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Trend, a Miami Beach-headquartered company working to open up the creator economy by connecting brands, including Amazon, with creators of video and photo content, has raised $3 million in a pre-seed funding round led by venture capital firm Flybridge and including Pharrell Williams’ Black Ambition.
Among the other investors in the curated creator network and platform are Techstars Ventures and founders of such companies as Twitch (Kevin Lin), Crunchyroll (Kun Gao), Kabam (Holly Liu) and Rotten Tomatoes (Patrick Lee).
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“We believe anyone with a smartphone should have the power and tools to become a creator,” Trend co-founder and CEO Ramon Berrios said in unveiling the capital injection. “Today’s creators shouldn’t need to rely on pre-built audiences or the influencer economy, this is why we’ve built a community where passion partners with our platform to bring image and video content to over 1,000 brands, while empowering global creatives to make a salary doing what they love.”
Said Williams about the investment in Trend: “I was immediately drawn to their mission of empowerment and individuality. They are enabling a whole new set of creators to harness the power of what makes them unique and allowing brands to tap into that magic and gather content from around the world, all while working through a single community and platform.”
The majority of the funding round will go toward building out the creator side of the Trend platform. “We are planning to expand into new industry verticals and reach even more businesses,” said Berrios. “This will allow us to further our mission of becoming the world’s largest creative studio, without ever having to be constrained to a single studio space.”
The Trend network has already “produced over 100,000 pieces of content” for brands, according to the executive who co-founded the company with Zach Moosbrugger. “Our founding team comes from the creative side, so we know firsthand why and how creators want to be empowered.” He also touted: “So far we have hit over $1 million paid out to creators.”