One Impression, an Indian influencer marketing platform that does business in markets including Indonesia, Dubai, Europe and the U.S., has raised $10 million in a funding round led by the South Korean gaming company Krafton.
The Gurugram-based startup is building an Amazon-like platform to help brands quickly find relevant influencers for their marketing campaigns. It touts having more than 7 million content creators on the platform that brands ranging from FMCG to e-commerce can access. These creators include the micro-ones developing content from villages and tier-2 and tier-3 towns, as well as large celebrities and even Bollywood actors that generate more than 100,000 content pieces for more than 500 brands in over 10 languages. The platform is also not limited to influencers from a particular genre and has creators in comedy, beauty, fashion and DIY, among other fields.
“We ensure the right pricing for every influencer, and as a platform, we ensure that as a brand, you get the best match and the best price for every creator that you work with,” said Apaksh Gupta, co-founder and CEO, One Impression, in an interview with TC.
Founded in 2018 by Gupta and his brother Jivesh Gupta, One Impression works directly with content creators, agencies and agents to offer brands a range of influencers to fit their requirements. This is unlike a traditional influencer marketing agency or a creator discovery tool, where you typically find just a single source to pick. Also, the startup offers full-stack solutions ranging from discovery, pricing and payments to compliance, government contracts, delivery and performance tracking.
“We’re bridging the gap between brands and creators. We’re trying to make the partnerships between brands and creators the most seamless, fastest, repeatable and scalable,” the executive said.
In addition to helping brands reach the right influencer, One Impression is building tools for creators to help them monetize their content and unlock opportunities to collaborate with other creators and make finance easier using automation. The startup is also working on tools to let creators easily access studios across India and even get PR opportunities, said Gupta.
Currently, One Impression has enabled its platform for Instagram and YouTube. It also plans to unlock it for LinkedIn and Moj in India and TikTok for global markets over time.
“As different platforms continue to become important for any market, we’ll continue to integrate those new platforms into our platform,” Gupta said.
One Impression takes a fee from brands for connecting them with influencers and charges commissions to content creators that grow once the creators become more relevant for large-scale campaigns. This makes it a two-sided marketplace for both brands and creators. It is also working on launching premium tools to offer brands a subscription-based model for regular earnings.
The Krafton-led, all-equity Series A funding round also saw participation from Peer Capital. It valued the startup at $70 million post-money.
On whether the investment coming from Krafton was strategic, Gupta told TC that the gaming giant has come as a financial investor.
“The creator ecosystem is at the cusp of a revolution. It holds massive untapped potential, and we believe that One Impression is rightly positioned to be a global leader of the influencer industry. One Impression has an ambitious vision for the space, and we are delighted to support them in their journey,” said Sean Hyunil Sohn, CEO of Krafton India, in a prepared statement.
Since 2021, Krafton has invested over $100 million in various Indian startups to become more than a gaming company. However, the company has faced the banning of its widely popular gaming title Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) in the country — just months after it struggled to bring its original PUBG Mobile title back that also got banned by the Indian government in 2020 over national security concerns.
“At Krafton, we are committed to the Indian market and see tremendous potential here. We have invested around $100 million in various Indian startups since 2021. And our investment in One Impression is a step towards augmenting this ecosystem and creating opportunities of growth,” Sohn said.
One Impression, which claims to have created a profitable business without marketing, plans to utilize the fresh funds to build a marketing team and scale its sales team to expand its presence in global markets, starting with Southeast Asia and the UAE. It also looks to make acquisitions in Dubai to boost its market presence. The planned expansion is projected to help the startup grow its average revenue rate to $40 million.
In 2022, One Impression raised $1 million from angels, including Peyush Bansal of Lenskart, Anupam Mittal of People Group and celebrities such as Olympian Neeraj Chopra and comedian Zakir Khan, among others.