Communo raises new funding with plans to expand

From the Tech newsletter: The platform that helps agencies find freelancers now counts Frank Palmer among its investors.

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Communo has ambitious plans for its growth and place within the advertising industry – and now, the start-up has secured additional seed funding to help make them a reality.

The funding round included Brett Wilson of holding company Prairie Merchant and Frank Palmer, the former chairman and CEO of DDB Canada.

Based in Calgary, Communo was founded in 2017 by Chris Kneeland and Ryan Gill (who also co-founded loyalty-focused agency Cult Collective and marketing conference The Gathering together). Its primary product is an HR platform that helps connect agencies in communications and marketing with talent – with a focus on freelancers – with the goal of making the process of finding and on-boarding staff with the right skills more efficient. Between those doing the hiring at agencies and the freelancers themselves, Communo currently has over 40,000 users.

Originally built to be used by Cult Collective, Communo has since been used by the likes of DDB, Critical Mass, Noise Digital and McMillan. With the new round of funding – Communo previously raised $1 million from Panache Ventures, Calgary-based asset management firm ICM and private investors in 2018 – the company plans to fund its overall growth, as well as continuing its expansion plans into the U.S. and U.K.

In 2018, Communo acquired LocalSolo, a similar online platform for freelancers based in Vancouver, opening its own office in the city shortly after it had established a presence in Seattle. Last year, Communo partnered with the ICA, giving the industry association access to the HR tool and providing agencies with relevant training, and co-working company Spaces, helping establish additional workspaces in Toronto and New York. In September, it also hired Vice Media’s former chief digital officer Mike Germano to be its New York-based president.