BROOKLYN, NY – July 27, 2021 – Norby, the marketing platform for creators, announced their seed financing today led by Gradient Ventures, Google’s AI-focused venture fund, with participation from Bungalow Capital, BBG Ventures, Charge VC, and Notation. The company will use the funding to expand their toolkit into a next-generation audience management platform.
“It’s long past time for creators to reclaim their audience from social platforms,” said Nick Gerard, Norby’s CEO and Co-founder. “That’s why we built Norby. There are new opportunities for monetization cropping up every day so it’s crucial that creators and brands can independently reach their followers and customers.”
Creators and brands stitch together dozens of platforms and tools to build their online presences, which often means more time is spent doing busywork than building meaningful relationships. Norby bundles together everything they need – like event management, SMS campaigns, newsletters, referral tracking, link in bio, landing pages, and ticketing – and gives them the power to activate their audience without relying on social platforms.
“The creator economy needs a counterbalance to the social media giants that’s actually aligned with creators,” said Gerard. “Social media platforms are great for discovery, but the companies behind them make it difficult to own your audience because it’s against their business interests.”
Norby was founded at the end of 2020 by Gerard, Steven Layne, and Samantha Safer Valentine. When COVID-19 first hit, the co-founders had helped build a multi-channel culture community and newsletter. After thousands of people joined overnight, they found themselves spending more and more time doing administrative work and trying to connect different services together.
"Sometimes the best products are the ones people build to solve their own problems, and the Norby team did exactly that," said Zachary Bratun-Glennon, Partner at Gradient Ventures, who led the round. "Their insights into the pain points in community and brand building come from their own experience and impressed us from the beginning. We’re thrilled to support their best-in-class team as they usher in a new era for creators and communities."
Since January, Norby has gone from a prototype with a handful of beta users to a platform with hundreds of paying customers. “I’ve been blown away by the amount of quality software Nick and his team have been able to build in such a short time,” said Brett Martin, General Partner at Charge VC. The team came out of stealth mode just last month with the simultaneous reveal of the platform and launch of their community programming, merch line, and blog.
“Today B2B companies need brand and community just as much as DTC companies,” said Nisha Dua, Managing Partner and Co-founder at BBG Ventures. “The Norby team is leading the way on both – plus they’ve built an incredible product.”
Building the Norby platform and community in tandem has allowed the team to become flagship users of their own product and further align themselves with their customers. “We started Norby because we’re community builders ourselves and we know exactly how hard it is to manage it all,” said Gerard. “The social media giants will never be fully aligned with their most important users – so it’s absolutely essential that new infrastructure is built that is.”
To learn more about Norby or request an invite, visit norby.live.
Norby is an audience relationship manager built for creators and emerging brands. The next-generation marketing platform bundles together all the tools community builders need, like SMS campaigns, newsletters, event management, link in bio, signup forms, landing pages, link and referral tracking, and more.
We’re on a mission to help creators and community builders take back their audience from social media platforms. We believe creators should own the relationship with their followers, and that extricating that relationship from social platforms creates better incentive structures and a more sustainable model for the creator economy.
Gradient Ventures is Google’s AI-focused venture fund — investing in and connecting early-stage startups with resources, innovation, and technical leadership in artificial intelligence. The fund focuses on helping founders navigate the challenges in developing new technology products, using the latest best practices in recruiting, marketing, design, and engineering so that great ideas can come to life. Gradient was founded in 2017 and is based in Palo Alto, California. For more information, visit www.gradient.com.