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‘Shark Tank’ star Mark Cuban backs St. Pete startup

Veronica Brezina

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Investor Mark Cuban. Image: ABC.

Spontivly, a St. Petersburg company known for its analytical community management platform, has reeled in a Shark. 

Anthony Nagendraraj and Marissa Huggins, who founded Spontivly in 2019 in Canada, have secured an investment from Mark Cuban, who is best known as an investor on the ABC television show Shark Tank

Both Nagendraraj and Huggins were scheduled to attend a conference in Tennessee; however, their flights were delayed. Their investors then redirected them to instead attend the major eMerge Americas tech conference in Miami, held in April. There, the team linked with Cuban’s team. 

“We got to talk with his team and they were very interested in terms of the analytics from the community side of things and it went from there,” Nagendraraj said, adding how discussions also centered around how they were planning on entering the Web3 and crypto space. 

After a month of due diligence, Cuban and Spontivly executed a deal. The amount was not disclosed, but it is part of the company’s $500,000 bridge round. The funding also now makes Cuban Spontivly’s second-largest investor and favorably positions Spontivly to raise a Series A round. 

The new investment follows the company’s $2 million seed round, which closed in December led by Hootsuite.  

Spontivly, which relocated from Canada to St. Petersburg’s Thrive co-working hub, 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 startup is also one of the graduates of Tampa Bay Wave’s flagship TechDiversity program and is a member of Embarc Collective.

As part of the investment and growth, Huggins and Nagendraraj project their team of 11 will grow to 65 employees in the next three years. Many of those positions will be community managers and content creators. 

“Our company started in the middle of the pandemic, and just like Airbnb and Doordash companies, we are taking advantage of the situation take to accelerate in the market and provide the tools for companies,” Nagendraraj said.

Huggins explained they are seeing the silver lining in the pandemic as companies are looking for ways to save costs and focus on areas that are feasible and generate a return, which Spontivly can help identify using analytics. 

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