Fashion GPS has merged with marketing firm Augure, creating a new high-tech player at New York Fashion Week that will not only help manage RSVPs and seating charts, but will analyze the reach of social media influencers in the front row.
The combined company will be based in New York and rebranded as Launchmetrics, with 1,700 clients spanning 70 countries. Altogether, it will have about 200 employees and offices in Los Angeles, Paris, London, Madrid, Girona and Hong Kong. A Milan office will open in March and the company will enter Japan later this year.
Augure, which collects data on social influencers and helps brands put it to work, will be integrated into the Fashion GPS product line as GPS Publisher, according to Michael Jais, chief executive officer of Augure, who will lead the merged company as ceo. This product will be part of Fashion GPS’ existing offerings that include GPS Sample, GPS Events, GPS Styles and GPS Radar — all of which are designed to streamline the process of sample trafficking, overseeing an online showroom and managing events and fashion shows (from sending out invitations to manning the guest list to seating). Rates vary, with some services costing as little as $5,ooo per year and going up to $500,000 depending on the size of the business and how many of Fashion GPS’ services are used.
Jais and Fashion GPS founder Eddie Mullon, who will serve as president of the combined firm, can pool their resources and coordinate fashion show logistics and follow through by tracking the social reach of attendees. Such data can help brands better bring their products to market, whether this means accelerating the production cycle, activating relevant influencers during a launch or increasing internal efficiency.
“It is now critical for brands to stay ahead of trends, quickly bring product to market, create exposure with the right timing and be able to measure how it impacts their business,” Mullon said. “Through this product, you can see the impact to the consumer. These people sat in the room, and not only do they have an audience, but we can tell you who the audience is and how they’re engaging.”
Mullon said the overwhelming majority of brands that participate in New York Fashion Week are using his company’s technology “in some way as part of their show process.” The firm, which has more than 300 clients, partnered with Mercedes-Benz in 2010 to simplify and connect all elements of fashion week. Fashion GPS also helps brands launch their products and manage their supply chain.
Augure, founded in 2002, tracks 200 million people and helps brands identify relevant influencers. Jais said the firm analyzes “influence” by three key metrics: exposure, or audience; echo, or how much an individual has been retweeted (or linked to) and share of voice, or the area they speak to.
“Data enables brands to accelerate their launch to market products and enables them to maximize their exposure thanks to influencers,” Jais said. “It’s not about who is an influencer — it’s the value of them and how a brand can identify their value. To understand the value and measure it, you have to consolidate the channels.”
Fashion GPS has raised $4.8 million and Augure, which declined to say how much it’s raised overall, closed a round of $16 million in March. Additional fund-raising under the Launchmetrics umbrella is planned for next year.