Pearpop is turning social-media capital into real dollars — and the startup has banked $16 million to build out its marketplace for buying and selling social collaborations among creators.
The total includes $10 million in Series A financing led by Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian’s Seven Seven Six with participation from Bessemer Venture Partners as well as $6 million in prior seed financing co-led by Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseary’s Sound Ventures and VC firm Slow Ventures, with participation from Atelier Ventures and Chapter One Ventures.
Pearpop also has a slew of angel investors spanning actors, music artists, athletes and entrepreneurs. They include Amy Schumer, The Chainsmokers, Diddy, Gary Vaynerchuk, Kevin Durant, Kevin Hart, Mark Cuban, Marshmello, Moe Shalizi, Michael Gruen, Rich Miner, Snoop Dogg, and The Weeknd along with social media stars like Griffin Johnson and Josh Richards.
Pearpop debuted in October 2020 for TikTok creators, who can use the site to buy and sell duets, comments, or the use of the TikTok sound feature.
Since its launch, Pearpop says it has attracted nearly 10,000 celebs and creators including Heidi Klum, Snoop Dogg, TikTok/Instagram star Loren Gray, pro skater Tony Hawk and Shaquille O’Neal. Together, creators on the platform have a combined audience of more than 1 billion followers.
“We want all the best talent in the world using our platform,” said CEO Cole Mason. Pearpop plans to extend the collaboration marketplace to other social networks, including Instagram, in the near future.
Pricing for the collabs is set by each individual creator, and Pearpop takes a 25% cut of each transaction.
The price tags vary: Loren Gray, for example, charges $500 for a song duet and $50 for a comment. Snoop Dogg asks $5,000 for a duet and $1,500 for him to use a sound from another TikTok creator in a post. Meanwhile, popular TikTok creator Noah Beck lists $10,000 for a duet and $20,000 for a sound collab.
Pearpop was founded by Mason, a former model repped by Ford Models, alongside investor/entrepreneur Spencer Markel, and music manager Guy Oseary, whose clients include Madonna and U2.
The service isn’t designed to deliver celebrity shout-outs, like Cameo. Rather, Pearpop was built for up-and-coming creators to boost their profile (i.e. follower counts and views) by pairing up with a bigger personality.
“Pearpop was the first time I’d seen talent use their socials and help other talent to monetize,” Oseary said. “What I was blown away by was, everyone ended up doing well. The talent paying talent to be heard or be seen, that worked for them. And a lot better content was being posted to TikTok from us.”
Added Oseary, “You could pay a platform to get yourself randomly out there [through] a sponsored post — but this is so much cooler.”
The idea for Pearpop came from Mason’s realization that there was a gap in the market: There wasn’t a marketplace for creators “to monetize through simple, authentic collaborations that are mutually beneficial.”
Talent agencies that have adopted Pearpop in support of their clients include Talent X, Get Engaged, Next Step Talent and The Fuel Injector.
In the next few months, Pearpop plans to launch apps for iOS and Android (currently it’s web-only), which will provide better notifications and features like a dashboard for creators to track collaborations and metrics.
Pearpop has about 20 employees, who have all worked remotely during the pandemic. Mason said the company is hiring people for talent and agency partnerships. “Eventually we’ll get an office in L.A.,” he said.
As for the name of the company, Mason said it’s a pun on “pair”: “I just liked how it sounded.”