Shibuya via Rangiora: Kiwi software company Shuttlerock makes the most of Lady Gaga’s tick of approval, raises $2.35 million for US expansion—UPDATED

Lady Gaga may not have performed in Rangiora (yet). But she is using some visual marketing software from a company that’s based there. 

On her recent tour to Japan, Lady Gaga asked her ‘Little Monsters’ (she has 42 million Twitter followers and 67 million Facebook fans) ​to upload photos of themselves to her Japanese website. And she (or, at least her people) used Shuttlerock, which collects content from social media networks and rewards customers for uploading content directly (it offers a range of different options for companies large and small). 

To promote the social media campaign, Universal Music LLC created a digital billboard at Shibuya, the world’s busiest pedestrian crossing, as well as posters at the concert venue and on a Japanese campaign site. Photos from the campaign are being used to create a poster that will be included inside the Japanese version of the CD on the upcoming Cheek To Cheek album.

“To say we’re thrilled to be working with Lady Gaga would be an understatement,” Shuttlerock founder and chief executive Jonathan Hendriksen says (he lived in Japan for 20 years and listed ValueClick Japan on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in May 2000). “Her powerful connection with her fans and use of social media to engage with them is virtually unparalleled in the music industry, and the Shuttlerock platform is a natural fit to help her take that connection to another level.” 

He told BusinessDesk that Gaga is using this medium better than most companies do. This is a good example of how a huge brand whether it’s a famous musician or a carmaker should be using the internet,” he said.

Shuttlerock, which was launched in 2011 and has opened offices in the US and Japan (through a joint venture with Opt), has worked with New Zealand brands like House of TravelFly Buys, The All Blacks, Dish and many more and it has over 100 clients across the globe, including Mitsubishi, Haagen Dazs and The Queensland Reds. 

“The growth in Japan is huge and we’re at the right time in the market for the product,” Hendriksen told Idealog. A lot of companies and brands are a bit disillusioned with how to embrace this ever changing landscape so Shuttlerock is a solution for brands to get control of their content and develop a strategy online.”

Perfume used the Shuttlerock platform to engage fans for a video the band released for its song ‘Hold Your Hand’. Fans were asked to take a photo of their hands with a message and upload using Shuttlerock.

It’s set to announce some significant additional funding. 

UPDATE: Last week, Hendriksen announced Shuttlerock has raised $2.35 million in Series A funding, which will be used to further develop the platform and expand Shuttlerock’s presence in North America. 

The company has also named James R. Zarley, former chief executive of ValueClick Inc and current chairman of Conversant, director and chairman of the board of directors of Shuttlerock USA. The company has also opened a US office in Los Angeles.

Shuttlerock’s past and current investors include Japan’s largest digital advertising agency, Opt; Paul Bingham of Shuttlerock, Air New Zealand and Black Cat Cruises; comedian and radio host Gary McCormick; Japanese property investor Yoshihiro Kawamura and Maurice Eng of Shuttlerock. Eng, who serves as chairman, is director of several New Zealand operations including Sealord Group Ltd, ANZCO Foods Ltd and Easiyo Foods and previously served as area director for Greater China for H.J Heinz Co.

The company is also backed by Auckland based ICE Angels, an entrepreneurial venture capital organisation formed by Icehouse, a mentoring and entrepreneurial business focused on assisting New Zealand-based businesses grow. It is Australasia’s largest angel investment network with 130 members from around the world and since its inception, the ICE Angels have invested over $50 million.

Also joining in this round of funding and as a board member is Jim Zarley, founder of ValueClick. He previously served as the chief operating officer of Hiway Technologies as well as chairman and chief executive officer of Best Internet. Prior to those roles, Zarley was the founder and chief executive officer of Quantech Corporation, and he spent 19 years in various senior management roles at RCA.

Its U.S. headquarters in Los Angeles will be led by Jade Swords who has been named chief executive officer, North America. Shuttlerock’s current US clients include Martha’s Vineyard, George Washington’s Mount Vernon and the University of Missouri.

“Our platform is a world-leading visual marketing solution aimed at bringing social content back onto a brand’s website,” Hendriksen said. “Content from social media properties such as Facebook and Instagram is integrated with an organization’s website so that only fresh, relevant content is being shared with its customers. Shuttlerock helps our clients effectively leverage their content in a stronger, more compelling way.”

Hendriksen said that timely content from Shuttlerock’s clients’ social media networks, including photos and news shared by their customers, is funnelled into the Shuttlerock platform where it’s queued for moderation. “Our clients are given the controls to pull content in and push it out to social channels, creating a social ‘hub’ on their website.”

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