headquartered in the Swiss city St. Gallen, no less — Frontify is a Software-as-a-Service that helps companies manage their branding in a more consistent and efficient way. The SaaS provides employees across an organisation access to an “always up-to-date” brand portal, media library, pattern library and style guides. It is targeted mostly at marketing and branding teams, but is also cleverly built to include designers and software engineers, so that all the respective people in a company can collaborate internally and externally on branded content.
The premise, as articulated by Blossom Capital’s Brown, is that in an age of social media and a plethora of content channels, it is more important than ever for companies to cultivate and protect their brand. Better brand consistency helps to build trust and long-term value, which helps companies stay competitive without having to join a race to the bottom, particularly in terms of how they position themselves against competitors and with regards to pricing. In other words, premium pricing can only be achieved with a premium brand, in addition to providing high quality products and service, of course.
“In today’s fast-paced world, sending static PDF brand guidelines by email, or using a DAM [digital asset manager], is not enough to uphold brand consistency across all communication channels,” Frontify CEO Andreas Fischler tells me, when asked to explain the problem. “With Frontify, we aim to create a brand management platform which enables everyone in a company to create beautiful and brand-consistent content”.
To that end, the Frontify platform includes five main features: The ability to create a “Style Guide” (online brand guidelines); a “UI Pattern Library” (a pattern library for front end code/design systems); “Digital Asset Management” (a place to store all of a brand’s digital assets, such as logo etc.); a “Workspace” (for digital brand collaboration), and “Publishing” (a way for employees to create ‘on-brand’ content based on templates, all within a web browser).
“With Frontify, all brand touch-points can be aligned, allowing companies to communicate and operate with more brand consistency,” adds Fischler. “This leads to a stronger brand, which allows companies to raise prices, get better margins, attract the very best employees, and spread through word of mouth -– fuelling company growth”.
To that end, Fischler says the new Series A will be used to further build out the Frontify suite of products, and to expand to the U.S., including opening an office in New York (you can only get so far from St. Gallen). The startup’s biggest markets so far are the U.S., U.K., Germany, and Switzerland. In addition to the U.S., it also plans to expand into Benelux, Northern Europe, Latin America, Spain, and France.
Frontify already claims “several hundred enterprise customers”. They include Lufthansa, IBM, Allianz, Vodafone, and Deliveroo. The Swiss startup is also partnering with some of the leading agencies worldwide, including Interbrand, Sapient, Bold, and Praekelt.
Meanwhile, regarding competitors, Fischler had this to say: “Most of our competitors have their roots in Digital Asset Management and still focus on this topic. We are convinced that using a DAM is just a small part of creating consistent brand experiences for all touch-points. Brand management is more significant than that. We believe in providing everyone throughout an organisation with the ability to create brand-consistent content in everyday work. No matter which department you work in. We aim to provide entire brand worlds at the tips of every employees’ fingers; a complete brand management solution. For every company size”.