Soona, a Denver-based startup that takes marketing videos and pictures for companies, is snapping new content with a recent acquisition.
Last month, the company purchased Trend, which is similar to a ride-booking app for social media content. Like Uber matches drivers with riders, Trend matches content creators with brands. Founder Ramon Berrios said the company specializes in social media content like product unboxing videos or testimonials.
“Our goal is to create real content, by real people, in real settings,” Berrios said.
While Soona also creates content for brands, it’s largely focused on videos and pictures for shopping sites such as Shopify or Etsy. The 5-year-old company specializes in virtual photoshoots: brands ship their products to Soona, tune in virtually for the photoshoot and, because of new AI editing technology, receive the images instantly.
But Soona’s co-founder, Liz Giorgi, said she was looking to expand her company’s profile, especially as shopping moves away from solitary websites and is embedded in apps like TikTok or Instagram.
“Shopping is going to become a feature of everything we do on the internet,” Giorgi said. “Those platforms demand a different style and that style is user-generated content.”
Soona has raised $18 million to date, according to SEC filings. Terms of the Trend acquisition were not disclosed. Soona took on Trend’s six full-time employees.
“I think acquisition opportunities right now and rolling up key businesses is a huge opportunity for everybody in the startup ecosystem,” Giorgi said. “With the hesitancy in the capital market in general, there’s a real opportunity to … (look at what) products or services can we add to our business through acquisition?”
Soona has four studios, in Denver’s Platt Park; Austin, Texas; Los Angeles and Minneapolis. Trend, meanwhile, works with individuals all over the country.
“Trend has 4,000 folks who are providing content to brands directly on their cellphones – that’s a powerful network you can’t create overnight,” Giorgi said.
Giorgi and Berrios said they considered partnering together many times, but ultimately landed on acquisition.
“Our vision was to build one place for a brand to produce all of their content and Soona had that same vision,” Berrios said. “We had the missing elements of each other.”
Giorgi said Soona, which has roughly 19,000 customers, continues to look at other services it can add for its e-commerce customers, which are struggling to keep sales up following a pandemic bump.
“Our core customer has gone through this painful acceleration of sales because of COVID … they built their supply chains, ordered a ton of merchandise and were looking to see that growth in the future, and because that wasn’t the case, a lot of merchants are over their heads,” Giorgi said.
Meanwhile, Berrios is working on starting his next company while he continues to work for Soona. Trend still operates under its name, but added “by Soona” to its website.