St. Louis-based Gremlin Social, a social media marketing solution featuring the only American Bankers Association-endorsed compliance tools, recently acquired two companies as part of its strategic expansion.
VidVerify, a video-based communication platform for mortgage lenders, and Insight CRM, a SaaS solution for social media management, have been integrated into Gremlin Social’s existing capabilities in order to bolster the company’s product offering.
Doug Wilber, a fintech industry veteran, will join the company as Gremlin Social’s new CEO, while Ben April, CEO of VidVerify, will step into the role of chief operating officer. Josh Dennis, founder and CEO of Insight CRM, will join as the company’s first-ever chief technical officer.
“This is a growth story,” said Wilber. “This is about three industry-leading platforms joining forces to become the best-in-class social media marketing suite for companies in regulated industries. These new partnerships and our new executive team give us the ability to dive more deeply into all sectors within the financial services industry, better serve our customers, and position us well for rapid growth.”
Gremlin Social was founded in St. Louis in 2011. Since then, the company has gone through several accelerators and incubators, including SixThirty where Wilber is an advisor, and has raised a round of Series A capital.
In October 2015, Gremlin was endorsed by the ABA as the recommended platform for social media marketing, monitoring, and compliance for all ABA member banks.
Wilber joined in April 2018 and hit the ground running. He was approached by Gremlin Social’s board to come in and fuel the company’s next round of growth, which included acquisitions.
“This is what we are calling ‘step one’ in our process,” said Wilber. “We’ve got a pretty compelling story to tell, which is going to be a pretty exciting story for St. Louis and more broadly, for our region when it comes to how you grow a very profitable enterprise in a smaller market. You don’t necessarily need to be on the coasts.”
When asked why Gremlin Social saw VidVerify and Insight CRM as the right opportunities for growth, Wilber said it came down to April’s and Dennis’s proven track records as entrepreneurs and the opportunity to move into new markets.
“Historically, we played primarily in the community regional banks, but as the phone from the mortgage industry kept ringing and ringing, we knew we needed a technology solution that would service that market,” said Wilber. “More broadly, what really gets us excited is if you look at the trend line for social media and the types of content that are being distributed, it’s primarily moving to video-based content. We wanted to make sure we had the ability to very robustly service our customers from a video-content capability.”
The acquisitions will benefit Gremlin Social’s 260-plus financial services clients who use the platform every day to compliantly distribute social content on behalf of their brands, branches, and employees. In the past year, Gremlin Social has increased revenue by 65 percent.
As part of its overall growth strategy, Gremlin Social will leverage the acquisitions to expand the company’s scheduling, management, monitoring, and compliance tools for companies in all regulated industries and across all social media platforms.
“Through our new partnership, we’ll be able to offer an easier-to-use, more comprehensive product for clients in compliance-heavy industries that might think they can’t use social media effectively,” said April. “Our platform can be a key differentiator for organizations in these industries. We’re excited to explore all the potential opportunities the company has now.”
Wilber said he is excited for the future of Gremlin Social and the opportunity to continue their part in building the next generation of companies in St. Louis.
“One of the things we tell our portfolio companies at SixThirty is the best source of capital is revenue,” said Wilber. “A lot of coastal startups don’t think that way; they think that the best source of capital is venture capital. It’s a little bit of a different perspective than we have here in St. Louis. Part of what we’re building in the culture at Gremlin is our best chances for a really compelling story is our ability to monetize our platform quickly.”
Christine Burright McGuigan is the Managing Editor of Silicon Prairie News.