Vietnamese influencer platform Hiip raises funding from Expara, others

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Singapore-based early stage investment fund Expara and individual investors have made an undisclosed funding round in Hiip, Vietnam’s first automated influencer platform.

Hiip was incubated in CLAS Expara Startup Accelerator, which the Singapore fund operates with Microsoft in Vietnam.

The funding is a follow-on investment to the Expara acceleration grant, Phi Nguyen, founder and CEO of Hiip, revealed to DEALSTREETASIA.

Christian Schaefer, managing partner of Asia Counsel law firm, and Eric Rosenkranz, former CEO for APAC and Latin America at Grey Global Group, joined Expara in the investment. In conjunction with the funding, Rosenkranz has become the chairman of Hiip.

The proceeds will be used to upgrade the startup’s product and expand its market to reach more brands and influencers, said Nguyen.

Officially launched in April 2016, Hiip, using social data and matching algorithms to help brands and advertisers connect with social influencers, has garnered more than 1,000 social sensations who are already registered to the platform. It claims to have grown 50 per cent month on month in the number of customer bookings.

Brands are allowed to create campaigns, and they will be matched with the right influencers based on the campaign specific requirements and influencer data.

“For a very long time, brands in Vietnam used to choose influencers based on subjective feelings. We want to change that by helping them choose the right influencers based on data,” said Nguyen.

While major companies in Vietnam have traditionally been using the images of top celebrities to promote their brands, Hiip aims to ride on the increasing use of social media in the country with 45 per cent Internet penetration rate. The aim is to select the right promoters for a wider base of businesses at lower costs.

In addition, while other players in Asia are operating as agencies, Hiip acts as a platform so that the company’s network can grow more rapidly and effectively, Nguyen tells DEALSTREETASIA.

“We invest in innovative products that solve painful customer problems in fast-growing markets and Hiip definitely fits that bill. They have a strong team and are set for regional expansion,” commented Douglas Abrams, founder and CEO of Expara.

“Currently influencer marketing is only available to multi-national and big local corporations. With Hiip, we aim to help thousands of local brands to connect and cooperate with the correct social influencers,” added Rosenkranz.

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