Influencer marketing startup Lumanu Inc. has moved its headquarters from Milwaukee to Burlingame, California.
The company was founded in San Francisco in June 2016, but founders Tony Tran and Paul Johnson chose to stay in Milwaukee upon completion of the gener8tor program in fall 2016. Their decision to base the company in Milwaukee was a big win for the city’s burgeoning tech community at the time. Tran, an MIT graduate, was formerly an associate product manager at Google and business analyst at McKinsey & Co. He found out about gener8tor through Bright Cellars co-founder Joe Laurendi at MIT.
Tran and Johnson, who attended Northwestern University and has lived in Chicago throughout the existence of Lumanu, developed an algorithm that connects businesses and brands with influential social media users and bloggers who can help market their product. Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson Inc. was one of Lumanu’s first customers, and it has since added more than 100 brands including Rent the Runway and Benefit Cosmetics.
Lumanu also found investor interest in Milwaukee, closing a $1 million seed funding round in April 2018 with local help. In addition to its equity investment from gener8tor, Lumanu received funding from Milwaukee-based BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation Inc.; former Macy’s chief growth officer Peter Sachse and the Sheboygan-based Sachse Family Fund LLC; and financing and office space from lead investor Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co.’s Cream City Venture Capital fund. Also investing in that round were San Francisco-based 500 Startups and Right Side Capital Management.
Lumanu’s largest office is still in Milwaukee, with four of its 11 employees working out of Cream City Labs at Northwestern Mutual, Tran said. The company also has a Chicago office, and is in the process of moving its Bay Area office to Oakland, he said. Read the full story here.