[TORONTO & NEW YORK, February 19, 2019] Today, Sampler announced it has closed a $3 million fundraising round led by a new strategic investor, BDC Capital’s Women in Technology Fund, and Shipfusion. They were joined by new investors Factory LLC and Standup Ventures and other existing and strategic investors including Freycinet Ventures and Mars IAF. Combined with earlier rounds, this brings Sampler’s fundraising total to $6.3M.
Headquartered in Toronto with offices in New York and Chicago, Sampler is the world’s leading direct to consumer product sampling platform. Using Sampler’s technology, consumer packaged goods companies like L’Oréal, Unilever, Nestlé, and Henkel can create and manage product sampling programs that generate consumer trials, online reviews, and CRM opt-ins.
“We are impressed with Sampler’s growth-to-date and its expanding business with some of the most prominent brands in the consumer-packaged goods industry,” said Michelle Scarborough, Managing Director, BDC Capital’s Strategic Investments and Women in Technology Fund, one of the world’s largest funds investing in women-led tech companies. “It’s what attracted us to the company initially, and we are pleased to welcome new strategic investors to the round. They bring impressive domain expertise who will help Sampler become a dominant player in their market segment.”
The news comes just weeks after reports that Amazon is quietly piloting a targeted sampling offering – something that Sampler founder Marie Chevrier says is a telling sign that digital product sampling is a trend to watch. She adds: “Over the last year, we’ve seen the demand for our platform skyrocket as brands have rediscovered how powerful product sampling can be when combined with modern digital marketing practices.
Sampler has been at the forefront of this shift and we’re ready to grow with the increased demand.”We are very excited about our partnership with Sampler,” said Richard Thompson of Factory LLC, a $250M fund focussed on the consumer packaged goods space. “Over the past 5 years they have built a great platform for both emerging and established brands to gain valuable data and insights through product sampling. The platform’s approach of generating feedback from targeted consumers is invaluable information in shaping a brand’s marketing plan and go to market strategy.” Prior to founding Factory LLC, Thompson was CEO of American Italian Pasta Co, The Meow Mix Co. and Freshpet. Sampler will use the new funds to continue to grow a world-class sales, marketing and product team. Just over the last quarter, Sampler has expanded its team to include talented individuals from companies like Foursquare, Nielsen and Amobee. Elizabeth Gamez, the newest member on Sampler’s sales team, based in Chicago, is excited about the power of digital product sampling, saying "I’ve worked across many different media products, and what sets Sampler apart is the ability for brands to go far beyond building brand awareness, by also allowing them to develop direct-to-consumer relationships with their potential customer.”
Michelle McBane, Managing Director of StandUp Ventures, added “Sampler is an ideal fit for our portfolio. We know that women-led ventures succeed more often, with better returns. We’ve been so impressed to see the traction that Sampler has built with leading CPG conglomerates all over the world.”
Sampler is a graduate of The DMZ, 500 Startups and Founders Factory, a London-based accelerator program backed by L’Oréal. The transaction was managed by Chase Irwin a partner at Dentons Canada LLP in Ottawa.
About Sampler: At Sampler, we help consumer packaged good brands of all sizes and categories deliver physical samples to digitally targeted consumers. Our turnkey solution helps brands gather consumer feedback and demographic insights that will increase successful trial and in-turn conversion rates. Using Sampler, brands no longer need to hand out samples at random, and can get product into the right hands. We call it Direct to Consumer Product Sampling.
Sampler Website: www.sampler.io
Sampler Logo: https://smpl.ly/logo
Sampler Team Picture: https://smpl.ly/teamphoto
Sampler Team Video: https://youtu.be/U2HjJV0ao6o
Sampler Explainer Video: https://youtu.be/4n7AXKhiyZg
About BDC Capital: BDC Capital is the investment arm of BDC-Canada’s only bank devoted exclusively to entrepreneurs. With $3 billion under management, BDC Capital serves as a strategic partner to the country’s most innovative firms. It offers a full spectrum of risk capital, from seed investments to transition capital, supporting Canadian entrepreneurs who wish to scale their businesses into global champions. Visit bdc.ca/womenintech.
About Factory LLC:Factory is a team of experienced operators with $250M of investable capital investing in high potential food, beverage and pet health companies, and partner with them to rapidly build value. Their portfolio includes brands like Honey Stinger, mikey’s and Stuffed Puffs. Their headquarter includes a 40,000 sq. ft. innovation and scale-up facility in Bethlehem PA, where they provide partner companies with support and resources so invested capital can be used for growth, not SG&A.
About StandUp Ventures:StandUp Ventures invests in breakthrough companies led by women. We believe that women-led companies think outside the box, recruit great talent, and serve bigger markets. We invest in Canadian seed-stage technology companies with at least one woman in a C-level leadership position within the company. The fund leverages MaRS IAF platform and was launched in May 2017 with an anchor investment by BDC Capital.
About Freycinet Ventures: Freycinet Ventures supports and accelerates high-impact Canadian ventures through financial investment, experienced mentorship, and access to networks. Their portfolio includes Borrowell, Hubba, #Paid, Set Scouter and Trend MD.