Get Close and Personal – Taking on Cameo

An ambitious UK tech firm is aiming to take on US celebrity video calling service Cameo, by launching a “bigger and better” platform.

The founder of Get Close And Personal has invested £3m developing a service which allows customers to enjoy one-to-one FaceTime-style calls with actors, singers and sports-stars. Unlike Cameo, which has seen its value soar to $1bn, the British start-up also provides a recording of the calls for customers to keep and share. And it has also created a no appointment necessary system which they say makes it easier and faster for customers to connect quickly with their favourite celebrity.

So far more than 100 celebrities, including boxing hero Frank Bruno; the legendary British actor James Cosmo and reality TV sensation Carole Baskin have all signed up. Now the Oxfordshire-based start-up, which is part of Wizix Ltd, has ambitious plans to expand into Europe and the US.

Founder Colin Alton, who developed the first internal modem for the IBM PC in the UK and then founded Patientline, said: “We want to be bigger and better than Cameo.

Wizix Limited is my third start-up company and I have invested heavily to get Get Close and Personal to launch without third party funding.

“We have plenty of hard work ahead, but lockdown has created an explosion in the number of people booking calls and messages with their celebrity heroes. And we believe this demand will remain long after Covid-19 has passed. An opportunity therefore exists and our team of experts have been working tirelessly during lockdown to create a platform which fills it.”

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a flood of celebrities joining Cameo which lets fans pay their favourite stars to record video messages for their friends, family or colleagues. Cameo sold 1.3m videos last year alone – generating more than £75m in revenue. Despite Cameo’s growing popularity, Mr Alton believes there is a clear gap in the market.

He said: “Cameo is now offering video calls too but these are not recorded. And their rigid appointment and queueing system has left many of their users disappointed at not being able to connect with celebrities. Against this backdrop we’ve developed a booking system which gets over this issue and all our customers receive a full recording of their calls to keep and share forever. The reaction from users has been superb so far”

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