If you are a social media startup, the celebrity endorsement, or lack thereof, can be a make or break deal.
Hours after Toronto-based social video networking platform Keek announced an $18 million dollar cash injection, Kim Kardashian posted a short video to the site, as she has done for months now.
Keek has proven adept at raising cash. The company’s the most recent investment came from AGF Investments, Inc., Pinetree Capital Ltd., and Plazacorp Ventures, with an assist from Cranston Capital. But the adoption of Keek by high-profile social media influencers like the Kardashian klan goes some way to explaining that the site recently added six-million users over a 30 day period recently.
High profile users of Keek, which has been described as video version of Twitter, include singer Jesse McCartney, reality star Kendall Jenner and poor-man’s Bieber, Austin Mahone. Oh, and old guys like Howie Mandel and Adam Carolla.
The new funding brings Keek’s total over a series of funding rounds to $30 million, while its user base explodes through emerging markets in the Middle East and Asia, as well as in South America where the company says it is adding 200,000 users per day.
“Beyond best-in-class technology, consistent stellar growth and great user experience, the thing that impresses me most is the quality of the team and its ability to execute,” says Pinetree Capital CEO Sheldon Inwentash. “Keek has emerged as the leading social video network and is well positioned to translate that into significant revenue streams.”
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Keek’s sharing platform allows users to post 36-second videos, most of which are shot on phones and immediately uploaded, making it akin to a video tweet, and ideal for bandwidth-challenged locales and the capabilities of feature phones, which are still the norm in many places where the service is most popular. While Keek’s visitor numbers are impressive, those who sign up are not just consumers of the content, they are creators of it. Keek boasts more than four-million user-generated videos uploaded each month.
Keek has passed the first and most important test of any social media tool –getting critical mass – and its healthy balance sheet now ensures the Canadian social media player will be around for some time to come. The company is decidedly no longer a boot-strapped startup, and $30-million will go a long way towards determining whether it can fuel the fire of its viral ascension, and hobnob with the likes of social media royalty like Twitter and Pinterest.
$30-million didn’t used to be a lot of cash for a tech startup; many dot-coms would burn through that in a quarter. But with approximately thirty employees Keek is still lean. And with every Kim, Khloe, Courtenay and Jersey Shore ex-pat it adds the less likely that any of its cash reserves will be required to feed a traditional marketing budget.