Chicago-based venture capital firm,Cleveland Avenue, has invested in BeMyfriends, a global fandom business specialist, bringing the total amount raised in their series A round to 37.9 billion won ($31.8 million). BeMyFriends has previously attracted investments from domestic conglomerates such as CJ, CJ OliveNetworks, Saehan Startup Investment, GS and Dream Earth Company.
Cleveland Avenue, founded in 2015 by Don Thompson, former CEO of McDonald’s, is known for its investments in food and beverage, food tech, and entertainment industries, and has recently expanded its portfolio to include lifestyle startups.
BeMyFriends, led by co-CEOs Seo Woo-seok and Lee Ki-young, has developed its own SaaS-type platform builder ‘B.stage ‘ which builds fandom business infrastructure and has been rapidly securing customers since launching it globally. The company aims to expand its reach beyond K-Pop to the global fandom market. In January, BeMyFriends signed a strategic partnership with UTA (United Talent Agency), a large American talent agency, and plans to accelerate its US-based global business by expanding partnerships in various fields such as entertainment, sports, and lifestyle based on Cleveland Avenue’s local network.
The fandom business is attracting attention not only in entertainment but also in various industries such as distribution, game, and IT. Lee Min-goo, managing partner of Cleveland Avenue, said, “Beyond investment, through active partnerships, we will successfully promote the fandom business to BeMyFriends and the world.”
Seo Woo-seok, co-CEO of BeMyFriends, said, “The Cleveland Avenue investment means that Be MyFriends’ next-generation business model and potential are recognized globally. Starting with this investment, we will secure customers in various industries in the United States and solidify our position as a leading company in the global fandom business.”
BeMyFriends is actively promoting its business by participating in various global events, starting with the ‘Sundance Film Festival’ held in the United States in January. It is continuously releasing functions and services for the fandom business, such as updating the Global Live Streaming’ function on B.stage.
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