Here’s the pitch deck that Recast, which aims to help brands like Harry’s and Away increase their return on marketing spend, used to raise seed funds at a $25 million valuation

Money getting shredded
  • Recast makes software to help brands measure marketing spend across digital and offline channels.
  • It just raised $3.4 million at an eye-popping $25 million post-money valuation.
  • Read the pitch deck it used to persuade venture-capital firms like Lerer Hippeau to invest.

In the middle of a funding drought, a startup linking two important themes in tech this year — artificial intelligence and cost cutting — has persuaded investors to write a check for $3.4 million.

Recast, a startup with software that analyzes marketing spend, raised in October a seed round of funding led by Lerer Hippeau, a New York venture-capital firm, Recast told Insider exclusively.

The deal closed at a $25 million post-money valuation, or about $21 million before the new funds, which is fully twice the median pre-money valuation for seed startups last quarter, according to PitchBook data. The eye-popping funding round highlights investor fervor for technology that helps companies save money in a downturn.

This year, a slowdown in funding for startups forced many to take a closer look at their spending and cut costs to extend their runway. One area to come under scrutiny was marketing spend, or the amount of money a marketing department spends on channels such as content marketing, paid advertising, and social media.

In a recent survey of 273 marketing leaders at for-profit firms, sponsored by Deloitte, Duke University, and the American Marketing Association, 42.3% of respondents said inflation drove them to decrease marketing spend. Forty-one percent of respondents said it had no influence on their budgets.

“Our investors, because they have portfolio companies that were going through that, knew that a solution that looked like ours was going to be very important,” Michael Kaminsky, a seasoned data scientist and Recast cofounder, told Insider.

Data Tech Fund and Vibe Capital participated in the new round, as did the industry experts Jonah Goodhart, a cofounder of the adtech company Moat, and Adam Grenier, a former marketing leader at Uber and MasterClass.

Recast ingests a customer’s data on how much the customer spends across marketing channels — both digital and offline, such as billboards and subway ads — and how many dollars of revenue that generates. Then, it applies a machine-learning model to identify patterns in the data. For instance, the software might see that a brand’s sales increase on days when it airs radio spots.

The startup is poised for growth as more marketing leaders look to software to optimize spending. The survey of market leaders found that spending on marketing analytics this year hit a record high as a percentage of their budgets, 14.5%. However, Recast is one of many companies trying to crack marketing analytics, and its competitors include data-driven startups like Rockerbox and Northbeam as well as the cloud giants Google, Adobe, and Salesforce.

The company has an edge over other vendors, Kaminsky said, because it measures the return on money spent on offline marketing, such as commercials, while the incumbents track mostly digital marketing.  

“Google Analytics works for digital channels for e-commerce businesses,” he said. “But if you are a consumer brand that sells health bars at Target and Walmart, Google can tell you nothing about that.”

The idea for Recast came from a personal pain point. Before Recast, Kaminsky worked as director of analytics at the men’s grooming brand Harry’s, and his cofounder, Thomas Vladeck, ran a marketing-research firm he founded. They wanted to automate how companies measured marketing and save data scientists hours of analytics, they said.

Kaminsky and Vladeck started tinkering with the software four years ago and testing it at other companies. In October, Recast raised $1.1 million in a pre-seed round from Good Friends, a venture firm started by the founders of Warby Parker, Harry’s, and Allbirds.

Today, marketing leaders at those buzzy consumer companies use Recast’s software to track the flow of marketing dollars into various media, with the goal of doubling down on what works. It also helps them plan for the next spending cycle, Kaminsky said. Clients can use a budgeting tool to simulate what would happen if they spent more or less money on different channels.

Recast, which employs 13 people, said its new funding would allow it to hire much-needed software engineers and data scientists.

Read the pitch deck Recast used to persuade Lerer Hippeau to invest in its seed round: