The Sophisticated Marketer's Guide to LinkedIn
How TransparentBusiness Reached the Right Investors on LinkedIn Pre-IPO
The team at TransparentBusiness is currently preparing for their IPO in one of the most saturated markets in history. They needed an innovative approach to generate as much brand equity and awareness as possible. Specifically, they sought to drive $100M in investor capital before December 2021. In an effort to differentiate their brand and reach broad audiences, they branched into a new venture. A very new venture. Enter: Unicorn Hunters, a reality television series that debuted in early 2021.
On the show, founders of highly scalable startups pitch millions of investors around the world (as well as the panel of judges), seeking to raise funds for further expansion. The judges include Apple cofounder Steve Wozniac, *NSYNC singer Lance Bass, and former US Treasurer Rosa Gumataotao Rios (in addition to TransparentBusiness cofounding executives Alex Konanykhin and Silvina Moschini, and Chief Transparency Officer Moe Vela).
Jesse Anema, Head of Paid Social at TransparentBusiness, explained, “Unicorn Hunters democratizes access to wealth-creation by providing individual investors with visibility into the next possible billion dollar pre-IPO business.” The companies that pitch on the show go through a rigorous review process to qualify.
Unicorn Hunters was a unique approach (and a big bet) for TransparentBusiness to reach a wider audience of potential investors. Their marketing goal was to create expansive digital brand reach in advance of TransparentBusiness’s IPO, aiming to boost valuation of the company through a goal of 25 million views per episode.
TransparentBusiness turned to LinkedIn to generate as much awareness as possible for their company and their involvement in Unicorn Hunters. “LinkedIn is known for having a higher quality network with high-net-worth individuals,” said Jesse. To convey the value proposition of both TransparentBusiness and Unicorn Hunters to potential investors, the team leveraged static banner images, video ads, text ads, and sponsored messages across various campaign objectives. They employed split testing and frequent optimizations. And most importantly, they live streamed episodes of Unicorn Hunters directly on LinkedIn to drive viewership and engagement!
Their magic, however, was in their targeting strategy. Specifically, they leveraged LinkedIn’s custom Mass Affluent segment and partnership with Acxiom to identify and target qualified investors on LinkedIn based on their net worth and investable assets. Rather than using a general segment of individuals interested in financial investing, the team was able to precisely reach the right investors.
Jesse explains, “Our initial targeting strategy was just a combination of educated guesses based on the history of working with pre-IPO investors from [our CEO’s] extensive business experience. But once we started implementing the Mass Affluent and Axiom audiences, we really started driving results.” The team also tested running these campaigns across Facebook, Google, and native platforms. Jesse shared that, “LinkedIn was one of the top drivers of investment capital.”
The impact was astounding. The TransparentBusiness team reached their halfway goal of $50 million in investment capital, and are on track to raise the remaining $50 million. “Our digital presence on LinkedIn was a direct and significant driver of that raised capital.”
The timing of the show’s launch coincided with the pandemic, which created a fortuitous platform for small businesses solving quarantine-related challenges. Jesse reflected, “We were positioned properly to be a company that helps solve problems on a massive scale, worldwide. So we had the right timing, the opportunity, the right people, and the right leadership with Alex and Silvina and the rest of the team, and the right execution of digital strategies.”
And Unicorn Hunters is tracking steadily towards its target reach. “The 6 episodes have already accrued 14 million views, which is above and beyond comparative benchmarks of other business shows,” Jesse shared.
TransparentBusiness has a vested interest in helping all the featured businesses succeed. Startups on the show receive step-by-step guidance on marketing to investors on LinkedIn. “Part of what we are offering to the companies selected for Unicorn Hunters is to help them build their digital presence targeted at investors, because we already have a roadmap of what we’ve done successfully,” Jesse said. The digital campaigns they ran delivered outstanding brand visibility that spread quickly; they reached an initial group of the right investors, who then referred other investors in their network interested in the opportunity. “The digital campaigns were the definitive drivers of our success,” Jesse shared.
On the global private offering side for TransparentBusiness, the team took a data-driven approach to understanding which marketing programs drove the most investment. “We investigated what raised the most capital, which are the best networks, and what are the most effective campaign types. We’re now rolling that out at a larger scale and accelerated pace.” The team is also partnering with LinkedIn’s B2B Institute as a member of the “Brand Edge” Program. They’ll be measuring and maximizing the impact Unicorn Hunters can have, based on the Institute’s long-standing principles.
Jesse closed with, “We’re shaking up the industry in a new way, and really marching towards our mission of democratizing access to wealth creation.”
TransparentBusiness is the holding company of an ecosystem of technology solutions powered by data, which include: TransparentBusiness software, an award-winning SaaS platform for remote workforce management, SheWorks! and Yandiki, global talent marketplaces designed to help companies scale with remote-ready talent, and CloudWorking Academy, an innovative educational platform for remote work readiness.
“Our presence on LinkedIn had a direct and significant impact on our ability to raise capital, given the platform’s high-quality network and our ability to reach high-net-worth individuals.”
Head of Social for TransparentBusiness