Trust, a Digital Adtech Startup Founded by Snap Alums, Raises $5 Million

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Trust, a Digital Adtech Startup Founded by Snap Alums, Raises $5 Million
Courtesy of Trust

Adtech startup Trust, which provides emerging brands with digital advertising data insights, has raised $5 million in new equity funding from investors including Sapphire Sport and former Venmo executive Michael Vaughan.

Launched in August by a group of former Snap executives, Santa Monica-based Trust offers a Bloomberg Terminal-like service allowing small businesses to track digital marketing trends and data, such as the latest prices for ads on Facebook, Google and other platforms. The company pools its data from roughly 650,000 anonymized transactions shared by more than 1,000 brands, it said. It also gives businesses free lines of credit, on 45-day terms, to spend on ads, software and inventory.

Trust collects a fee from vendors like Facebook and Google when brands use its service to buy digital ads, pay for product inventory or acquire software licenses; there are no fees paid by the brands themselves. Trust co-founder and CEO James Borow declined to share the fees paid by digital advertising platforms.

Trust co-founder and CEO James Borow.

Photo courtesy of Trust

Borow told dot.LA that the idea for Trust can be traced to his days helping build Snap’s ad platform between 2016 to 2019. At the time, the social media giant was creating value for advertisers, but small businesses were largely left out—partly due to the uncertainties and high costs involved with trying out a Snapchat campaign, Borow said.

So Borow and a few of his Snap colleagues floated the idea of building a “growth network” of small businesses that could share data with each other, allowing them to see where similar brands were succeeding with their digital ad campaigns. “If we got all these businesses to band together, we could give them access to better data so they can make better decisions for their business,” he said.

Trust has now raised $14 million in equity funding, including a $9 million seed round last year. The new equity will go toward doubling Trust’s headcount of 20 full-time employees over the next year. The startup has also secured $25 million in debt funding from New York-based investment firm Upper90, which it said will go toward enhancing its lines of credit to brands.

Trust also announced that it had brought another Snap alum into its ranks: Matt Trandall, who spent the last six years building Snap’s partnership organization, will serve as Trust’s senior vice president of partnerships and community.

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