Social Storytelling Platform PechaKucha Raises $2.7 Million in Seed Funding

Japanese-inspired creator platform drives meaningful connections with live and virtual events; attracts notable investors from Chicago and Tokyo

PechaKucha, Inc., a social storytelling platform that has been used by millions of people across the globe, today announces a Seed funding of $2.7 million to scale its platform for time-based connectivity and sharing among creators, professionals, and brands.

PechaKucha’s raise is led by Muneaki Masuda, the founder and CEO of Culture Convenience Club Company, Limited (CCC). CCC operates Tokyo-based Tsutaya, Japan’s largest bookstore, movie, and music chain, among other companies. Participating investment firms are Lofty Ventures and Nameless Ventures with notable angel investors including Jimmy Chamberlin (CEO of Blue J Strategies and Grammy Award-winning drummer for The Smashing Pumpkins), Chuck Cohn (Founder and CEO of Nerdy), Chris Gladwin (Founder and CEO of Ocient), Paul Hsu (CEO and Founder of Decasonic), Brad Keywell (Co-Founder of Groupon, Founder and CEO of Uptake), Rob Solomon (Chairman of GoFundMe), and Vidisha Prasad (Managing Partner at Adya Partners), among others.

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“Whether in person or online, people desire to connect with others in uplifting and inspiring ways. PechaKucha provides meaningful sharing through real-world and digital talks, sessions and chats that leave people feeling motivated to do great things – for themselves and the world,” said Sean Smyth, CEO and Co-founder, PechaKucha. “Our social storytelling platform keeps engagement authentic, human, and concise – with time as our superpower.”

PeckaKucha, which means “chit-chat” in Japanese, was founded in 2003 by architects Mark Dytham and Astrid Klein of Klein Dytham architecture. It originated as a “20×20” live presentation format that consisted of 20 image-based slides, each automatically advancing every 20 seconds. The time-based talks organically grew into a global live event series attended by three million people in 140 countries with more than 150,000 presenters.

Coinciding with the Covid-19 pandemic, PechaKucha launched a virtual storytelling platform that grew to over 100,000 beta users within nine months. Users can produce and share recorded content, host live events online and offline, and build communities about popular and niche topics. PechaKucha plans to scale headcount across product design, software development, and marketing to build new video and mobile capabilities, extend social connectivity features including group chat, enhance event hosting functions including ticketing and CRM, and grow its community of content creators.

“PechaKucha has built a deeply engaged community that has accelerated in growth since the pandemic,” said Paul Hsu, CEO and Founder of Decasonic. “PechaKucha’s social storytelling platform supports content creators who seek to build strong communities and share stories for inspired outcomes. I’m excited to partner with them to further transform how communities can connect with these positive intentions.”

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