The startup behind online service Cameo tripled its valuation to more than $1 billion after raising more capital, reflecting the hot market for platforms that help celebrities and content creators make money from their fan bases.
Baron App Inc. said Tuesday it completed a $100 million funding round led by e.Ventures with participation from new investors such as SoftBank Group Corp.’s Vision Fund 2, professional skateboarder Tony Hawk, United Talent Agency and Alphabet Inc.’s venture-capital arm GV. Baron App was valued at around $300 million in 2019 after raising $50 million.
Cameo launched four years ago and it enables celebrities to sell personalized videos and messages to fans. The platform has attracted those not currently in the limelight—like Brian Baumgartner of NBC’s “The Office” and octogenarian pop singer Neil Sedaka—as well as a range of others from Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas and former White House press secretary Sean Spicer to rock legend Melissa Etheridge and famous animals such as Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s hippo Fiona.
“My D-list celebrity might be your favorite person in the world,” Steven Galanis, chief executive and co-founder of Cameo, said in an interview, adding that those informal list ratings aren’t relevant in today’s entertainment landscape. “We’re tapping into this. The definition of fame has totally changed.”
Cameo celebrities charge from as little as $5 to more than $2,500 for each recorded message, which Mr. Galanis said are mostly bought as gifts for special occasions like someone’s birthday. Other times they have been purchased to break up with a romantic partner or to play tricks on the celebrity messengers. Some Cameo videos have gone viral on social media, such as one in which singer Smokey Robinson mispronounced the Jewish holiday Hanukkah.