Pearpop raises $10 million to turn influencer 'collabs' into a money-making venture

  • Pearpop adds $10 million in new funding as it looks to turn influencer “collabs” into a business.
  • The startup has raised $16 million to-date from investors like Seven Seven Six and Atelier Ventures.
  • Filming content with other creators has become an important growth strategy in the industry.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Creator “collab” startup Pearpop has raised $10 million in new funding, the company said on Thursday. 

The Series A round, which was led by Alexis Ohanian’s Seven Seven Six with participation from Bessemer Venture Partners, brings Pearpop’s total funding to $16 million since its launch in October. Earlier investors include Atelier Ventures and Guy Oseary’s Sound Ventures (Oseary is also a Pearpop cofounder).

Pearpop’s product is simple. It’s a marketplace for TikTok creators to pay — or get paid — to collaborate on content with other users.

A user can pay to have their TikTok video appear in a side-by-side “duet” with an influencer they want to be associated with. They can also compensate a creator to comment on one of their videos, or request that an influencer use their “sound” in a video. Pearpop takes a 25% cut of transactions made on its platform. The company has no business relationship with TikTok.

Current Pearpop users include TikToker Noah Beck, music artist Snoop Dogg, and basketball star Shaquille O’Neal, whose Pearpop profile says he’s donating any video earnings to charity. All three charge thousands of dollars for a single TikTok duet. 

“When it comes to TikTok itself, there hasn’t been a specific app that just focuses on engagement with people that are interested in using your platform to improve their [platform],” Esteban Sainz, a 22-year-old college student with 1.7 million TikTok followers, told Insider. Sainz charges $100 for a duet, $70 to include a sound in his videos, and $10 to comment on another creator’s TikTok post. 

Pearpop said it has around 10,000 users and about 20 employees. The company declined to share its revenue numbers. It plans to use its new capital to hire more influencer acquisition team members, improve its algorithm and tech, and eventually offer support for other platforms like Instagram.

“TikTok really came in with collaborations and they led the way on that,” Pearpop cofounder and CEO Cole Mason, 24, told Insider. “All the other social platforms are now getting on the wheel of adding those collaborative features in. And we’re creating a way where talent can monetize authentically.”

Cole Mason, 24, is the cofounder and CEO of Pearpop.Pearpop.

Pearpop’s product offering taps into a couple emerging trends in the creator economy. First, it gives fans a way to interact directly with internet stars — a desire that other companies like Cameo and NewNew are also finding ways to monetize. And second, it offers a tool for lower-follower-count creators to potentially grow their audience by paying for screen time with more famous influencers.

Filming content with other creators has become an important growth strategy in the industry, with some influencers moving into “collab” houses together so they can cross-promote each other’s accounts. Pearpop’s marketplace turns this type of collaboration into a buyable product.

“In the creator economy, everyone does have something to offer to everyone else, and everyone is in a position to help someone else,” said Li Jin, founder and managing partner at Atelier Ventures. “Larger creators can help smaller creators get exposure and help them grow by doing these TikTok-native duets or using their music.”

“They’re enabling the long-tail of the creator economy to be able to monetize,” Jin said.

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