Kenyan Startup AIfluence Raises $1M to Make Sense of Influencer Marketing

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Influencer marketing is a big and growing business. Globally it’s estimated to be worth around US$7.7 billion. But tracking the performance of an influencer campaign has historically been as simple as nailing jelly to a wall.

A Kenyan-based startup has just raised a $1 million seed round (cue Dr. Evil) to solve this very problem. AIfluence was launched in April 2020. The company cracks this nut by, in its words, “leveraging advanced Machine Learning algorithms, the platform can precisely match influencers with a target demographic through its audience-first strategy.”

The company is led by co-founder and CEO Nelson Aseka, who is an entrepreneur in residence at Antler, which is one of the investors in the seed round. The round was led by Dubai-based EQ2 Ventures.

There are a few interesting things about EQ2’s participation. The UAE market is a major hub for influencers and has an active community of influencer marketing agencies like Brand Ripplr. So we wouldn’t be shocked if a move into the U.A.E. isn’t in the cards for AIfluence, particularly if its solution is as groundbreaking as advertised.

Second, EQ2 is also an investor in ArabyAds, a performance marketing agency based in Dubai. ArabyAds is also one of the seed-round investors. Is there a vision there of an intersection between performance-based advertising and influencer marketing in the UAE?

Here is Aseka’s obligatory funding press release quote.

“We are at the cusp of a revolution, the way marketing works globally is changing. We find ourselves at an intersection of advanced technology and the fastest-growing region in the world in terms of digital and social media penetration. It’s an exciting place to be. Our guiding philosophy is that influence is not a profession, it’s an outcome.”

We are not giant fans of canned quotes. But we do like the last line. Influencer marketing involves so much sizzle that it’s important that someone out there tries to measure the steak.

This article is reprinted from the Africa SMME Tech Report. Please subscribe for free on Substack for weekly news, insights, podcasts and much more. 

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