The SoftBank Vision Fund is putting $300 million into LTK, a technology platform in Dallas that lets more than 150,000 social media influencers make their posts shoppable. This is a significant change in how people shop and the SoftBank Vision Fund is backing it.
Forbes says that the investment announced on Monday makes LTK worth $2 billion and gives its co-founder and president, 34-year-old Amber Venz Box, $315 million. Her husband, Baxter Box, has the same value as per ltk 300m fund 2bsternlichtforbes.
LTK began in September after rewardStyle and LIKEtoKNOW.it merged. Venz Box says it brings in more than $3 billion in sales for businesses annually, with 10–25% of that going to influencers who promote products. Most of the people who make content for LTK are women.
They range from Midwestern parents to city dwellers who wear hijabs and write about fashion, beauty, fitness, home, and other lifestyle topics that are good for advertising. Venz Box says more than 130 influencers have made money on the site. Venz Box, for her part, says that LTK made $130 million in sales last year and has already made more than $200 million this year.
Influencers Can Sell things Besides LTK.
Instagram has a shopping tool that lets users check prices and buy things without leaving the app. Lydia Jett, the managing partner at SoftBank who oversaw the $300 million investment, thinks that LTK’s focus on creators drives sales and makes it stand out from its big competitors. LTK helps businesses connect with their customers by giving them analytics, marketing help, and connections to artists.
Jett says, “Other social sites are there to build an audience and sell ads for the platform.” “Their partnerships with creators have been all over the place.” The idea behind LTK is that its platform will help people make money. It could be the most significant investment the Japanese fund has made in a U.S. business started by a woman.
You Can shop at LTK any time.
Amber Venz Box, who helped start LTK and is now its president, has always cared about style. She cut out outfits from People and had her grandmother, a seamstress, make them. After starting her denim and jewelry brands in high school, she worked as a cashier at a high-end store in Dallas to pay for college at Southern Methodist University. Customers could wear flats like Nicole Richie and roll their pants like Kate Beckinsale. She started the VenzEdits fashion blog in 2010, but people who liked it preferred to buy the things she recommended online instead of going to the store, where she could get a commission.
On LTK, like on Instagram or Pinterest, people share photos of their beach vacations, living room decorations, and family activities. However, the tags link to retailers like Levi’s and Nordstrom, who pay a commission if a purchase is made. By 2017, the technology had helped artists sell more than $150 million for companies, which got her on Forbes’ list of 30 Under 30.
SoftBank’s $300 million investment will determine what LTK does next. Jett thinks the platform will do best if it helps people who make content. Jett says that the amount of money it makes for producers is unmatched outside China. “The authenticity and consistency of what this company stands for makes for a unique relationship” for creators.
Creators are the key to the future of buying on Venz Box. She wants to give them more ways to make shopping fun and profitable for their followers. She knows from experience that building a loyal fan base differs from building a business that makes money. Posting funny pictures of her kids on Instagram keeps her 95,000 followers interested, but showing them a beautiful Christmas tree or baby onesie on LTK gets them to buy. She says that LTK is open all the time.