Drawing on Saint Louis University's global network of alumni, the Billiken Angels Network (BAN) has announced its investment in the seed round of Los Angeles based YourEvent.com.
BAN invests alongside SLP Ventures, the Los Angeles-based investment vehicle created by Brad Schwartz. American Pastime Ventures and other angels participated in the round that will fuel the new web-based service that turns event photography into social media marketing solutions for venues and events.
Founder and SLU alumnus Brian Merriman described YourEvent.
"One of the reasons that Facebook has succeeded as it has is that it uses photographs and photo sharing to articulate the relationships between people," Merriman said. "This serves as an amazing source of user acquisition and valuable graph data and has been the cornerstone of Facebook's growth over the years. It's the primary reason Facebook viewed Instagram as a threat and as an acquisition asset."
YourEvent takes this concept one step further, allowing companies and brands to become a part of the relationship by way of managing and facilitating the sharing of images. This gives organizations a way to unify their audiences, build ongoing relationships and understand their communities in very real and actionable ways, while also providing a compelling and monetizable consumer experience.
"The opportunity is huge," Merriman added. "There are literally millions of events per year where photographers and consumers alike take photos. It is in the best interest of large and high volume event holders to organize all events and event photography into one network and harness the power of the most viral element from an event - its photos."
Before founding Los Angeles-based YourEvent, Merriman was Vice President and Corporate Entrepreneur at Sony Pictures Entertainment. Most notably, he founded Sony's Content Licensing business. As a SLU alum, Merriman has been head of the SLU Southern California Alumni Group.
The Billiken Angel Network is an offshoot of the John Cook School of Business' nationally-ranked Entrepreneurship Program. The BAN is composed of 29 angels and a $1 million co-investment fund from the Saint Louis University endowment.
The BAN invests in businesses at any stage and in any industry, but it does limit investment to firms with "SLU DNA" (current or former faculty, staff or students) or referrals from local organizations promoting entrepreneurship who have partnered with BAN.
The BAN is actively recruiting angels. To be an angel, the individual or firm needs to qualify as an accredited investor and be approved by the BAN. Angels do not need to have any affiliation with SLU in order to apply.
Additional information is available from the BAN website, www.billikenangels.com or from Billiken Angel Network Director Dr. Jerome Katz, BAN Director, at 314-977-3864 or firstname.lastname@example.org.