The new round of funding gives Los Angeles-based Talkshoplive $10.5 million raised to date and enables it to scale its product management and technical teams. In addition, the company will double-down on category verticals.
Talkshoplive CEO Bryan Moore said he founded the company with his sister Tina in 2018, after he led social media efforts at Twentieth Television (previously known as Twentieth Century Fox) and CBS Television.
Following the initial seed round, Moore said he found himself talking to even more investors wanting to get involved with the company. Then San Francisco-based Raine came along.
“We were not looking to fundraise, but when Raine reached out, what they had to offer was so strategic to our business,” Moore said in an interview. “Live commerce is today where social media was 15 years ago. Everyone is asking what their brand’s live commerce strategy is, but we had to figure out how to build it for the U.S.”
Initially, the company was focused on books and music, working with famous names, such as Matthew McConaughey, Alicia Keys and Dolly Parton. Now, the company is looking at food, beauty, fashion, and sports.
“We’ve had just about everyone from the Food Network essentially start using Talkshoplive,” Moore said. “A large community around food has been built on the platform, especially after Giada De Laurentiis showed everyone the inside of her pantry. Now other personalities are being asked to show their pantries.”
Though the company launched its embeddable player in 2019, Moore says adoption of it became strongest over the last quarter, due in part due to new partnerships.
Talkshoplive debuted a new version of its embeddable player three weeks ago with publishers Hearst, with Oprah Daily, as well as Condé Nast’s Bon Appétit magazine and now launching across additional publications. In fact, sales so far this year have surpassed all of the company’s 2020 revenue, growing 85 percent month over month, he said.
The global pandemic put a spotlight on live commerce platforms, especially those catering to sports cards and other collectible enthusiasts. Seeing new funding recently were sports trading card platform Alt, raising $31 million in May, while Whatnot, specializing in Pokémon cards and Funko Pop figurines, raised $20 million in Series A funding in March.
Meanwhile, Moore said he is looking forward to working with Raine Ventures, which was joined in the round with a group of entertainment and retail angel investors, including former Showtime chairman and CEO Matt Blank, Genius Sports chairman David Levy and Vivre founder Eva Jeanbart-Lorenzotti.
“We believe that Talkshoplive has a differentiated technology and strategy that will continue to drive adoption of live commerce,” Gordon Rubenstein, managing partner of Raine Ventures, said in a statement. “In the case of TSL, not only is there a clear value proposition that engages, supports and aligns incentives of all key players across the retail landscape, but also a fantastic team.”