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Lady Gaga, Tech Investor

Lady Gaga at Twitter headquarters

For a girl whose father was worried about her getting a real job, Lady Gaga’s showing dear old dad there’s no cause for concern. Since reportedly going broke for the early portion of her pop star career, Lady Gaga’s taken on the title of Polaroid creative director, unofficial (and unwanted) ice cream muse, and Farmville promoter among other things. Now you can add tech angel investor to the list. Someone’s going to need a bigger business card.

Skipping the trend of celebrity as online startup entrepreneur, Gaga’s will go straight to online startup investor with a stake in a $1 million investment in online startup Backplane. {Dealbook/New York Times} Lady Gaga (née Stefani Germanotta) won’t be investing alone: the $1 million funding round is being led by Google’s Eric Schmidt, though Gaga will reportedly be a 20% shareholder in the company.

Before you decide to stop working on ways to get your demo tape to Lady Gaga, and start getting your business plan in front of her, you should know that Troy Carter, the entrepreneur behind Backplane, is also Lady Gaga’s business manager. In other words, the man with a large amount of responsibility for Lady Gaga’s overwhelming social media success.

Backplane isn’t publicly available yet, but already has a team of seven and has been cooking since last fall. Carter sees it as a platform for musicians and sports teams to build communities that include Twitter, Facebook and other existing networks. Though the intent is for entertainment, we could easily see brands buying into the platform if it’s effective. Tide may not be as sexy as Lady Gaga, but if Backplane can help make campaigns across social websites and different campaigns easier to manage that’s something that will be as attractive to someone selling soap as someone selling singles.

Not to mention, Carter has one pretty great case study on his hands: Lady Gaga beat out Ashton Kutcher and Justin Bieber to become the first person to reach 10 million Twitter followers; the first person to gain 10 million Facebook fans (now 37 million); and her videos continue to set and blow through all kinds of YouTube records. Her recent promotion with Amazon cost the e-tailer millions, but it also brought enough attention to Amazon’s new music service to crash their servers.

At this point, people online like Lady Gaga more than Coca-Cola, long touted as one of the world’s most valuable brands. While Silicon Valley still isn’t sold on Hollywood players (entertainers) bringing significant value to startups, we wouldn’t bet against the guy behind one of the most valuable online brands in modern pop culture, or the possibility that other brands will want in on the action.






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