A startup taking on inauthentic influencer suggestions and bogus online reviews just raised $4 million in seed funding. 
Zürich-based Experify launched in 2019 as a response to “the deeply broken advertising and marketing industry ,” according to cofounder and CEO René Pfitzner who said there should be a way to tackle the “lack of authenticity” in the market.
Experify’s platform connects prospective buyers with existing customers so that they can share their experience of a product — without any incentives from the brand in question. Existing customers who take part in word-of-mouth reviews are offered brand points that they can redeem after they help prospective customers. 
The startup makes its money by deploying its SaaS platform to companies that, depending on their customer size and brand reach, pay a monthly subscription fee. 
Fake product reviews are thought to cost up to $152 billion in sales, per the World Economic Forum. Pfitzner said Experify’s aim was to rebuild waning consumer confidence in retailers after a rise in sponsored influencer marketing in the past two years.
Experify initially assumed its product would appeal to Gen-Z and millennial consumers — who are more reliant on online reviews and influencer suggestions. However, the company said it has appealed to a broad base of consumers and that its user base is largely driven by the brands it works with.
Currently, its brand partnerships include e-bike company DOST, cycle companies Radon and Nikolai Bicycles, as well as audio platforms Nubert and Teufel Audio. It reaches out to 4.5 million customers every month. 
The round was led by US-based VC firm Vertex Ventures, which has previously backed business productivity tool Docker and cybersecurity startup Cyberhaven. Portugal-based Sonae Investment Management, which has backed fraud detection unicorn Feedzai, also participated, along with UC Berkely’s SkyDeck Fund. 
Experify’s platform gives brands “an opportunity to engage with current and future customers, creating an entirely new market,” said Insik Rhee, general partner at Vertex Ventures.
The startup plans to grow its sales, product, and engineering teams with the fresh funds while also focusing on expanding its brand partnerships.
Check out the 9-slide pitch deck Experify used to raise the fresh funds:
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