You don’t often see Lady Gaga and Google’s chairman Eric Schmidt in the same sentence, but the two invested in Backplane’s launch way back in 2011. The $1.8 million round included heavy hitters like Google Ventures, SV Angel, and Menlo Ventures, and reportedly gave Gaga a 20% stake.
She got so much equity because Backplane’s first project was a dedicated social network for her fans called LittleMonsters.com. It was a site where the fabulous misfits, gender benders, and artpopsters attracted by Gaga’s liberated music could feel safe sharing. Little Monsters scared up one million registered users in a year.
[Update: Backplane’s founding chairman and Palantir co-founder Joe Lonsdale tells me this first phase of the company was a success, noting “it raised her merch sales, it still has crazy engagement.”]