Exclusive: Justin Bieber invests in new social network
FORTUNE — A new teen-focused social network called Shots Of Me will launch later this week, from the team that previously developed popular social mobile games under the RockLive brand. And its new lead investor is perhaps the world’s most famous teenager: Justin Bieber.
Fortune has learned that Bieber recently led a $1.1 million seed round for the company, whose other investors include venture capitalist Shervin Pishevar, boxer Floyd Mayweather and angel investor Tom McInerney.
“We got to know Justin after he began playing our games and tweeting about it,” says RockLive CEO John Shahidi, who founded the company several years back with his brother Sam. “He’s been very involved in our products, helping us test things and providing feedback… When we told him that we were looking to create a social network for teens that really addresses what they aren’t getting on other networks, and which tries to deal with things like cyber-bullying, his eyes just lit up.”
Shahidi declined to provide too many details about Shots Of Me, which will be released into the Apple store later this week. He did say, however, that it will not have a gaming focus. “We’ve really enjoyed making games, and have made a lot of money doing so, but this is something new.”
It should be interesting to see how Bieber’s influence will affect downloads and usage. He currently has 46.5 million Twitter followers, which is more than anyone else in the world (save for fellow singer Katy Perry, with whom he is effectively tied). RockLive has never used traditional marketing methods – no PR firm or press releases, for example – instead relying on digital word of mouth from users (in its past games, users were encouraged/enabled to share accomplishments without leaving the actual game).
RockLive has now raised a total of $2.7 million in seed funding, and is beginning to pitch VC firms on its first institutional funding round.
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