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ERIE, PA – Zak Stahlsmith, Founder & CEO of ApexDrop, applied to Ben Franklin Technology Partners/CNP ( for funding with the intention of developing a platform that would help lesser-known, but high-quality fashion brands get on the radar of young, female trendsetters. Because of his innovative approach, these young ladies, who tend to have a big network of friends and followers, can now become successful brand advocates or influencers by applying online at

The typical influencer, in the ApexDrop model, is between the ages of 18-29. She may have been the prom or homecoming queen, and she likely went on to college. But, she’s definitely on social media – especially Snapchat and Instagram, and she can show her followers- sometimes thousands of them – the trendy new fashions she’s wearing from brands looking to connect with her audience. In return the brands gets authentic content and honest, constructive feedback on what the market likes or dislikes about their products. This type of valuable, primary market intelligence can cost thousands of dollars if you are using time-consuming focus groups, need to purchase expensive lists, or learn to use complicated marketing software programs.

“We are seeing a drastic expansion in the types of influencers, their use cases, and the scalability of influencer marketing as it becomes more automated,” Stahlsmith explained. “Traditional ‘insta-famous’ bloggers or YouTube stars were managed via spreadsheets and used in one-off campaigns to help drive brand awareness. We are now seeing everyday consumers with a highly engaged circle of friends being used in an ‘always on’ methodology to help with a range of business objectives including customer acquisition, loyalty/retention and consumer insights.”

To date, the Ben Franklin program has invested more than $170,000 in ApexDrop. Liz Wilson, Director of Marketing for Ben Franklin commented, “In just over a year, ApexDrop has attracted relationships with brands including Fossil, Gigi New York, and NY&C, and has initiated several successful campaigns that attracted thousands of influencers. Recently, the company also began offering an engaged social follower service, Instapresence™ that helps their customers reach a guaranteed number of engaged followers on Instagram or Twitter. We are excited about the company’s progress and wish them the best moving forward.”

Media Contact: Jenna Tobin 814-459-6084 –