Banyan Branch, the Seattle-based social media marketing firm whose clients include Hartz, Porsche and Gilt Groupe, has raised $1.7 million from a prominent group of angel investors that includes former Qpass CEO Chase Franklin; Seattle angel investor Geoff Entress; KissMetrics founder Neil Patel; venture capitalist Bill Bryant and others.

“Social media has become pervasive within our culture, giving brands a way to create ongoing conversations and build lasting relationships with consumers,” said Entress, who is joining the company’s board as a result of the financing round. “By bringing a scientific, scalable approach to the massive social marketing opportunity, Banyan Branch has established itself as a leader in the agency landscape and a partner that big brands can rely on to create repeatable success with their social media initiatives.”

Led by Alex Garcia, Blake Cahill and Dave Hanley, Banyan Branch has engaged in several high-profile projects.

It designed the “Which Dwarf Are You?” Facebook quiz as part of Disney’s release of the Blu-Ray DVD of the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and it was responsible for the wildly popular “I’m on a Mac” video for Parallels which spread virally via YouTube.

Banyan Branch continues to reel in new clients, with the company saying that revenue grew by nearly 100 percent over the past 12 months. The company’s workforce now stands at 60, with plans to reach about 80 in the coming year if sales targets are met.

Cahill

Banyan Branch described the financing as a “Series A growth round,” with Cahill saying that the money will be used to invest in a new social interactive and analytics product and expand the company’s media buying practice.

“As brands increasingly shift marketing dollars from ‘traditional’ channels they are looking for full-service social marketing agencies that can help them reach and create compelling experiences for their customers on social platforms and we (want) to be able to capture and deliver on those brand investments,” said Cahill.

Comments

  • Bill

    Why do all articles about Banyan Branch talk about those two projects – 7 Dwarves and I’m on a Mac? These are 2 years old… what are they doing today?

    • http://twitter.com/davehanley Dave Hanley

      Great question.  It looks like John pulled the first two items from our portfolio page, but there’s a lot more to share.  Have a look at some other work at http://banyanbranch.com/#!/work.  Some examples:

      Grilling phones for a viral video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gm0AkFUYpLQ
      Creating social experiences at conferences: http://www.banyanbranch.com/social-blog/hostingcon-2011-recap/
      Viral virtual travel experience: http://meetmeintahiti.com/

      • Bill

        Thanks for the reply! Pretty cool stuff.

  • http://kickstand.typepad.com jordanmitchell

    Given that “services” firms are rarely seen as strong investment opportunities by the angel and VC crowd, I wonder what this company is doing to get these guys excited about a large potential ROI multiple. Is there some real IP here? A software play in their future?

  • Janism

    The new type of agency today has to be part people/services and part technology or technology integrator given that the latter is where leverage and high ROI comes from today in all the customer touchpoints. It sounds like savvy investors get this! Congrats to Banyon on a funding round for scaling growth.

  • http://prosodic.com Leigh Fatzinger

    Congratulations to Banyan Branch and their team on the Series A round, which I believe is significant in a couple of ways:  the public disclosure of outside equity validates the unique social media service provider model.  It also validates Seattle as a growing hub for amazing social media talent. Seattle has a high concentration of very capable social media firms – Nology Media, Spring Creek Group, Ant’s Eye View, and others – each with their own focus and concentration. Most of these Seattle-based firms are landing a growing amount non-Seattle-based business, indicative of Seattle’s regional, national, and international influence in the social media space. This news will only draw more attention and interest to the great ideas and projects coming out of Seattle. Again, congrats, Banyan team!

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