Gushcloud International, a digital talent agency group, has raised US$11 million led by GDP Ventures for the expansion of its digital celebrity representation business into US and China, and in other new businses areas. This marks the first round of funding after Gushcloud co-founders bought back the company from its previous parent Yello Digital Marketing Global.
Other participating international investors include financial giants, KB Investments, Golden Equator Capital and Korea Investment Partners (via GEC-KIP Fund), and Kejora Ventures, along with strategic individual investors such as American entrepreneur and renowned hip hop mogul Russell Simmons (pictured third from left).
To prepare for its next phase of growth into China and US and build out its intentions within the social commerce layer, the group also reshuffled its senior management team. Co-founders Althea Lim (pictured right) and Vincent Ha (pictured bottom left) have been promoted to group CEO and chairman of the board respectively.
Ng Siang Hang (pictured bottom right) will take on the role of global brands director, heading up brand advertising and marketing in America, while Oddie Randa (pictured left) and Chloe Lim (pictured second from left) step up to lead Gushcloud in Asia as international director for sales and marketing (SEA) and group business and legal affairs director respectively.
Gushcloud also brought on board Kuik Xiaoshi (pictured third from right at the bottom) of lifestyle company Summer International as chief strategy officer, while former Hong Kong venture capitalist Andrew Lim (pictured second from right at the bottom) has been named chief financial officer.
Meanwhile, Simmons has been appointed president of the group. Simmons is responsible for navigating the Asia-based agency towards becoming a global company, expanding its portfolio of American-based talents and clients. As president, Simmons will also facilitate the set up of Gushcloud’s talent agency headquarters in Los Angeles in order to better meet the needs of its US-based creators, celebrities and influencers, building an international roster for export into Southeast and North Asia.
“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 doing so, we can bring people of different cultures with similar lifestyle aspirations and goals closer together. This will create a powerful effect on fashion, film, television, music, sports and even politics,” Simmons said.
In addition to global expansion, global CEO Althea Lim also listed three other growth drivers for its talent-centric business – content creation and co-ownership of IP with its talents; social commerce brands and distribution driven by influencers; and leveraging data to drive a more algorithmic approach to talent growth.
Lim said one of the biggest challenges facing digital talents is long term career sustainability. Hence, Gushcloud needs to look beyond influencer marketing and be able to create innovative solutions for the talents to keep growing. This includes 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 fueling our strategies with data,” Lim added.