Unilever Ventures has partnered with TVC Capital to invest $12m (£9.4m) in influencer marketing platform Creator IQ as it looks to crack down on fraud in the industry.
The investment comes a year after Unilever warned that fraud was undermining influencer marketing and vowed to improve integrity, transparency and measurement in the sector.
Creator IQ said the series B funding will be used to boost its AI software, which validates the authenticity of an influencer’s audience and helps to improve brand safety.
“Creator IQ is proactively developing solutions that empower Unilever to continue to set global measurement standards for the influencer marketing industry,” said Vasiliki Petrou, executive vice president and group chief executive at Unilever Prestige.
“Their platform enhances the quality and integrity of our brands’ campaigns by safeguarding against follower fraud and brand safety issues.”
Creator IQ has grown rapidly over the last 12 months, and now manages campaigns for brands including Disney, Airbnb and Ralph Lauren.
“We see organizations of all sizes embracing new ways of building relationships with their customers, and brand advocacy has proven to be a competitive advantage,” said Igor Vaks, Creator IQ Founder and chief executive.
“Brands are turning to influencer marketing because it drives results, but only enterprise-grade technologies can help them succeed at scale alongside older and more mature marketing channels.”
The funding round was led by software-focused equity growth firm TVC Capital, while Affinity Group also participated.