CloudPeeps, an invite-only marketplace that connects businesses with freelance social media and community professionals, co-founded by Melburnian and serial entrepreneur Kate Kendall, has secured seed funding from US and Australian angels led by Scale Investors, the female focused network. The exact amount remains undisclosed.
A first-of-its-kind marketplace that curates the best remote talent in the community vertical, CloudPeeps launched in beta in January 2014.
It enables any business, be it a start-up or a large brand, to engage pre-qualified “peeps” to quickly and cost effectively build a community and social media presence. All the peeps are extensively vetted and hail from working at companies like Lyft, Zappos and L’Oréal.
Yep, they only let in the crème-de-la-crème here…
There are currently 200 freelancers, most of them US-based, with a few Australians as well.
What gap in the market is CloudPeeps filling?
Kendall identified the need for CloudPeeps when she was running respected community and professional event discovery guide, The Fetch.
Because she lacked the resources to hire full-time employees or afford agencies, Kendall had a hard time finding find reliable, knowledgeable and flexible help.
Now with the future of work becoming more and more distributed as well as optimised for independents, trusted marketplaces like CloudPeeps are well placed for the boom.
In fact, a recent PwC report The Future of Work – A journey to 2022 exploring how new technologies, data analytics and social networks are heavily impacting how we communicate, collaborate and work identifies flexibility as key.
On a related note, lead angel for Scale Investors, Renata Cooper also pointed out that as Frost & Sullivan recently noted, by 2020, there will be over five billion internet users living a connected life deeply embedded into our daily activities.
“CloudPeeps is riding this transformative wave by helping brands of all sizes build conversations and create meaningful connections in the community. They have phenomenal products that are unique, progressive, cost effective and deliver results.”
Over 50 customers have used CloudPeeps to date, Scale Investors being one of them.
Kendall, who is now the CloudPeeps CEO, met her co-founder Shala Burroughs at Women Innovate Mobile accelerator in New York where Burroughs was an executive director.
Kendall stated that while they ended up raising funds from New York and San Francisco angels as well, she was particularly excited about bringing their deal to Australia for Scale.
“Laura and the team have shown such commitment and support to female founders here, and I was impressed by the group’s speed, sophistication and global approach,” she said. “Shala and I are really proud to have Scale as backers and believers in what we’re building.”
Scale Investors CEO, Laura McKenzie remarked that they are excited about the calibre of co-investors Kate has attracted to this fundraising round from New York and Silicon Valley. “She has a fantastic reputation in the market.”
Highlighting the progress of women in business
This milestone for CloudPeeps also highlights today’s trend of more and more women entering business and likewise, more funding becoming available specifically to those women who choose to become entrepreneurs.
Scale Investors is a female focused angel investor network, inspired by US based Golden Seeds, and with support from the Victorian Government.
Founded by Susan Oliver, Carol Schwartz and Annette Kimmitt and launched in July 2013, Scale has invested almost $2 million in four women led businesses to date.
Candida Brush, the lead author of the Diana Report, recently published in the US, concluded that there is an enormous untapped investment opportunity for venture capitalists smart enough to look at the number and fund women entrepreneurs.
“Only a small portion of early-stage investment is going to women entrepreneurs, yet our data suggests that venture capital-funded businesses with women on the executive team perform better on multiple dimensions,” she said.
“The venture capital community, therefore, may be missing good investment opportunities by not investing in women entrepreneurs.”