‘Conversational Media’ Company Holler Raises $36 Million in Series B

By Jemima McEvoy Saturday, April 10, 2021

Holler has raised $36 million in a Series B round. The New York-based startup partners with companies like Venmo, the payment app owned by PayPal, and The Meet Group to enhance the messaging experience. This is the most significant funding round to date for the self-branded “conversational media” as it hopes to be on the precipice of major growth.

A woman using a smartphone in her kitchen.

What Is Holler?

The company was initially launched in 2016 as a news and video content app by founder Travis Montaque, who now serves as CEO of the business. Staying at least partially on these lines, the startup has evolved into a hub of technology and creativity that provides messaging enhancements for all sorts of companies. One of the main draws of Holler is its reliance on technology — namely artificial intelligence (AI) technology which provides users with contextually based recommendations while they are typing.

For example, Venmo users will recognize the experience of paying their roommate for “electric” and seeing a lightning bolt emoji or gif pop up on the screen. “It seemed bizarre that we haven’t seen much innovation in the text messaging experience since the first text message was sent in 1992,” said Montaque, positioning his company as the solution.

According to TechCrunch, Holler reaches 75 million users each month through all of the different companies it serves. The messaging startup said it reached just 19 million a year ago — a sign of its growth. The revenue of the business has grown 226% during this time, Holler said.

Money and Investors

It’s not just the revenue of Holler that’s grown over the past year: the fundraising pool of the company has also exponentially expanded. The $36 million round that closed this month was the biggest round for the business to date. The startup drew the attention of big-name investors, including CityRock Venture Partners and New General Market Partners LLC, which was founded by billionaire entrepreneur Richelieu Dennis. Gaingels, Interplay Ventures, Relevance Ventures, Towerview Ventures, and WorldQuant Ventures also invested in the business in its Series B round.

Prior to this round, Holler had raised a total of $15.4 million, according to Crunchbase. The messaging startup pulled in $1.2 million in a seed round in 2014 and then another $1.6 million two years later. The second biggest round of fundraising for the tech company to date was in December 2017, when Holler gleaned $12.6 million from a Series A round led by Hatzimemos/Libby, a New York-based venture studio.

The Future of the Company

Holler said it plans to use the money from its latest funding round to invest in research, engineering, and development around conversational media. The messaging startup will continue to work on its Suggestion AI Technology, which has recently been adopted by major platforms, including The Meet Group, a portfolio of popular dating apps that includes Skout and Tagged. The startup also said it has a “strong pipeline of new partners” lined up that want to work with its business.

The business is hopeful about its future given the success of the past year and these new opportunities. “We’ve spent the last few years finessing our technology and building the foundation to take advantage of the moment when the market was ready to embrace it on a broader scale,” said Montaque in his announcement of the funding round. “In 2020, that work has started to pay dividends as the influence and potential of conversational media gained momentum with both investors and brands.”

About the Author

Headshot of Jemima McEvoy

Jemima is a journalist who enjoys reporting on business, particularly small business and entrepreneurship.

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