MagicBrief conjures up $2m for creative marketing tools

MagicBrief conjures up $2m for creative marketing tools

MagicBrief co-founders Dan Nolan (left) and George Howes (right)

"There’s a growing number of tech products that focus on analytics, tracking and attribution, but the most impactful variable, the creative itself, has largely been forgotten when it comes to marketing technology," says MagicBrief co-founder and CEO George Howes.

Vimeo founder Zach Klein and Eucalyptus founder Tim Doyle are among the investors who have taken part in a $2 million pre-seed raise led by Blackbird VC and Archangel Ventures for MagicBrief, a Sydney-based tech startup that assists marketing teams with their storyboards, briefs and libraries of social media ads.

Other investors include UsTwo founder Matt Miller, Spriggy founder Alex Badran, and Halter founder Craig Piggott, who like Doyle is a former employer of Howes. 

The funds will go towards hiring MagicBrief's founding team and refining its product offering, including the beta-stage MagicAI that breaks down other brands' ads for the user.

Founded in November 2022, the platform is not yet a year old but already has thousands of users from hundreds of high-performance marketing teams around the world, with its biggest market being the US. Customers include Eucalyptus, Solawave, Lyka, Darkroom, and Vice.

"With more big brands moving away from an agency model and bringing their creative teams in-house, I noticed that they were still adopting outdated creative processes, the same workflows they had learnt from traditional advertising agencies," says Howes.

"Most team leads don’t really want to think about workflows or the creative process: they just need a high output of proven concepts that can generate enough sales so they can afford to take bigger creative swings."

Following his stint as creative director at Eucalyptus, Howes saw an opportunity to help modern marketing teams level up their marketing efforts and teamed up with co-founder Dan Nolan to bring MagicBrief to life.

Blackbird general partner Nick Crocker says creative is the highest leverage part of performance marketing, and MagicBrief helps people pull that lever.

"George has already left an indelible mark on the Blackbird portfolio having helped build an early version of Halter's app, and being creative director at Eucalyptus. Alongside Dan, and the team, we are already seeing some magic in what the team's built," says Crocker.

The platform itself rolls three key elements into one product, sourcing inspiration for brands to find their voice and aesthetic, conceptualising to build ideas that can convert sales, and briefing to give creators such as influencers, writers, or managers of celebrity endorsements a suite of brand knowledge, values, as well as creative guidelines, all in the one place.

"Digital marketing is constantly having to evolve. Evolve to dodge pain points that are created by, say SEO changes, or a social media company’s policies being updated. Or even a new competitor that can pop up on the block literally overnight," says MagicBrief backer and Eucalyptus CEO Tim Doyle.

"A bunch of creatives sitting in a room together concepting ideas just isn’t fast enough these days for many brands to keep their heads above water, and it’s definitely not an effective use of modern marketing budgets that rely on eschewing any excess spending in favour of known successes. This often leads to safe, but bland creative work."

Another major factor for MagicBrief’s successful launch, according to Howes, is timing.

"Startups and established brands alike are responding to economic pressures; tightening their belts," the co-founder explains.

"Having a smaller team of creatives in-house is low-hanging fruit, if they can get it right. Platforms like Tiktok are driving an overwhelming push towards short-form interest-based video creative, and requiring a growing number of these assets that many companies are struggling to keep up with.

"The algorithms behind most major social media platforms reward better creative work with more viewers and hence more profit for the brand. MagicBrief takes those learnings and reverse engineers them for the brand’s sake.

"All creative output costs money. With MagicBrief, you can cut straight through the fat to what is proven to work, and have it live within hours."

This latest raise follows a quarter when pre-seed funding bucked the trend of a year-on-year downturn in venture capital funding overall in Australia, according to a recent report published by Cut Through Venture. The keen interest in MagicBrief is in contrast to a decline in popularity amongst investors for supporting marketing-tech companies - a category that fell three spots to 10th position in Cut Through Venture's report. 

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