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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

May 8, 2008 at 11:14 AM

Ohmigod! Celeb crazy Coolspotters launches, with Seattle funding

The latest Starwave spawn is Coolspotters, an outrageously materialistic online shopping/celebrity/social networking venture that could make a bundle for its Seattle investors.

Coolspotters is a site where fans can learn about and buy the stuff their favorite celebrities are purportedly using. Users can build profiles listing their favorite fans, and share and discuss fans and stuff with others obsessed about the same celebrities. It’s like iLike for brand name stuff.

A cut from its home page:

coolspotters2.JPG

Here’s how CEO and co-foudner Aaron LaBerge described it in the launch release today:

“Pop culture plays a huge role in our lives. It helps influence the clothes we wear, the movies we watch,

the music we listen to, and ultimately what we think is cool. We’ve all heard a song in a commercial and wanted to know what it was; seen a pair of sunglasses on an actor and wondered where we could get them; or simply wondered what products our favorite celebrities are using. We built Coolspotters to help answer those questions and much more.“

LaBerge went from Starwave to Disney and ESPN before starting Fanzter, the Collinsville, Conn.-based parent company of Coolspotters. The co-founder is Eric Kirsten, who previously worked at AT&T and Universal Pictures.

The Starwave background connected LaBerge to former Starwave boss Mike Slade, now a venture capitalist at Second Avenue Partners.

That led to funding from a Seattle coalition including Second Avenue, Zillow Chief Executive Rich Barton and Curious Office Partners, the incubator run by Adrian Hanauer and Kelly Smith.

Coolspotters is a product placement bonanza. Pepsi’s already signed on as a sponsor, and the site prominently features Lindsay Lohan sipping a can of the soda.

It also makes quite a statement about society nowadays. It’s like a reality TV show that leaves you wondering if the producers are being ironic.

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