CHICAGO, June 25, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Cameo, a startup that connects fans directly with their favorite pop culture personalities, has closed $50 million in Series B financing led by Kleiner Perkins with participation by The Chernin Group, Spark Ventures, Bain Capital and Series A lead investor Lightspeed Venture Partners. The company has built a talent roster of 15,000 athletes, performers, social media influencers and other VIPs who have fulfilled 275,000 personalized video shoutouts just 26 months after launch.
The new funds will underwrite enhancements to the Cameo platform along with aggressive expansion of the company's domestic and international footprint. Plans call for significantly increasing headcount at a 20-person Los Angeles office that opened in February, ramping up the company's existing operations in the UK and Australia, and opening key new markets in Europe, Asia and South America. The company also has 66 employees at its headquarters in Chicago.
Famous Faces on Demand
Cameo allows consumers to book celebrities to create personalized video shoutouts ranging from birthday and good luck messages to prom invitations, marriage proposals, baby gender reveals, job offers and pep talks, and send them to recipients' smartphones. Choices run the gamut from NBA all-time leading scorer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and NFL Hall of Famer Troy Aikman to Sean Astin, Bella Thorne, Stormy Daniels, Real Housewives of New York's Sonja Morgan, former NSYNC'er Lance Bass, Charlie Sheen, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Caitlyn Jenner, Shark Tank's Kevin O'Leary aka "Mr. Wonderful" and thousands more. Influencer Evan Breen has been booked over 4,000 times.
Talent sets their own prices from $5 to $2,500, split them with Cameo on a 75%/25% basis, and gain additional exposure when recipients post the resulting videos and the reactions to them on their social media feeds. Rapper Snoop Dogg, Real Housewives of New York's Bethenny Frankel and other participating talent are such enthusiastic supporters that they have also invested in the company.
"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 and broaden their reach and impact. This has resulted in explosive growth for the company," said Ilya Fushman, partner, Kleiner Perkins. "But what excites us the most are the longer-term opportunities for the platform to create new types of engagement and consumer happiness. We couldn't be more excited to welcome Cameo to the Kleiner Perkins portfolio."
Cameo's hypergrowth, successful revenue model, strong talent retention, and broad market recognition including being named one of the "50 Most Genius Companies of 2018" by Time magazine combined to drive strong investor interest just months after the close of the company's $12.5 million Series A round in November 2018. Kleiner Perkins' role as anchor investor also raised the profile of the funding effort.
"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 international expansion," said Cameo CEO Steven Galanis, who launched the company with Blencowe and CTO Devon Townsend in 2017. "This Series B investment will help supercharge our growth and allow us to continue to build out a world-class team. We look forward to making millions more around the globe smile, laugh, and cry."
"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. "With their team and the new money behind them, they're on their way to going worldwide."
"I've spent my entire career interacting with fans, and Cameo's approach lets me do it in an entirely new way that is really having an impact on people," said legendary NFL quarterback Brett Favre, who has served as an active advisor to the company since joining the Cameo talent lineup last September. "They had a great idea, they executed it well, and we're seeing the results in the bottom line."
Cameo's $50 million Series B round closed on June 17.
Cameo is the first service enabling consumers to book personalized video greetings from celebrities. In just two years, the company has built a talent portfolio of more than 15,000 VIPs and fulfilled more than 275,000 requests ranging from birthday and good luck messages to prom invitations, marriage proposals, baby gender reveals and beyond. For more information, visit www.cameo.com.