Blogger, entrepreneur and former business journalist Kate Kendall’s latest venture CloudPeeps has secured seed funding led by Renata Cooper, of investor network Scale and Forming Circles.
CloudPeeps, an invite-only marketplace connecting businesses and social media professionals, was founded by Ms Kendall and Shala Burroughs in the United States in January.
A beta version of the site currently has 200 freelancers registered and 50 customers.
“Our aim is to become the number one marketplace for community and social media professionals,” Ms Kendall said.
“This money will be going toward hiring key people, developing the product and growing customer acquisition.”
The amount raised will be revealed in late January 2015, when the start-up officially launches. Other US and Australian based angel investors were also involved in the round.
Ms Kendall, a Melburnian who is currently based in Brooklyn, New York, said there was not enough support in the venture capital community for female-led businesses.
“If you have the same business model, presented in the same way, but it’s presented by a guy, more people will fund it,” she said.
“There is a lot of subconscious bias and we witnessed this while we were raising money. We’re at a disadvantage because we have two female founders.”
Ms Kendall said the problem arose because male investors tended to give money to people they could see themselves in, which more often than not were other males.
“Women often pitch in different ways and how women show their confidence is different, so there needs to be more diversity when it comes to investors,” she said.
Scale, an Australian female focused angel investor network, has invested $2 million in four female-led businesses to date. But next year the 60 Scale angels intend to launch a $20-25 million co-investment fund to work alongside Scale.
But Ms Cooper said the issue was not male investors failing to support female-led ventures, but the number of female entrepreneurs.
“There are fewer female entrepreneurs, it’s something men are used to doing, but the trend is changing,” she said.
“There are also a number of male investors taking part in Scale.”
Freelancers using CloudPeeps are vetted before they’re able to join the marketplace, to ensure they have the appropriate skills.
Similar to DesignCrowd and 99Designs, freelancers on CloudPeeps must compete for projects.
Ms Cooper said she decided to invest in CloudPeeps because it was “on trend”
“Freelancer.com has shown there is a huge transformation taking place where people are working from home or other locations of their choosing,” she said.
“I also love the collective nature of CloudPeeps… there is huge potential.”