Eearlier this year, 18-year-old Anna Shumate lived with her family in the city of Grosse Ile with 10,000 people in Michigan. Ready to continue, her manager paid $ 5,000 for the high school football star to collaborate with Snoop Dogg on PearPop, a platform that connects TikTok users to famous collaborations. She switched the video of her brushing and shaking her hair like in a Pantene commercial. Using TikTok’s duet feature that allows authors to create parallel videos, Snoop responded from a room full of smoke, “Swing your hair! There you go, girl! “The video garnered an incredible 900,000 likes. Shumate’s number of TikTok followers exploded from 18,000 to 130,000 overnight – there are 10 million today.
“Before PearPop, your social capital was locked; you just posted and hoped the algorithm picked you up – there was no way to step on stage with other people and amplify their content, “says Cole Mason, 24-year-old co-founder and CEO of PearPop.” With PearPop, creators can monetize authentic content and help other talents get the spotlight. ”
Together with Mason, the company was founded by lawyer who turned into entrepreneur Spencer Markel and top talent manager Guy Oseary, known for co-founding Sound Ventures with Ashton Kutcher, as well as leading careers of superstars like U2 and Madonna. Today, PearPop announced that it has raised a $ 16 million Series A, and $ 10 million was brought in by Alexis Ohanian from the movie Seven Seven Six. The remaining $ 6 million came from other traditional investors such as Bessemer Venture Partners, Sound Ventures and Slow Ventures, as well as from an impressive number of celebrities. The stellar funding circle included Chainsmokers, Amy Schumer, Gary Vaynerchuk, Diddy, Tyga, Kevin Hart, Kevin Durant, Mark Cuban, Marshmello, Snoop Dogg and Weeknd. TikToka stars Griffin Johnson, Josh Richards and MrBeast also joined the circle.
“There’s this massive ecosystem with so many creative, talented people looking for ways to help each other and help each other,” says Ohanian, who led PearPop’s fundraising. “There’s a lot of inefficiency right now because it’s the best way to create virality before PearPop used very outdated systems like email. I’ve been fortunate to see opportunities in my career as a founder and as an investor where you give people control, you give them a real platform – and big things usually happen. “
Although PearPop was only launched in January, it has already attracted more than 100,000 users curious about investing in impact. Creators selling collaborations on PearPop include household names with millions of followers like Loren Gray, Snoop Dogg and Shaq, as well as small creators like Keeny Kelly with a relatively small number of 451,000.
On the web platform, users purchase a collaboration with that talent by submitting an original audio or video that the talent can use in their own content or comment. Each PearPop creator has a minimum bid price for a collaboration (Snoop ranges from $ 250 for a comment), but the customer pays nothing until the collaboration offer and proposal is accepted. Talent can accept or decline suggestions after watching suggested videos or listening to the original audio. However, if talent declines the offer, the customer can repeat the offer for a higher check – plus for customers with cash and a deep desire for virality.
Mason’s deep desire has always been to become a self-created man. After spending his childhood in house-to-door wooden crosses, hacking in his hometown of Arlington, Texas, Mason moved to New York at the age of 18, to begin a modeling career. Despite being represented by Ford Models, Mason quickly realized that he could make more money as a club promoter – getting paid to bring hungry people to nightclubs to boost his reputation. Mason learned that success as a constantly handsome man boiled down to someone’s web; Having more followers means more social power and more payout than brands. So Mason moved to Los Angeles to monetize other people’s networks for future influencers – which will become PearPop – 2019.
At a party in West Hollywood in 2019, he ran into Spencer Markel, then co-founder and CEO of children’s toy company Cubcoats. Although they were 13 years older than Mason, the two were connected by mutual ties and Mason’s idea of cashing in on the credibility of the creator. Markel joined the company as a co-founder a few months later and began discussing the idea with his friend Guy Oseary, who was looking for a platform like PearPop and quickly joined as a third co-founder.
“Pearpop is the first platform that allows talents to cash in on their social capital by helping other talents,” says Oseary, 24 years older than its CEO. “Everybody wins, which is why I jumped in to get involved.”
Pearpop earns by getting 20% of the transactions on the platform. So far, there have been thousands of proposals on the platform – users have bid up to $ 10,000 for collaboration. The 20-person company plans to spend the new funds on expanding the team, as well as adding Instagram, YouTube and Clubhouse to its platforms.
“It equalizes conditions by giving everyone access,” says investor Moe Shalizi, Marshmell’s manager and 2019 30 Under 30 Musical Alumni, who is most excited about PearPop’s ability to mediate brand-creator relationships. “People can compile budgets based on creator prices – it’s like a custom menu.”
With its list of Silicon Valley investors, entertainment, sports and music, PearPop intends to rewrite the way creators make money and create their followers. “There’s this huge ecosystem of creators and talent who want to help each other, and there’s a huge inefficiency,” Ohanian says. “We will see the fragmentation and democratization of fame.”