With $3 million in capital secured, Torchlite ignites growth plan

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Indianapolis-based Torchlite, the maker of a platform for finding and managing on-demand digital marketing talent, has landed $3 million in funding.

In total, company officials said they have raised $5.5 million in venture and growth capital since the company’s founding in 2015.

Among the participants in the most recent funding round are existing investors, including former Salesforce Marketing Cloud CEO Scott McCorkle—who is executive chairman at Torchlite—and new investor Salesforce Ventures.

The capital, Torchlite officials said, will be used to expand the company's tech-enabled network of digital marketing freelancers and to hire additional sales and marketing staffers as well as more developers.

Torchlite currently has 16 full-time employees, who are all based in Indianapolis. Company officials haven't yet determined how many people they will hire yet this year or next year.

More than 400 freelancers use its platform, company officials said. That number has nearly doubled in the last year. 

Companies that use Torchlite’s platform to find freelancers include Cummins Inc., Eli Lilly & Co., Elanco, Jiffy Lube, Allegion and Hc1.com.

“Torchlite was created to enable every company to unlock the value of its marketing technology by making it simple to manage highly sought after certified freelance digital marketing experts, ” said Susan Marshall, Torchlite’s founder and CEO. “We are excited to welcome Salesforce Ventures as an investor.”

The company has grown faster than initially projected, Marshall told IBJ, with revenue doubling from 2016 to 2017.

“Right out of the gate, the response was really great. We hit recurring revenue of $1 million within six months,” Marshall said. “We have a proven product market fit. Now we want to accelerate sales and marketing and expand beyond the Midwest.”

Edelman Research reports that over half of the workforce is expected to be made up of freelancers in the next 10 years, and 57 percent of companies are using freelancers regularly.

While Torchlite has freelancers “in almost every state,” most of the company's customers are currently in the Midwest, Marshall said, adding that the goal is to grow the company nationwide. 

Torchlite is targeting companies with more than $100 million in annual revenue, she said.

Torchlite’s platform provides large organizations with a private marketplace of pre-approved, on-demand experts—from technical architects to content creators and writers—assembled to meet the needs of the company. By accessing their own network of specialists, businesses can extend their marketing teams, fill critical gaps and transform their digital marketing, Marshall explained.

“Torchlite’s on-demand freelance approach empowers us to swiftly flex to meet the demands in our marketplace,” Carole Casto, vice president of marketing and communications at Cummins Inc., said in a statement. “The ability to access a pre-approved roster of creative experts provides tremendous value as we plan and execute our digital marketing strategy.”

Marshall thinks Torchlite has significant growth potential.

“As digital marketing becomes increasingly specialized, many companies are turning to on-demand, independent consultants to fill gaps on their teams,” Marshall said.

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