Talenthouse IPO Finally Reveals $40M Exit For Europe’s Quasi-Instagram EyeEm – TechCrunch

Talenthouse AG has made a name for itself as an aggregator of content creators, which is then commissioned by brands for their own social media channels. Brands just can’t deliver the same kind of authenticity, so they cultivate it that way. But business is good, which is why Talenthouse is now listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange (ticker THAG) in response to this demand for content creation and the ability to tap into the “creator economy”.

The move is significant in terms of tech startups, because in June last year, New Value AG (as Talenthouse) acquired long-running social photo startup EyeEm. When it launched in 2011, just a year after Instagram, it was often talked about in the same breath, but EyeEm’s founders carefully reiterated that it was a place where high-end content creators and photographers sold their products.

At the time of its acquisition, EyeEm had raised a total of $24 million in venture capital funds. No price was released at the time for the “mostly stock, some cash” deal.

But the Talenthouse IPO reveals some interesting data.

Roman Scharf, co-founder of Talenthouse told me: “Initial shares will trade around one Swiss franc, and we have 400 million shares outstanding. So tomorrow’s market capitalization will start around 400 million Swiss francs. We paid 37,348,490 million shares for Eyeem plus cash. These shares at the current price are worth $37.3 million. But their exit was around $40 million, as they also received cash.

Talenthouse, headquartered in London, has 14 million members across brands including EyeEm, Ello, Zooppa and Jovoto. Members of these brands produce content that can be acquired or ordered by companies such as PayPal, Netflix and Nike.

The creative economy generates $2.25 trillion a year and employs 30 million people worldwide, according to UNESCO. For example, in a commission for the UN, Talenthouse received 16,700 submissions from 142 countries, for a campaign around the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a statement, Clare McKeeve, CEO of Talenthouse, said: “We have acquired and grown some brilliant companies within our portfolio so that our creatives have the tools to be part of an active community while successfully monetizing their skills.

Speaking to me on a call, Scharf added, “Introducing the SIX market is like a sandbox environment where we learn how to behave as a public company. And then we’re going to go for a NASDAQ listing, because you know Tanenhaus is really about the creative economy. And in the German-speaking world, investors don’t really understand what the creative economy is. They have no idea about Tik Tok.

Eyeem was started by Florian Meissner, Ramzi Rizk, Gen Sadakane and Lorenz Aschoff in 2011. Photographers could offer their photos for sale through the portal and Eyeem kept a portion of the revenue. But in the end, the four founders each owned 1.7% of their company.

Meissner and Rizk have since worked on the Aware app, a health data analytics service, and have also become angel investors, taking early stakes in delivery service Gorillas.

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