• James Creech

An Exciting New Chapter Begins

Nearly six years after launching Paladin, I'm delighted to share that we’re being acquired by Brandwatch! It’s been an amazing journey full of ups and downs, twists and turns – much more than can be captured in a single post. But I’d like to take a moment to reflect on some of the key milestones and acknowledge the incredible people who helped us get here.

Starting Out

When Thomas Kramer, Ole Morten Amundsen, and I founded Paladin in April 2016, we set out to help creator networks automate their business processes, from discovering talent to managing their creator relationships and streamlining payment calculations. These were the exciting early days of the creator economy; we were building software to empower the next generation of creative professionals and the companies that supported them.

As our business grew, we recognized the enormous impact that these online creators had on their audience. At a time when traditional interruptive advertising was becoming less and less effective, social media creators were producing sponsored content that crashed brand websites and sold out products in minutes. The opportunity was clear, so we refocused our efforts on influencer marketing, building out a comprehensive suite for influencer discovery, campaign management, and reporting.

We spent the next few years integrating new social platforms, building the team, and expanding our customer base. Meanwhile, the influencer marketing industry continued its explosive growth. We’ve witnessed evolutions in creator monetization, the advent of social commerce, and the beginnings of a new era in web technologies, all of which offer the promise of greater freedom and ownership to the rapidly growing creative class.

Fast forward to today, and Paladin operates globally, serving customers in 30+ countries across 5 continents. Our software is trusted by the world's largest brands and agencies, including Sony Music, Henkel, Webedia, Gushcloud, and Veloce Esports. And we track millions of influencer profiles across every country and every language.

Enter Brandwatch: Great People, Great Product, Great Fit

I met Brandwatch Founder Giles Palmer late last year and was immediately impressed by his team and the products they’d built. We shared a common vision for the future of social media and influencer marketing, not to mention a mutual drive to help our customers maximize their social marketing efforts.

The more we talked about it, the clearer our shared mission and purpose became. Brandwatch was the perfect partner to not only accelerate our growth, but to help us realize a broader vision of unifying the entire social media experience. Together, Paladin and Brandwatch will offer a complete social marketing suite that incorporates the best in consumer intelligence, social media management, and influencer marketing.

Most of All, Thank You

There’s still so much work to be done, but I’m proud of how far we’ve come. As I reflect on the past six years, I want to thank our customers – many of whom have become dear friends – for believing in us and supporting our journey. We appreciate your trust and will continue our commitment to delivering exceptional customer value as we enter this new chapter.

I'm especially proud of the products we've built, and the great customer experience we provide each day. None of that would be possible without the hard work and dedication of our amazing team – past and present. It has been the greatest honor of my professional life to work alongside you and build something remarkable together.

To those who came before: We’re forever grateful for the early technical contributions of Milovan Zogovic, Sebastian Zuchmanski, and Szymon Kurcab. Thank you to the many others who also made a significant impact on our sales, marketing, product, and engineering efforts in the early days.

To the amazing Paladins who joined along the way: Many of you have been with us for years, some just a few months, but all of you have made your mark. Thank you to Sebastian Wulff, Thai Truong, Trang Nguyen, Max Borysov, Patrycja Slabosz, Rafal Sulowski, Tomasz Kowalewski, Michal Kunert, Wojciech Nowakowski, Kevin Nguyen, Alexandra Teja, Astrid Hernandez, and Mikala Marquis for your hard work to improve our products and delight our customers.

My deepest thanks go out to those who’ve been with us since day one. Paladin would not be what it is today without Jennifer Dagdigian, Josefin Snihs, Michal Lipski, and Silviu Runceanu. When we were first starting out back in April 2016, I wrote the following:

This business has been built by those unwilling to give up. It’s been built by late nights and early mornings, doing things right, and doing the right things. And it’s been built by an uncompromising commitment to excellence – not by following others, but by a focused pursuit on what we do best.

This rings just as true today as it did back then because each of you has embodied these words every day for the past six years. Thank you!

Finally, to my co-founders, Thomas and Ole: Thank you for taking the entrepreneurial leap with me! You two established our strong foundations in product, engineering, and operations and helped build this business brick by brick. You challenged me to be a better leader and inspired a culture of excellence for all of us at Paladin. I couldn’t have asked for better partners.

An Exciting Future Awaits

This isn’t so much an ending as it is a renewed beginning. We’re thrilled to be joining Brandwatch at such a pivotal moment in time and working together to chart the future of social media marketing.

As for me, I’ve worked too hard and care too much about what we’re building to stop now. I’m excited to work alongside Ulrik Bo Larsen and the incredibly capable Brandwatch team to integrate Paladin into the Brandwatch suite, drive continued innovation around influencer marketing technology, and accelerate our future growth.

Looking forward to the adventure ahead!