Singapore-based talent agency Gushcloud International announced that it has raised US$11 million in a funding round led by GDP Ventures.
This investment will help the group expand its digital celebrity representation business in US, China and other new markets.
Other participating international investors include financial giants, KB Investments (KB Financial Holdings), Golden Equator Capital and Korea Investment Partners (via GEC-KIP Fund), and Kejora Ventures, along with strategic individual investors such as American entrepreneur and hip hop mogul, Russell Simmons.
This is Gushcloud’s first round of funding after its co-founders bought back the company from previous parent Yello Digital Marketing Global.
The group also announced key movements in its senior management to prepare for an aggressive phase of international growth.
Co-founders Althea Lim and Vincent Ha are promoted to Group CEO and Chairman of the Board respectively.
Ng Siang Hang takes on the role of Global Brands Director, to head brand advertising and marketing in America, while Oddie Randa and Chloe Lim step up to lead Gushcloud in Asia.
Kuik Xiaoshi of Summer International is brought in as Chief Strategy Officer along with former Hong Kong venture capitalist, Andrew Lim for the position of Chief Financial Officer.
Russell Simmons is appointed as President of the Group, tasked to help the Asia-based agency become a global company through setting up its new headquarters in Los Angeles and expanding its portfolio of American-based talents and clients.
Said Simmons, “There is a gap in the market for effective talent representation of the West in the East, and vice versa, that Gushcloud International with its infrastructure is uniquely positioned to bridge.”
“By [bringing] people of different cultures with similar lifestyle aspirations and goals closer together, [we will] create a powerful effect on fashion, film, television, music, sports and even politics,” he added.
“America is home to the world’s biggest talents and brands, while China to the world’s key platforms, technologies, and largest world audience,” shared Vincent Ha.
According to Analysys International, the China influencer economy was worth more than US$15.5 billion in 2018, and it is estimated that over 70% of marketers will be increasing their budgets in this space in coming years.
In addition to global expansion, Group CEO Althea Lim cites three other growth drivers for Gushcloud: content creation and co-ownership of IP with talents; social commerce brands and distribution through influencers; and a data-driven algorithmic approach to talent growth.
Gushcloud International was a pioneer in the influencer space when it launched as an influencer and brand matching platform.
It later pivoted to become an influencer marketing agency and digital talent agency group focused on building sustainable revenue streams for top digital talents and content creators.
One of the biggest challenges facing digital talents is long-term career sustainability. Hence, we need to look beyond influencer marketing and be able to create innovative solutions for the talents to keep growing.Althea Lim, Group CEO, Gushcloud
Lim explained that this will come from “developing new market infrastructure, engaging an international and domestic brands network, and training strong talent managers and agents in various markets to broker higher value deals.”
“To be truly sustainable, we also need to help talents package themselves into brands, develop their IP portfolio, and even train them to think like entrepreneurs. We can do this more efficiently by fuelling our strategies with data,” she added.
Gushcloud International currently operates in Singapore, the United States, China, Indonesia, Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Philippines, Malaysia, and Vietnam, with 13 offices in key cities.
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