St. Petersburg-based startup Spontivly, a community management platform that recently received backing from Shark Tank investor Mark Cuban, has received an additional investment from venture capital firm Tampa Bay Ventures.
Spontivly, founded in 2019 by Anthony Nagendraraj and Marissa Huggins, is described as the “Google Analytics for the community,” as it provides real-time analytics to measure community engagement, growth and impact across any platform. The Canada-founded company relocated to St. Petersburg’s Thrive co-working hub this year.
“As digital communities play a larger role in the ecosystems supporting organizations, we at Tampa Bay Ventures see the critical function of community management as essential infrastructure. Developing deep relationships with the members of a project, company or ecosystem provides an inclusive platform to represent every stakeholder adequately,” Andreas Calabrese, general partner at Tampa Bay Ventures, said in a statement.
“Spontivly provides the tools necessary for developing engaged communities, regardless of platform. We see a tremendous opportunity for Spontivly to become the default community management layer in the immediate future.”
The Spontivly founders were graduates of Tampa Bay Wave’s flagship TechDiversity program, through the program, the duo connected with Tampa Bay Ventures. Spontivly was also a semifinalist in the Startup of the Year Summit.
The Spontivly founders didn’t disclose the amount of funding they received from Tampa Bay Ventures; however, the funding comes after a $1.2 million pre-seed funding round backed by LOI Ventures, headed by the founder of Hootsuite, as well as the funding from Cuban that was part of the company’s $500,000 bridge round. Spontivly said Tampa Bay Ventures was interested in participating in the funding round before Cuban inked a deal with Spontivly.
Combined, the startup has raised over $2 million since its humble beginnings.
“We’ve always held the philosophy that when we started this company, we would bootstrap it. With venture capitalists, we make smart bets and our business is very revenue-driven,” Nagendraraj said. “We find the best talent and as underrepresented founders, we know how to hustle.”
The platform was initially created for Canadian students to build and maintain relationships via a streamlined platform that combines data and analytics with community management.
“When we launched it, I talked with over 300 people who were having a hard time connecting with the college. Then the different departments at the university started reaching out to us for the data we collected. We knew this was a much larger problem – it was an organizational issue that others such as nonprofits and other enterprises were also facing,” Nagendraraj said.
Within three months 6,000 students signed on, making Spontivly one of the top ten most-downloaded apps in Canada. Today, it has extended beyond the classrooms and is implemented by over 100 companies.
“Companies who have built communities are flourishing right now and for many, it took the pandemic for them to review their customers’ feedback and increase their value and strategies,” Huggins said.
Huggins and Nagendraraj project their team of 13 will grow to 65 employees in the next three years. Many of those positions will be community managers and content creators.
Huggins said Spontivly is also planning to roll out a free education platform to introduce companies to the community building blocks.