London-based Mention Me has raised $7m (£5.29m), in a round led by Eight Roads Ventures.

The referral marketing platform had previously been bootstrapped, and the company will now use this money to accelerate growth in the UK and internationally, including to grow the currently 50-strong team.

It will also help the team in developing additional services beyond the referral programmes they currently offer, in a range of 16 languages.

Mention Me was founded in 2013 by entrepreneurs Andy Cockburn and Tim Boughton, who met when they worked at Homeaway. The company aims to utilise ‘word-of-mouth’ referrals to help companies grow.

It provides the technology for its clients to create, AB test, iterate and measure referral campaigns. Mention Me claims to work with over 300 businesses and have introduced over 850,000 new customers to its clients through referrals. It’s customers include FarFetch, Ovo Energy, Ted Baker and ZipCar.

CEO Cockburn said the team is incredible proud to have built Mention Me to be a profitable, fast growing business with a fantastic team. But what’s next? “We’re excited to now be at a point where the next phase of growth requires a steep increase in investment. Eight Roads are the perfect partner for the next stage of our journey, with their in-house expertise and global network,” he said.

He also went on to explain the importance of referral marketing. “Customer referral programmes have emerged as a key channel in the developing world of Trust Marketing. Trust Marketing encourages businesses to actively build up trust with their customers and use it to create long term value.

“Looking to the future, we know that the principle which makes referral so powerful – the trust built on a personal connection – can be used to enhance marketing more generally too,” he concluded.

Alston Zecha, Principal at Eight Roads Ventures, will join the board and said: “At a time when brand trust is low and customer acquisition costs on other platforms are high, Mention Me puts power back in the hands of the customer by rewarding them for referrals. We’ve been excited to see how the platform has allowed brands to create meaningful relationships with existing customers and to attract new customers.

“Andy, Tim and the team have the right blend of experience in large organisations and entrepreneurial spirit to build a leader in this emerging marketing category. They have ambitious growth plans and we look forward to working alongside them as they scale-up and continue on their journey to become the go-to destination for Trust Marketing,” he concluded.