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Chicago startup Popular Pays gets $3.1 million

Popular Pays, a startup that helps companies generate social-media buzz, is ginning up a little interest of its own.

The Chicago-based tech company raised $3.1 million from GoAhead Ventures, a Silicon Valley fund, as well as Hyde Park Angels and Pallasite Ventures.

Popular Pays, founded by former Leo Burnett account executive Corbett Drummey, built a gig-economy platform of independent contractors with large social-media followings who agree to promote products and services for companies on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Snap.

The four-year-old company has worked with more than 300 brands and advertising agencies, including electronics maker Bose and agency Havas. Last year, 2,600 independent contractors on its network were paid to create content.

The company, based in the West Loop, went through the Y Combinator accelerator in Siilcon Valley in 2015 and had about seven employees when it returned to Chicago. It has 24 employees and plans to add another dozen by the end of the year, Drummey said. Popular Pays has raised about $6 million and broke even in the fourth quarter.

Read more at Crain’s Chicago