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Superside Raises $ 30 Million to Connect and Manage Freelance Creatives Working with In-House Marketing and Design Teams – TechCrunch

As advertising and marketing become more automated and therefore commoditized, design has become a savior in helping brands stand out. And today, a startup that helps businesses connect with a wider range of designers and other creatives to meet that demand is announcing a round of funding to fuel its business growth. Superside, which operates a network of independent creatives that companies turn to to work on logos, ads, packaging, larger marketing campaigns and other design efforts, has raised $ 30 million, money it will invest in further international expansion. and develop its team of people, both internal staff and the creative network.

Prosus Ventures and Lugard Road Capital are co-leading the round, with participation from previous investors Slack Fund and Acequia Capital. Investors and the company wouldn’t confirm it, but I understand from sources that it’s just over $ 400 million.

The round is the first major fundraiser that Oslo-based but widely distributed Superside has raised – it was founded as Konsus in 2015 and had only raised $ 5.5 million so far – And it follows an impressive growth from its near-primed state.

Its customers include Amazon, Facebook, Salesforce, Cisco, Shopify, and Coinbase. daytime. (This helps to minimize words, which sound more factual than boastful.) You’d think a company like Amazon or Facebook would have no end in internal teams to handle whatever design the need might arise, but in fact, no matter the size of an organization, there is always something that will need an extra pair of creative hands, especially these days. Superside provides them.

These hands, meanwhile, are ready to multiply. Thomassen tells me that the company currently has 500 on its “team” – his word to include both those who work on staff (150 people) and the larger creative network (350).

“It is important for us to think of all of us in the same boat and to create equal opportunities globally,” he said. Technically, however, creatives are freelancers and are therefore free to do whatever they want, although the idea, he said, is for Superside to provide them with enough commitment, interesting work and tools not frustrating to handle everything and make it less likely that they would turn to 99designs, Fiverr, Upwork, or any platform that could provide them with gigs elsewhere.

The plan will be to seriously expand this network in the coming months. “We want to go from 350 to 1,000 creations,” he said, “and then maybe 10,000 or 100,000”. (Again, you have to read this thought on Thomassen’s low-key clip, which makes it all perfectly reasonable.)

Design – and in this case branding, advertising, and other areas that have traditionally been described in the industry as ‘creative’ work done by creatives – has faced a massive shift in popularity. digital age: most, if not all work is done on software; most often, it is intended for consumption on digital screens; and the nature of the global and localized campaigns created through digital media means that there is simply a lot more creative work to be done.

Additionally, even before the Covid-19 pandemic, designers have long cut themselves off from the office, working remotely, working overtime at home even when they didn’t, picking up side issues where they never encountered. customers in person, etc.

All of this has gone perfectly into the creation of truly excellent design software, designed to be used, edited, shared and consumed in the cloud, and it has also been seamlessly integrated with companies like Superside to create platforms that allow to connect creatives to opportunities. .

Superside himself has focused his technological development on achieving this commitment and keeping the work as transparent as possible, with very specific project management software that he himself has designed to manage the processes, including the compensation and the associated accounting, as well as the stages of finding people, engaging them and working through projects. He hasn’t built any design tools until now, and he has no intention of doing so.

“We only use established tools,” said Thomassen. “It’s much more difficult to create competitors for companies like Figma and Adobe. We’re incredibly optimistic about Figma in particular, as it’s a less closed system than Adobe’s.

It will be interesting to see if Superside sticks to that, or if it becomes an attractive business to operate for large companies that embrace Adobe and build more bridges to creatives alongside the creative tools themselves. (Adobe’s ownership of Behance, which already gives it some sort of connection to these creative networks, implies that it might not be in contention if that is the case.)

In the meantime, what sets the company apart is how well they identified the shortcomings of working with alternatives – Thomassen himself comes from marketing and said he built Superside specifically from his own. frustrations in trying to find, engage, and work with creatives. – and built a platform to solve this problem.

“What sets Superside apart from all other players in the creative economy is its long-term approach to solving the underlying problems of the marketing and creative teams,” said Mats Diedrichsen, former Marketing Director of Delivery. Hero, who joins the board with this round. “I believe Superside has the potential to become the ‘agency killer’ while truly leveling the playing field for creatives around the world. “

Superside has experienced significant growth over the past few years, working with reputable brands including Amazon, Salesforce, and Cisco, who have consistently praised Superside’s fast turnaround times, creative diversity, high-quality content, and sound. impressive access to the world’s best talent.

Long-time customer Amir Jaffari, Head of Growth at Shopify, summed up: “Superside makes it easy for the Shopify growth team to achieve design quickly without affecting quality. Their platform is intuitive and enables speed, and the dedicated team model ensures that everyone fully understands our brand and our day-to-day needs, enabling scalability.

“As the need for high-quality, fast-rotating digital content continues to increase and businesses seek increasing brand distinction, Superside is responding to the demand by offering a single subscription that offers fast, flexible and diverse design. some of the best in the world. creative talent, ”added Sandeep Bakshi, Head of European Investments at Prosus Ventures, in a statement. “In addition, as the pandemic has accelerated the dynamics of flexible and freelance work, Superside is very appealing to members of the creative team, offering remote, flexible and well-paying jobs, allowing them to work with the biggest brands around the world. We believe Superside can usher in a new era of creative solutions for top companies around the world, and we’re excited to partner with them on this vision. “

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