Talenthouse, the talent crowdsourcing startup that aims to connect well-known artists with talented (but not so well known) collaborators, announced a new round of funding today. The company raised $4.2 million from a series of high-profile investors, including director and film producer Brett Ratner, Jean Piggozzi, Estée Lauder chairman William Lauder, Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors, 3TS Cisco Growth Fund and a number of angel investors. The company raised a total of $15.1 million in two earlier rounds.
This round, the company told us earlier today, was not meant to be a “big raise” but should simply be seen as an investment by a group of people that identified Talenthouse as “the first platform for peer-to-peer engagement at scale.”
The site was founded by Amos Pizzey and Roman Scharf, the co-founder of VoIP platform Jajah (Jajah was acquired by Telefonica in 2009). After launching in 2009, Talenthouse quickly made a name for itself after artists like Stan Lee, Soundgarden and others started using it. The company says that it currently has about 1.5 million members.
Besides announcing its new funding, Talenthouse also today announced the global launch of its Social Engagement Engine which gives marketers the ability to launch customized campaigns on the site and attach their brands to content. The idea here is to provide a link between web influencers and content creators and brands – something that’s obviously long been the Holy Grail of marketers.
With this new platform, marketers can, for example, put out a call for entries to Talenthouse’s community. The members of the community can then submit their entries on vote on entries. These votes will then be broadcast to Twitter and/or Facebook with, of course, the name of the brand either directly or indirectly attached to this.
Microsoft’s Bing, for example, collaborated with Theophilus London and invited Talenthouse members to remix one of the artist’s tracks. Nikon used the platform to put out a call for bands to perform at SXSW this year. In total, the company says, this campaign generated over half a million conversations and reached 19 million people. A typical Talenthouse campaign, says the company, delivers about 18 million peer-to-peer impressions (gathering this kind of data with real precision is rather hard, so take these numbers with a grain of salt).