talkshoplive Brings Celebrity Power to Livestream Shopping
Francesca Billington is a dot.LA editorial intern. She's previously reported for KCRW, the Santa Monica Daily Press and local publications in New Jersey. Before joining dot.LA, she was a communications fellow at an environmental science research center in Sri Lanka. She graduated from Princeton in 2019 with a degree in anthropology.
Last month, Food Network personality Giada De Laurentiis made an elaborate salad from her new cookbook in front of 14,500 viewers of talkshoplive. She's one of many celebrities the livestream ecommerce site has featured; Paul McCartney, Dolly Parton and actor Matthew McConaughey have also used the site recently to pitch their memoirs, music and cosmetic lines.
A cross between Instagram live and QVC, the online streaming network has also attracted some big brand names — from Best Buy to Fred Segal.
The company closed a $3 million seed round on Tuesday led by Spero Ventures, a Redwood City firm backed by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar.
Founded in 2018 by siblings Bryan and Tina Moore, the platform sets up real-time product demos and handles transactions and shipping for over 3,500 small businesses and a slew of big brands. Customers can live chat with sellers and order items with a one-click purchase button displayed on the video interface.
"Storefronts across America are closing," said Bryan, the company's CEO and a former social media director at 20th Television (formerly 20th Century Fox Television) and CBS. "We've seen small businesses impacted by COVID make more money and pay less overhead by having their digital storefront on talkshoplive."
His company joins a handful of venture-backed livestream startups gaining steam in the market. L.A.-based Popshop Live was recently valued at $100 million after closing a dramatic round.
Bryan and his Hollywood connections set talkshoplive apart. Garth Brooks' first livestream on the platform in 2019 helped the singer sell 420,000 vinyl records to customers watching across different websites.
Then there's the long roster of celebrities who promote their own products from books to makeup. Alicia Keys, Julie Andrews, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Tim McGraw — to name a few.
Unlike competitors, talkshoplive doesn't require users to download an app. The network posts each livestream on its own website and lets partner businesses embed the videos directly into their sites.
"I come from the world of social media," Bryan said "Every time you ask them to click through these links, you lose about 50% of your traffic. I thought, 'how do we make the best experience for customers and also convert more sales?'"
Talkshoplive takes a bit over 10% of every sale made through their livestreams. The CEO could not disclose figures on active users or total sales generated through the site.
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Despite — or in many cases because of — the raging pandemic, 2020 was a great year for many tech startups. It turned out to be an ideal time to be in the video game business, developing a streaming ecommerce platform for Gen Z, or helping restaurants with their online ordering.
But which companies in Southern California had the best year? That is highly subjective of course. But in an attempt to highlight who's hot, we asked dozens of the region's top VCs to weigh in.
We wanted to know what companies they wish they would have invested in if they could go back and do it all over again.
Hottest<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDk5MzIyNS9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1OTQ3MjQ2OH0.JYCNMjYvosYa5SI7701CH_jMFbeFdMcRCChXt442cq0/img.png?width=980" id="4a086" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="f2f18f0bc4400a388e43736c560ff87f" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="PopShop Live logo" data-width="686" data-height="128" />
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Ceres Group Holdings is becoming corporate America's biggest cannabis dealmaker out of its Century City offices.
The venture and private equity firm this week announced that its special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, would take Atlanta-based cannabis producer Parallel public in a merger that will value the Canadian-listed company at $1.88 billion.
Parallel has about 42 retail stores outside of California, but has big plans for a big expansion into L.A. sometime in the next year or two.
Joe Crouthers is the CEO of Ceres and head executive of the SPAC that bought Parallel.