Minneapolis-based video and photo studio soona has closed on a $3.5 million fundraising round, the company announced Friday.
Local investor Matchstick Ventures led the round, along with Chicago-based Starting Line. In total, the company has now raised more than $5 million, said soona co-founder and CEO Elizabeth Giorgi.
The studio, which launched last year, plans to use funds from the latest raise to build out its engineering and product development team, Giorgi said, noting that she’s anticipating a double-digit increase in staff in 2020. The company currently employs 17 between its offices in Minneapolis and Denver.
The new staffers will help soona “drive even more automation” to make its services more user-friendly, Giorgi said. The studio, which produces same-day video content for clients, has worked with big-name brands like Facebook, TCF Bank, and the NFL. But Giorgi hopes to capture more business among small and medium firms, too. That could include freelancers, consultants, real estate firms, and any other companies that have been “priced out of professional content,” she said.
“These types of folks still need content for Instagram, for LinkedIn,” she said.
At the same time, Giorgi also plans to use some funding to launch a studio in Austin, Texas.
“We have a lot of online customers in Austin,” she noted. “We’re excited to expand there and service more local customers.”
Since it launched, soona has served more than 1,200 customers, Giorgi said.
Like soona’s seed round, soona’s latest fundraise includes a “candor clause,” which requires investors to disclose if they’ve ever been accused of any sexually inappropriate behavior. The clause is aimed at promoting gender equity in venture capital. Giorgi and her business partner Hayley Anderson drafted the clause after a series of uncomfortable dealings with male investors.