Lady Gaga Spreads Global Wings as Investors Join Her in Funding Backplane
It's no secret that Lady Gaga is hotly, heavily into social media. Now those spurring on Backplane, her social media campaign which conceives of itself as being home page to the world, have raised around $4.5 million to scale its breadth and fast button its purposes.
Backplane, initially a mysterious startup was significantly staked by Lady Gaga who had hands-on involvement with company development. Troy Carter, Lady Gaga's manager is one of its co-founders. Since last summer other notable backers have piled on to raise the capital, bolster the balance sheet and generate revenue, according to Chief Executive Matthew Michaelsen.
“We’re generating revenue,” said Michaelsen who insisted that costs have been kept sparingly low. Less than $1 million was spent to develop the community platform. On it will be a calendar, e-mail and social networking functions, including Facebook and Twitter. There will be multilingual chat functions and photo sharing and most likely more.
If you check the website, you will see they are heavily into hiring mode.The company which employs 15, currently is hiring about one engineer a week and has offices in both Palo Alto and Los Angeles. Want to work for a Lady Gaga company? They are looking for a special breed of individuals loaded with experience and willing to take some risks. According to Michelsen,
“We’re looking to hire some very senior people right now. If we wanted to recruit the head of product for YouTube, for example we couldn’t go to them and say, ‘We’ve got nine months of capital in the bank.’ They wouldn’t leave their job and join us for that."
Is the risk reward ratio worth It for the new hires? It depends upon their individual circumstances, but working for Backplane could amount to a huge payoff down the road. Investors seem to think so as the funding is falling into place with a convertible note. The solid investors that are participating in the Series A round include Sequoia Capital, Greylock Discovery Fund, Battery Ventures, Formation 8 and Advance/Newhouse Investment Partnership. There are those who are already onboard Backplane with a prior $1.8 million at stake. Some of these are Google Ventures, Founders Fund Angel, Menlo Ventures, SV Angel, i/o Ventures, and various individuals. TomorrowVentures, a venture firm affiliated with Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, invested at the get-go!Continued on the next page