Backplane, the niche social network startup launched by pop goddess and auteur of the odd Lady Gaga in 2011, has ran out of cash and sold off its assets to investors who will try to revive the business, according to sources cited by TechCrunch, including law firms involved with the sale.
Founded at the height of Gaga-mania, Backplane was intended to allow fans and enthusiasts (as well as brands) to create their own niche social networks around subjects they’re passionate about. Gaga, who owned a 20% stake in Backplane, kicked it off by using the platform to launch a social network for her fans, littlemonsters.com. Overall, Backplane eventually hosted around 15,000 niche social nets created by users.
However the startup also burned through money at an impressive rate, soaking up $18.9 million in various rounds of funding over the last five years, with little to show in the way of monetization or even a plausible business model. A relaunch as Place.xyz and the appointment of a new CEO did little to address the underlying problem. Nonetheless a group of former investors is joining forces with new investors to buy the assets and give the startup another shot.
Not every social media venture backed by celebrities comes to a bad end. Back in 2013 Justin Bieber invested in a new selfie-focused anti-bullying social network, “Shots of Me,” alongside other investors includes boxing champ Floyd Mayweather and Tom McInerney, a well-known angel investor.
Now known as “Shots,” the social network is alive and kicking, with 10 million registered users and 6.6 million active monthly users. Last month it introduced new features that allow users to share funny links as well as emoji reactions. It has raised $15.2 million to date.