Statusphere is an influencer marketing platform that fundamentally transforms the way brands connect with social media influencers. The company’s influencer-first business model solves the major pain points of outreach, price negotiation, scalability and distribution for consumer brands. Statusphere achieves this with its curated network of micro-influencers who receive a monthly box of Instagram-worthy products in exchange for sharing photos or videos with their followers. Brands can tap into this network and commission hundreds of guaranteed influencer posts with virtually zero legwork.
Statusphere is the brainchild of Kristen Wiley. The 27-year-old entrepreneur has a unique understanding of what it’s like to be on both sides of the influencer marketing equation, having been both a blogger and a marketer.
While studying advertising at the University of Central Florida, Kristen started a baking and crafting blog. Her blog content went viral thanks in part to features on the popular entertainment website, Buzzfeed, and soon after brands like Coca Cola, Michaels Craft Store and Sara Lee were flooding her inbox. At the same time, Kristen worked at an advertising agency where her role involved finding social media influencers on behalf of her clients for marketing collaborations.
This sparked Kristen’s lightbulb moment. The idea: A service that makes it simple for brands to connect with the influencers they want to partner with, and vice versa. The approach: Mobilizing micro-influencers to support a brand’s sales and marketing goals. The vessel: A monthly subscription box of products specially curated for each influencer. Brands pay for placement in the box, and influencers receive the latest and greatest in beauty, fashion and lifestyle products for free in exchange for sharing about the products with their followers on Instagram, readers on their personal blog or viewers on YouTube. It’s a turnkey solution for brands to commission hundreds of guaranteed influencer posts, and influencers have the opportunity to partner with brands they truly love.
As industry demand pivots from macro-influencers to micro-influencers, the idea for Statusphere couldn’t have come at a better time. And for Statusphere to be a formidable player in a quickly evolving industry, Kristen had to scale operations. However, she found it difficult for New York and California-based investors to take her seriously.
During a pitch competition, Kristen caught the attention of Jason Calacanis – one of Silicon Valley’s most notable angel investors in startups like Uber, Thumbtack and Tumblr. While he believed in her innovative business model, he urged her to “Get the hell out of Orlando” if she wanted to be successful. Adamant that her startup would continue to thrive in Central Florida, Kristen kept Statusphere’s roots firmly planted in the City Beautiful.
Kristen ultimately won him over. She became the first Florida-based founder accepted into Jason’s LAUNCH Incubator. The opportunity allowed Kristen to close her seed round, bringing California capital home to Orlando. Her one-woman startup has transformed into an influencer marketing juggernaut. Now, she is setting the trend for brand-influencer collaborations industry-wide.
You don’t have to be in Silicon Valley to be a success story, and Statusphere is a testament to that.