Rapper Ryan Leslie Scores $1.5M For Superphone Direct To Fan Commerce Startup
Ryan Leslie, who has produced tracks for Snoop Dogg, Cassie, Usher and others, coded the first version of Superphone to connect with and sell to his own fans via SMS. Now investors are betting that other musicians and creators will want to use the service to connect with their fans.
A16z’s Ben Horowitz, Betaworks and other investors have funded a $1.5 million seed round for rapper and producer Ryan Leslie led startup Superphone.
SuperPhone allows an artist to "own" their audience by enabling direct to fan communications and e-commerce via SMS and delivering precision data (see right) on each social media follower. "Have a direct connection with every fan, so next time you have something to say, you can reach them through a text message," goes the Superphone pitch. "Leverage social networks, don't rely on them."
The startup currently has 2700 private beta clients including musicians Lil Wayne and Kevin Jonas.
Leslie himself has 40,000 fans using his SuperPhone number. "When he booked an extravagant New Year’s Eve concert at a castle in Vienna, he was able to invite his highest paying fans in Europe to attend," according to TechCrunch "He sold 200 tickets at $1700 a pop in 48 hours — all through Superphone."