Digital market Clutch closes $1.2M pre-seed spherical led by Precursor Ventures – TechCrunch
The corporate, based in 2020 by Madison Long and Simone May, hails itself as one of many earliest people-first creator economic system platforms to attach people to companies on the lookout for advertising and marketing and content material creation.
“We’re very enthusiastic about with the ability to elevate the following technology of those who appear to be us,” Could informed TechCrunch. “We prioritize democratizing entry to info, utilizing know-how.”
Clutch fees companies, relatively than creators, to make use of the platform, and it lets people observe the success of their tasks and collaborations with manufacturers. The app additionally supplies instruments to assist individuals edit movies, design graphics, and handle social media presences on different platforms, corresponding to TikTok and Instagram. In the meantime, Clutch lets manufacturers discover creators and permits for open dialog between the 2 entities.
The app comes at a great time. A 2019 examine by Morning Seek the advice of found that greater than 85% of these between the ages of 13 and 38 wish to be social media influencers sooner or later.
The previous decade has seen manufacturers bounce on the influencing bandwagon, searching for well-liked content material creators to assist market their enterprise. A draw back of that is that manufacturers overwhelmingly gravitated towards white influencers, contributing to a pay and opportunity inequity for individuals of shade, particularly Black creators, who’re often the source of well-liked developments.
The corporate says it has over 200 creators on the platform with a 3,000-person waitlist. Could stated at the least 75% of the lively creators already on Clutch are individuals of shade, and 60% of the CEOs helming companies on the platform are additionally minorities, together with Agua Bonita and Campfire. Lengthy added that making content material creators extra accessible and fewer exploitative for marginalized communities may help make model advertising and marketing extra various and equitable.
Together with the fundraising, Clutch additionally introduced its open beta launch right now. It lately ended its closed beta, the place it labored with solely college students. The open beta launch sees Clutch nonetheless working with college students, although there are plans to at some point work with all creators, the corporate stated.
The fundraising journey lasted eight months and opened in August final yr. Could stated they met Charles Hudson, a managing accomplice at Precursor Ventures, by one other founder through which he’d invested who occurred to be associates with Lengthy.
That good friend “made that initiation introduction,” Lengthy stated. “I used to be in a position to then pitch Charles and Precursor.”
“Madison and Simone are superb founders who’re connecting gifted creators with companies in want of their companies,” Hudson informed TechCrunch. “Their platform is enabling the following technology of creators to succeed on their very own phrases and giving their clients much-needed assist with content material creation.”
Working with Charles was a spotlight as a result of he helped Lengthy and Could type by challenges and launched them to mentors like Stacy Brown-Philpot, the previous CEO of TaskRabbit. All through the journey, there have been additionally moments when the duo discovered themselves going above and past to show that Clutch might scale and have an enormous influence on communities.
“I feel due to the way in which that we’re so clear in our group, that it allowed us to construct up that belief with traders who might need been extra skeptical,” Lengthy stated. “They haven’t seen founders like us be capable of do what we’ve been in a position to do.”
Lengthy and Could have been greatest associates since assembly as college students at Purdue College. Lengthy studied laptop science, whereas Could majored in accounting. Nonetheless, the duo all the time discovered a method to bond over their similarities, which included group service and youth advocacy.
Hailing from Indianapolis, Indiana, Lengthy stated she has all the time needed to be an entrepreneur. She spent her highschool summers creating math packages for center faculty college students and, after commencement, labored for Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In Basis to assist make the 2020 Women in the Workplace report. Could stems from a technology-focused family based mostly in Atlanta, Georgia, and after commencement discovered herself working as a marketing consultant at Accenture.
At some point, she referred to as Lengthy with an concept — a streamlined method to introduce content material creators and rising manufacturers. That concept turned Clutch, and Lengthy stated she was “enthralled” when she first heard about it. With this funding, Clutch plans to give attention to persevering with scaling the enterprise and performing product analysis. Could stated the plan is to exit beta mode subsequent yr and launch nationally.
“Our imaginative and prescient is to construct a world the place genuine, partaking work helps a joyful, sustainable, and equitable way of life,” Lengthy stated. “Clutch is the ecosystem of the way forward for the creator economic system that can present people and companies with the entire instruments they should thrive in all areas of their lives and make their private pursuits their supply of earnings.”