The Backplane is still in stealth mode but quietly ready for takeoff, with some serious passengers on board: Lady Gaga and Google chairman Eric Schmidt.
Gaga’s involvement makes sense, as the web startup is being piloted by the pop star's business manager and digital strategist, Troy Carter.
VentureWire reports that The Backplane's goal is "to create a communities platform combining calendar, email and social networking functions, including Facebook and Twitter, to allow groups ranging from Girl Scout troops to celebrity fan clubs to communicate seamlessly."
"We're a home page replacement," commented Backplane CEO Matthew Michelsen. "We have partnerships with the largest companies in Silicon Valley." And, don't forget, the world's biggest celeb.
According to the New York Times, Carter in conversation with major entertainment and sports branding powerhouses, including the NFL, to help build his vision for The Backplane to "provide a venue for online communities by combining brands’ various social media presences into one platform."
The Times' recent profile of Carter reveals that Apple's Steve Jobs invited the social marketing ninja that is Gaga and Carter to discuss Apple’s launch of Ping, a social music discovery platform, last year.
Both were concerned about Ping’s ‘lack of integration’ with Facebook, which led Carter to cream up a platform that would allow entertainers to manage their brands across all social networks. Cue Backplane, which just raised $1 million led by Schmidt's Tomorrow Ventures, with Gaga owning a 20% stake.
“We needed a more concentrated base. Backplane will provide a platform and tools for communities to socialize and communicate on a more focused level,” Carter said. “There was a time when radio stations wouldn’t play Gaga’s music, because it was considered dance. Outside of live performances, the Internet became our primary tool to help people discover her music.”
Carter is CEO of his own company (and not a Canadian DJ) called the Coalition Media Group, and manages talent including YouTube sensation Greyson Chance and Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra, and he’s invested in companies Bre.ad, Lumier and TinyChat.
“Troy and Gaga are doing things with communications and fan relationships that we haven’t really seen before,” said Gary Briggs, a Google VP, recently involved with Gaga’s Chrome TV spot.
Given that Carter’s #1 talent has locked in deals with Zynga, Google, Gilt and Amazon, it's admirable she wants to helps others find their social groove — although a great part of her social appeal is charisma and enthusiasm, which the best platform in the world — only a tool, after all — can't teach.
Follow The Backplane on its website, Twitter and Facebook, and below, watch Carter talk to Billboard's Bill Werde about working with the world's biggest star: