Starkville-based Online Retail Company Receives $ 100,000 to Grow Team and Expand Marketing
Starkville-based Rocketing Systems, with its popular online marketing product, Buzzbassador, has received a $ 100,000 investment to expand its team and marketing strategies.
Chief Marketing Officer and one of the founders of Rocketing Systems, Shelby Baldwin, said Rocketing Systems has contracted with retail companies to automate influencer marketing, and the company has been steadily increasing grow over the past year despite the COVID-19 pandemic. The investment comes from Innovate Mississippi, a non-profit organization focused on cultivating innovative technologies and entrepreneurship.
Baldwin said that Rocketing Systems primarily targets small and medium-sized businesses, but with this $ 100,000 seed fund contribution, it can reach large businesses such as corporations and enterprises at the enterprise level. She said the company also plans to expand the team of software engineering developers.
Baldwin, along with his classmates Calvin Waddy, Managing Director, and Brandon Johns, Director of Operations, created the idea for Rocketing Systems at the Mississippi State University Center for Entrepreneurship and Outreach in late 2019. Their original concept began as an online clothing store but eventually became the retail automation software it is today.
Buzzbassador works as a customer relationship management platform for businesses to oversee their influencers, or brand ambassadors, who market products in exchange for benefits or allowances in return. For example, a company using the software can automatically generate business and sales analysis, while managing the commissions and work schedules of the company’s influencers in a centralized location. Rocketing Systems administers Buzzbassador through a website and mobile app, Baldwin said, and officially launched through e-commerce company Shopify in late 2020.
“We have found that small and medium-sized businesses that use influencer marketing can find it difficult to handle this particular type of marketing,” Baldwin said. “You manage so many people, try to track the sales generated and the performance of the campaigns and recruit the right kind of influencers while managing the communication with them. It’s like all that other business inside your business.
While Rocketing Systems has struggled to acquire new investors for its business over the past year, Buzzbassador has consistently seen steady progress and new customers throughout COVID-19 due to the development of many new businesses during the pandemic.
“Because our business is software and everything is online, we have been fortunate to still have consistent growth throughout the pandemic,” Baldwin said. “When people were at home and quarantined, we saw a lot of new businesses start up, and those businesses had to use our platform to manage their marketing.”
Innovate Mississippi Investment Manager Lindsey Benefield said the Seed Fund is not necessarily a grant, but a convertible note. After five years, Rocketing Systems will decide whether it wants to turn this loan into equity through Innovate Mississippi or repay the money.
Benefield also said she and her organization have enjoyed working with Rocketing Systems since their partnership began in 2019. She said the diverse team and “go-ahead attitudes” are what made the young startup successful. .
“They are fantastic to work with them,” said Benefield. “I think Buzzbassadors is a source of inspiration for all young adults who want to start their own business. They got together as three students with an idea, then pivoted in a completely different direction, and now they are hugely successful and catching the attention of investors.
Baldwin said Buzzbassador has thousands of app users and paying customers around the world, but with the help of the Seed Fund, he anticipates even more users and larger business partners. Baldwin said the company plans to keep its operations center in Starkville because that’s where Rocketing Systems started.
“We never really left Starkville after graduating from MSU,” Baldwin said. “This is where we plan to stay for the foreseeable future. “