Cameo is a Chicago-based startup that makes it possible to buy personalized shout-outs from celebrities and influencers. In June 2019 they received $50 million in a round of series B funding led by American venture capitalist firm, Kleiner Perkins. After the injection of funds, the company has increased its valuation from $250 million to $300 million.
The Chicago startup facilitates the relationship between influencers, ranging from Antonio Brown to Gloria Gaynor, and fans. They do this by providing a platform for fans to purchase and customize messages from their favorite celebrity.
“Cameo has struck a chord with consumers by uniquely and genuinely connecting them with the talent and stars they admire. Actors, athletes, comedians, musicians, and celebrities, in turn, have been able to more deeply connect with their audience. They also broaden their reach and impact. This has resulted in explosive growth for the company,” said Ilya Fushman, partner, Kleiner Perkins.
The majority of the celebrities on the platform are less mainstream, which leads to a great diversity of users on both ends of the service. The service can be relatively cheap ranging from costing as little as $5 to $2500.
The series B funding of $50 million directly follows the series A round of $12.5 million closed just last November. The recent round includes investment from The Chernin Group, Spark Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Bain Capital in addition to the Kleiner Perkins, the lead investor.
The new funds are intended to bolster their new Los Angeles office of around 20 employees in addition to their Chicago office of over 60 employees. They also plan on using some of the money to continue their expansion into the UK and Australia, as well as crossing the threshold into other international markets such as Asia, South America, and the remainder of Europe.
“It’s the top of the second inning at Cameo. We have an ambitious roadmap that includes developing new, rich conversation features, bolstering our talent roster in key verticals, and aggressively scaling our global presence. Our co-founder Martin Blencowe, who is British, is even moving back to London to oversee the international expansion,” said Cameo CEO Steven Galanis. Their plans also highlight updating and growing the existing platform.
Devon Townsend, Martin Blencowe, and Steven Galanis, the co-founders of Cameo founded the Chicago startup in 2017 to connect fans to talent. “Cameo is cool and easy to use. Fans love it, talent loves it, I love it, and the size of this funding round shows that investors love it,” said Snoop Dogg, who was a Series A investor and signed onto the company’s talent roster in April.
Their main intentions were to give consumers an effective way of interacting with celebrities that would benefit both parties. Galanis and Townsend both attended Duke University, the alma mater of one of the most important influencers on their platform, Cody Kolodziejzyk. Kolodziejzyk received a BA in Computer Science at the same time as Townsend.
Kleiner Perkins has compiled a formidable portfolio over the last couple of years including Amazon, Google, and Airbnb. They have had a very busy June, participating in 6 additional rounds and leading 3. Across all 6 rounds, they have been a part of, there has been $172.3 million in funding since June First.
For more information, check out their website: https://www.cameo.com/