ZEFR is a startup that builds social marketing and rights management software for online videos. ZEFR’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions are used by many of the largest brands and content owners on YouTube. ZEFR has announced today that it has raised $30 million in funding led by Institutional Venture Partners (IVP) with participation from existing investors U.S. Venture Partners, Shasta Ventures, First Round Capital and Richmond Park Partners.
ZEFR’s BrandID service connects fan and franchises and helps brands manage and monetize their fans. Agencies like Wieden and Kennedy and Starcom Media Group use BrandID to identify a brand’s fan-uploaded content and connects them with the people that care about it. The BrandID service has a dashboard with brand alerts, insights and analytics. Data on the dashboard include the numbers of videos, channels and views that are associated with user-generated videos mentioning brands and products. BrandID also has a competitive analysis tool that shows how a product compares against a rival’s videos. If a new video is created of the product or brand, then an alert can be sent. Michael Holz, an interactive strategy director at Widen and Kennedy, said that his company has plans to use ZEFR to increase dialog with commenters to “build a stronger presence between campaigns.”
Another company that works with ZEFR to identify and connect with fans is Adidas. In an interview with FORBES, ZEFR co-founder Richard Rappon said that many Adidas fans like to post videos of themselves taking their brand new shoes out of the box. These types of videos are known as unboxing. Adidas can get information on fans that are unboxing and target ads through those users.
Launched in 2009, ZEFR initially worked with movie studios to upload and monetize older content under the name Movieclips. Rappon told me that fans of those movies were uploading the same content as the licensed clips and generated millions of hits. “Instead of playing whack-a-mole, we decided that our movie clients should find ways to monetize from this content as well,” said Rappon. The company grew out of serving the movie industry exclusively, which is why Movieclips rebranded to ZEFR.
“Around 100 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every 60 seconds, which is staggering,” added Rappon. “There is a ton of conversation happening around brands and we have found that you can connect with people on a deeper level.”
ZEFR is going to use the funding for hiring additional talent and accelerating software development, including plans to double the size of their engineering team.