Talenthouse AG has established itself as an aggregator of content creators who are then used on behalf of brands for their social media channels. Brands can’t come up with the same authenticity, so they work that way. But business is booming, so in response to this demand for content creation and the opportunity to take advantage of the producer economy, Talenthouse is now listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange (ticker symbol THAG).
The move is significant for tech startups, as New Value AG (trading as TalentHouse) acquired long-running social photography startup EyeEm last June. When it launched in 2011, just a year after Instagram, it was often talked about in the same breath, but EyeEm’s founders enthused that it was a place for high-quality content creators and photographers to sell their stuff.
By the time of the acquisition, EyeEm had raised a total of $24 million in venture capital support. At the time, the price of the deal, “mostly shares, some cash,” was not disclosed.
But Talenthouse’s IPO has brought some interesting numbers to the public markets.
Talenthouse co-founder Roman Scharf told me: “The shares will trade for about one Swiss franc at opening and we have 400 million shares outstanding. So, tomorrow the market capitalization will start at about 400 million Swiss francs. We paid 37,348,490 million shares for IM and some cash. These shares are worth $37.3 million at the current share price. But his departure cost about $40 million because he got the cash too.
Headquartered in Talenthouse, London, brands such as EyeEm, Allo, Zuppa and Jovoto have 14 million members. Members of these brands produce content that can be purchased or commissioned by companies such as PayPal, Netflix and Nike.
According to UNESCO, the creative economy generates $2,250 billion annually and employs 30 million people worldwide. For example, Talenthouse has included 16,700 submissions from 142 countries in the United Nations campaign committee for the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Because we have acquired and grown great companies in our portfolio, our creatives have the tools to become part of a vibrant community, successfully monetizing their skills,” said Talenthouse CEO Claire McKeve.
Speaking to me on the phone, Scharf said, “IPO Six is a sandbox environment where we learn to behave like a publicly traded company. And then we move on to the NASDAQ listing because you know Tannhaus is really about the creative economy. And in the German-speaking world, investors don’t really understand what a creative economy is. They have no idea about Tik Tok.”
Eyeem was founded in 2011 by Florian Meissner, Ramzi Rizk, Gen Sadakane and Lorenz Aschoff. Photographers could offer their photographs for sale through the portal, and Ayam kept a share of the income. But in the end, each of the four founders owned a 1.7% stake in their company.
Since then, Meisner and Rizk have worked on Aware Apps, a medical data analytics service, and have also become angel investors, taking an initial stake in delivery service Gorillas.