HUSSLUP, a LinkedIn for the entertainment industry, launches web app in beta

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HUSSLUP, currently in invite-only beta, is a job search and networking app that connects creative professionals in the media and entertainment industry with studios and production companies looking for talent.

Today, the company announced a web version of its mobile app. It will be rolled out widely next week.

Like LinkedIn, HUSSLUP allows users to write posts, network with others, and search for gigs.

However, rather than targeting the general public, the app aims to be a central hub for creative professionals in the entertainment industry, above or below the line, to collaborate on a project, promote an upcoming movie/TV show, invite others to an event, find new talent and more.

Other community tools include the ability to create a group, share coded creative samples, chat via in-app messenger, and create annotated contact lists for any project, movie, or show.

Coinciding with the web launch, the company also introduced new web-based features called “Pro Search,” a proprietary feature that allows for more in-depth searches, and “Serendipity Mode,” a Tinder-like section on the platform where users can quickly connect with other members .

Image Credits: HUSSLUP

The new ProSearch tools give executives a way to search for talent based on specific criteria, such as their credit level, representation, preferred genre/project types, availability, locations where they want to work, professional preferences and more.

Users can also save potential hires to a list, where they can then add comments, note which person they hired, and share with others.

Notably, the tool also allows users to sort search results to discover diverse hires. HUSSLUP claims that approximately 65% ​​of its current membership self-identifies as diverse in at least one of the following categories: gender, race, and LGBTQ+.

The industry continues to receive criticism for under-representation, so HUSSLUP’s new feature is an important addition to its toolbox.

Of the 200 highest-grossing theatrical releases at the North American box office in 2022, people of color (POC) made up just 22% of the lead actors, 17% of the directors, and 12% of the writers, according to UCLA’s 2023 Hollywood Diversity Report.

Web users also get “Serendipity Mode”, a feature that allows them to “swipe” – or click right or left with their mouse in this case – on tiles containing member, company, and community profiles. The cards are randomly arranged to give users a better chance of discovering a wide variety of people.

In the future, the company plans to launch more web-based features, HUSSLUP founder H Schuster told AapkaDost. This includes “Project Rosters”, a feature that allows users to list their hires and generate call lists, anonymized statistical reports for tax benefits, and more.

HUSSLUP also plans to create a text, image, and video search tool, as well as AI-powered recommendations.

Image Credits: HUSSLUP

Unlike most professions, there is no book of rules for getting into a career in entertainment. Most of the time, you’ll have connections in the right places, have luck on your side that week, or – if you’re lucky – you’ll be a fake baby.

Hence HUSSLUP’s slogan: “Transforming Hollywood from clique to click.”

Schuster founded HUSSLUP as a possible solution to this ongoing clique problem – “the antiquated phone game,” as she and her team like to call it.

An executive producer with 20 years of Hollywood experience, Schuster has worked on reality shows like “MasterChef” and “The Biggest Loser,” and he knows all too well how frustrating it can be to find new talent.

“When I was behind the desk hiring, I literally made five or 10 calls to colleagues, friends, a manager, agent, and I got five or 10 names,” Schuster told AapkaDost. “You don’t know these people, so you then try to get their credits on IMDb and their creative examples on YouTube… It’s super painful and disjointed, and it can take a really long time to find someone who’s available and then vet them .”

“There has to be a more efficient and also more enjoyable way, quite frankly, for creative talent to collect all their professional information in the first place and build a profile that allows them to really tell the story of themselves and others. present themselves to the industry as they want to be seen,” she added.

H Schuster, founder and CEO of HUSSLUP. Image Credits: HUSSLUP

All profiles on HUSSLUP have verified credits to make sure everyone on the app has worked in the industry at some point. About 75% of HUSSLUP users are at least mid-career, Schuster claims, ranging from directors, writers, producers, editors, animators, composers, music supervisors, art directors, and more.

However, once the app leaves beta, the company eventually wants to invite students and recent graduates who are still looking to break into the industry. HUSSLUP is currently collaborating with a number of universities.

The company also partners with numerous production companies, studios and organizations, including Universal Studio Group, Universal Pictures, Blumhouse, Will Smith-founded Westbrook, the Russo Brothers’ AGBO, Tyra Banks’ Bankable Productions, Don Cheadle’s This Radicle Act and Women in Movie, among others.

In December 2022, HUSSLUP raised a $2.5 million seed round led by f7 Ventures and Fuel Capital, with additional funding from Ulu Ventures, Gaingels and 360 Venture Collective.

Previously, HUSSLUP raised a pre-seed investment in 2021 with the Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs accelerator powered by Techstars.

To date, HUSSLUP has approximately 6,000 members, according to the company.

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