New Digital Firm Qloo Raises $3 Million From Hollywood Insiders
Investors in the company, described as "a Pandora for all your life," include actors Danny Masterson and Cedric the Entertainer.
A new product called Qloo, which recommends movies, music and more, said on Thursday that it raised $3 million in funding, much of it from entertainment industry insiders.
Qloo -- pronounced “clue” -- also launched on Thursday with a website and Apple application.
Investors in the seed-funding round announced Thursday include Cedric the Entertainer, actor Danny Masterson and Tommy Thompson, an oil tycoon and founding partner of Cross Creek Pictures. Others include Kindler Capital and Samih Toukan and Hussam Khoury, who founded Arab Internet company Maktoob, which Yahoo purchased for $164 million in 2009.
Qloo’s app, which is free to use, allows users to feed it their likes and dislikes in eight categories -- music, film, TV, dining, nightlife, fashion, books and travel -- so that it may accurately recommend products and experiences.
Qloo has struck affiliate relationships with iTunes, Netflix, Amazon.com and more, and it takes a fee when a user spends money with the companies it has partnered with.
“It’s sort of like Pandora for all your life,” said CEO Alex Elias, comparing Qloo to the digital music service that uses recommendation technology to choose appropriate playlists for its customers.
“Anything you see on Qloo you can swipe left or right to give it a thumbs up or down, and the suggestions get a lot better as you do that,” Elias said.
The company was founded in 2012 and some well-known trendsetters helped out with beta testing, including actor Ashton Kutcher, fashion designer Duncan Quinn and musician Sonny Rollins.
Users of Qloo can begin by choosing as few as five things that they like, be it a combination of movies, songs, restaurants, books, etc. “We can ascertain quite a bit just from five preferences across different cultural boundaries,” Elias said.
Recommendations are, in part, calculated by what other users with similar tastes enjoy, and customers can also drill down on certain categories. For example, they can tell Qloo to choose a good movie based solely on the books they like.
The company is headquartered in New York and employs 10 people.
“Qloo is a whimsical take on the word ‘clue.' You give clues about your taste, and it gives clues back,” Elias said.