Cameo, the startup that lets users buy video shout-outs from celebrities, has banked $100 million in Series C funding — which the company says gives it a “unicorn” valuation of just over $1 billion.
The investment brings Cameo’s total funding to more than $165 million since it was founded in 2017. Led by investment firm e.ventures, the funding also came from new strategic investors including GV (formerly Google Ventures), Amazon’s Alexa Fund and UTA Ventures; growth investors including SoftBank Vision Fund 2, Valor Equity Partners, and Morgan Stanley’s Counterpoint Global; and several Cameo talent partners, including legendary skateboarder Tony Hawk.
In addition, Cameo’s existing investors — Lightspeed, Kleiner Perkins, Spark Capital, Peter Chernin’s Chernin Group and Origin Ventures — also participated.
To date, Cameo has produced more than 2 million talent videos for fans, with about 80% of those booked as gifts for others (i.e. for birthdays, congratulations, roasts).
In 2020, Cameo claims, it generated about $100 million in gross revenue (up 4.5 times from the year prior), with average order value increasing by about 25% to roughly $70. The company said it delivered 1.3 million messages last year, more than the previous three years combined, and added more than 10,000 new athletes, actors, comedians, musicians, artists, activists and personalities to Cameo. More than 150 Cameo personalities earned at least $100,000 last year, according to the company.
With the new funding, Cameo plans to invest in four main areas: improving the core Cameo experience, introducing new products, reaching new customers and expanding internationally.
In 2021, Cameo plans to expand its product offerings beyond the core video experience with products like Fan Clubs and Cameo Calls. The company also plans to build out its Cameo for Business (C4B) division with more dedicated product offerings and “white glove” service for brands and businesses. And it plans to develop its business for fans and talent in non English-speaking countries; currently, nearly 20% of Cameos are purchased from outside of the U.S.
“The pandemic put extra stress on the already unstable business models supporting talent across sports and entertainment ecosystems,” Cameo cofounder and CEO Steven Galanis said in announcing the funding round. “We exist in an entirely different world today — one in which talent actually want to connect more deeply with their fans, and fans expect unprecedented access to the talent they admire most. This funding will help us create the access and connections that will define the future of the ‘connection economy’ on a global scale.”
With the new funding, e.ventures partner Jonathan Turner is joining Cameo’s board of directors. “Cameo is creating a new category and fundamentally changing the relationship between talent and fans,” Turner said in a statement. “We are at an early stage, but the opportunity is massive. We’re excited to use our international expertise to help Cameo become a global phenomenon.”