A place now exists on the social web where businesses and social media influencers can promote their products and services in a native ads marketplace. Sverve offers affordable and comprehensive services for businesses and social media influencers. It works like this: social media influencers provide information about their blogs and connect with their peers by sharing content. Peers can also endorse each other to build their profiles. Sverve automatically aggregates their information and ranks influencers based on their endorsements.
Sverve, which is a member of the Rackspace Startup Program, began as HashTip, a social commerce app where mothers could share their tips on kids’ products and activities, which would bring credibility to tips and make buying decisions easy for users. The HashTip team worked with dozens of mom bloggers to spread awareness for the app. They learned that online word of mouth marketing was highly effective but almost impossible to execute due to the fragmented and opaque influencer market. The team decided to solve this problem, and pivoted to create Sverve late last year.
“We just finished the 500 Startups Accelerator program in California (where Sverve was introduced to the Rackspace Startup Program) and moved into our new office in NYC,” explains Rohit Vashisht, co-founder and CEO at Sverve, “The team is focused on scaling the business and further building out our product. We are launching exciting new products like sponsored social shares, payments and a feedback mechanism. We are also seeing huge interest from investors and are working on closing our next investment round. As our business grows, we are looking for accomplished members to join our team.”
Connecting social media influencers and businesses for win-win partnerships is paramount within the core fabric of the Sverve business model.
“That’s why we created Sverve,” Vashisht explains. “Being on both sides of the table, we know how important – and challenging – it is for growing businesses and niche influencers to find each other. Finding and working with the right partner can lead to countless valuable collaboration. Our team’s mission is to bring transparency to the industry, help talented content creators come out of the shadows and into the influencer spotlight, and make it easy and affordable for businesses to find and work with them.”
Vashisht speaks with passion about the highly motivated team that built Sverve. It’s a lot like online word-of-mouth marketing.
“We are a passionate team that is highly motivated to bring online word-of-mouth marketing to all businesses,” he says. “We faced this problem ourselves and took on the challenge to solve it. Our team comprises individuals who are experts in the different components of our platform: business, technology, brand marketing and blogging/social media. We have paired 450-plus businesses with 6,500-plus social media influencers in the last six months, and every campaign fuels our passion and motivates us to scale new heights.”
Today, businesses are building their online presence at a rapid pace and need visibility to reach their users. On the other hand, influencers are claiming their presence on the Internet as trusted sources driving consumers’ purchasing decisions. The Sverve team understood that these two forces could be very powerful if combined, but it was nearly impossible for them to find one another. Sverve’s offering is an intelligently designed solution bringing thousands of influencers together with hundreds of online businesses on one site, who can work and grow together.
“We are growing quickly and working hard to further accelerate the pace,” says Vashisht. “We are aiming to establish ourselves as the go-to place for native ads by end of 2013. Every month 100-plus new businesses and 1,000-plus new influencers are joining Sverve. We are looking to grow these numbers by a magnitude in the next two quarters. We are excited about 2013 and are looking to close this year on a high!”
And in order to scale the startup’s infrastructure for that growth, Sverve chose Rackspace as its cloud host.
“We are a strong technology team with deep expertise in software development. We started out by hosting with a competitor of Rackspace,” Vashisht notes. “Since we lacked the infrastructure expertise on our team, we quickly realized that we needed stellar support along with a reliable infrastructure. It became clear the day our server had died for no apparent reason and our hosting service provider refused to help us via phone. Searching community forums and email support don’t work when your service is down and users are clamoring.
“It was then that we decided to switch to Rackspace for their awesome support and great infrastructure,” continues Vashisht. “Our user base and site usage has grown rapidly in last two quarters without any problem with our infrastructure. In addition, the Rackspace team was always there to help us with advice on load balancing, server requirements and move management. We couldn’t have found a better partner than Rackspace!”