And in a market bullish on software as a service, Performance Horizon uses a hybrid SaaS-performance model. Brands pay a monthly fee and payouts based on performance. And like Salesforce, Performance Horizon created APIs that allow for flexible use of its platform.
Performance Horizon hopes to capitalize on growth in the affiliate marketing space. Cowley noted the affiliate marketing industry has grown from $10 billion market two years ago to a $20 billion one because of “shadow affiliate” relationships.
For example, a partnership between a travel search engine like Kayak and a hotel or airline is often managed by the brand’s meta-search team, not the affiliate team. But because those relationships are held to similar performance metrics, brands benefit when they add them into a platform like Performance Horizon.
“They still need a system globally to connect, manage and provide the payment mechanisms,” Cowley said.
Despite its growth, the affiliate marketing space tends to be quieter and less hyped than display advertising and programmatic. Cowley said that’s a case of underestimation. His company has great insight into the end of the customer journey, he claimed, which will become even more valuable as the industry ties top-of-funnel marketing to conversions.
“We might be the dark horse in that race,” Cowley said. “We deal in things being bought and shipped. We have a huge global database of information on enterprises we could connect to provide that view.”
Performance Horizon has raised a total of $32 million. It raised its last round, a $10 million Series B, in September 2014.