Crowd-sourced video site Tongal scores $15-million investment

Tongal, the Marina del Rey start-up website that links crowd-sourced videos with major brands, has scored $15 million in funding from a private equity firm.

Insight Venture Partners, based in New York, has also invested in other online players such as Twitter and Tumblr. Tongal said it plans to use the infusion to “support plans for rapid expansion.”

Already, Tongal has linked writers, directors, actors, social media gurus and other creative types with brands such as Lego, Pringles, McDonald’s and Axe.

Companies work with Tongal to develop a set of objectives for a video or other “creative need,” which Tongal then opens up to its community of members. Throughout the idea, production and distribution phases, the sponsoring brand chooses the best concept from members’ submissions.

A cash prize pool set up by the brand is doled out among the winners. Tongal members have earned more than $3 million to date, according to the site.

The end result, according to Tongal: High-quality videos produced in less time and at a much lower cost than a standard creative firm would offer. Tongal said its revenue -- from sponsors paying platform subscription fees or one-time project fees -- grew by more than 400% last year.

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