Changes in the digital ad market offer opportunity for Orlando influencer startup Statusphere (by Alex Soderstrom)

Before 2020, it wasn’t uncommon for West Coast investors to stop founder Kristen Wiley mid-pitch when she mentioned her startup was based in Orlando.

“They said, ‘I don’t want you to waste my time, because you’re in Florida,’” Wiley told Orlando Inno.

However, that perception is changing quickly, Wiley added. The Sunshine State, Miami especially, in the past two years caught the attention of Silicon Valley executives and investors. This makes investors in California, the center of U.S. venture capital, more open to investing in Wiley’s firm, Statusphere Inc. In fact, a majority of the company’s investors today are from the San Francisco Bay Area.

Statusphere connects companies with influencers who best align with the firm’s marketing goals and target audience, a service Wiley said will be more valuable in 2022 after a big shakeup in the digital advertising space. The version of Apple’s iOS operating system released last year limits advertisers’ abilities to track iPhone users’ activity across apps. That may force some companies to explore new marketing avenues.

Meanwhile, the company is growing fast. Statusphere employed 10 people when it became a remote company in March 2020, and it employs 50 workers today. In addition, the firm tripled its revenue between third-quarter 2020 and third-quarter 2021, Wiley said.

How has Orlando’s technology and startup ecosystem progressed since you started Statusphere? We have a long way to go. At least we’re heading in the right direction. One benefit of a post-Covid world is Florida and other markets are open to Bay Area investors. There’s nothing stopping Orlando if they get their stuff together. Miami and Tampa are not competitors; we can band together to show what we can do.