Creatively — a startup that helps designers, photographers, illustrators and other creative professionals showcase their work and find their next job — is announcing that it has raised in $5 million.
Founded by Stacey Bendet (founder and CEO of fashion company Alicia + Olivia) and Joe Indriolo (who also serves as Creatively's chief product officer), the startup launched last May.
At the time, CEO Greg Gittrich emphasized the customizability of its creative portfolios, allowing each user to showcase their work in different ways. Potential employers, meanwhile, post creative jobs, and after a job has been completed on the platform, it can become the next piece in the artist's portfolio.
The startup says there are now more than 125,000 creatives on the platform, while 650 companies (including HBO, Tom Ford, SKIMS, Nickelodeon, Ro, CNN and The Gap) have used it to recruit.
Gittrich told me via email that he's been surprised by "the breadth of talent and variety of disciplines" on the platform, which includes "photographers like Emmanuel Sanchez Monsalve and Derrick Ofosu Boateng, creative directors like Kameron Mack and Eric Alexander Franklin, illustrators and animators like Tara Jacoby and Mulan Fu, visual artists like King Kesia and Bryane Broadie, and designers like KidSuper and Aziza-Abdullah Nicole." He also pointed to the popularity of the free Creatively Classes.
"We originally envisioned Classes as a one-time virtual event for October," Gittrich said. "But the number of sign-ups and the engagement for the first slate of instructors was so overwhelming that we made Classes into a monthly series. All the classes are taught by experienced creatives in our community and they’re designed to give our community the skills, mentorship and inspiration they need to succeed.”
The seed round was led by Link Ventures. (Previous investors include Michael Eisner’s Tornante Company and Shari Redstone’s Advancit Capital.) This investment also connects Creatively to the firm's incubator Cogo Labs, which will help the startup grow revenue and lower customer acquisition costs.
In a statement, Link Ventures Managing Director Lisa Dolan described Creatively as "LinkedIn for the creative world."
"Today’s job market needs Creatively," she continued. "Businesses are looking to recruit creatives directly, but lack the network and resources to find qualified, diverse talent. Creatively changes that. Their growth in less than a year is very impressive, and we’re excited to be a part of the team.”