Some companies give birth to verbs. Others give birth to phrases.
The term “connection to bio” became part of the popular speech of influencers, thanks to brothers Alex and Anthony Zaccaria and their friend Nick Humphreys. While working at the advertising agency they founded, they saw first-hand how awkward it is for companies to share content with just one link – the maximum that many social platforms allow in a user’s resume.
To circumvent these limitations, the trio launched Linktree in 2016: a tool that people and companies can easily use to collect links on a single website. As the Internet became more fragmented and social media users sought to express their business on a variety of platforms, their product was tackled.
“We saw that biological nature was the place where consistency of all channels existed,” says Humphreys, creative director of the Australian startup. “You have one entry point from the audience from where it interacts with your content, where you monetize them or achieve an outcome.”
Since then, Linktree has gone from seedling to something more like a small sequel. Its adoption is rapid in Australia, the US, Europe and beyond, reaching one million users by December 2018 and three million a year later. Linktree now has approximately 12 million users belonging to more than 250 industries and records an average of around 32,000 registrations per day, compared to the 9,000 monthly registrations it recorded in March 2020 – an increase of 300% over last year.
“We’re already far more than what we started: this idea based on a link-in-bio solution,” says Alex Zaccaria. “From that, we have grown very significantly into this place where people actually present themselves. It’s a layer of identity, like a jump from a point, even necessarily something you simply find on social media, and brands and creatives now recognize that they don’t need a website anymore. They don’t need a random messy site. They can really present themselves in Linktree where absolutely everything around them is in a really free and friction-free environment that will help users quickly discover what it’s all about. “
The company hopes to grow its subsidiaries even more. On Thursday, Linktree announced a $ 45 million B-series round led by Index Ventures (also an investor in Patreon and Discord) and Coatue (a TikTok supporter). The round was also attended by LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, former Slack CEO for April Underwood products, former Bumble CEO Michelle Kennedy and Afterpay co-founder and US CEO Nick Molnar. Funding comes just five months after Linktree raised $ 10.7 million in the A-Series, in which companies, including AirTree Ventures and Insight Partners, participated.
This recent funding will be used to increase the number of employees (which has jumped from less than a dozen to 80 in the past year), develop new tools in social commerce and analytics, and launch hubs for creators in various global markets that are doubling Linktree offices.
According to Index Ventures partner Danny Rimmer, Linktree’s traction and vision have been impressive, and while the concept is a “very simplified metaphor,” he says the startup has also invented a whole new space.
“The idea of providing a curated presentation of oneself through an identity layer, and that is Linktree, makes the world make sense,” Rimmer says. “Linktree would have made sense in the abstract 10 years ago, but the maturity of the internet and the maturity of the platform were not present 10 years ago to make Linktree a logical choice.”
Linktree is not the only company that wants to innovate around a modest but powerful relationship. Others, including Bio.FM and Carrd, are also already on the market, and last month Streamlabs launched a new tool that allows users to directly integrate the rollover feature.
The Covid-19 pandemic also accelerated Linktree’s growth as individuals, small business owners and corporations – including Shopify, HBO and Yves Saint Laurent – sought to increase their digital presence. Celebrities, such as chef Jamie Oliver, marketing expert Gary Vaynerchuk and musicians Pharrell and Alicia Keys, have also created Linktree sites, as well as sports organizations like the LA Clippers and Major League Baseball.
Linktree’s rapid rise reminds Coatue partner Dan Rose of the early days of Facebook. Rose, who helped Amazon develop the Kindle in 2000 before scaling and monetizing the social network, says it has the potential to evolve from a product that connects links to a platform around identity. (Rose also joins the Linktree Committee.)
“[Amazon and Facebook] both have somehow moved from products to something much larger, where they support large economies. And Linktree has that potential, ”says Rose. “How do we keep adding features and keep expanding, while maintaining that basic simplicity that makes it so universal and so easy to access?”