Sampler, a Ryerson Futures alumni company, 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 ItalPasta and MeowMix.
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 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.” The transaction was managed by Chase Irwin a partner at Dentons Canada LLP in Ottawa.