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The startup Tongal has raised $15 million from a private equity firm for its work to crowdsource videos with big brands.

New York-based Insight Venture Partners has invested in Tongal, a startup that plans to use the funding for a rapid expansion. Tongal links writers, directors, actors, social media experts, and other creators with brands. Among the companies that have participated are Lego, Pringles, McDonald’s and Axe.

The brands say what they want in terms of a “creative need,” or the kind of advertising they want to do. Tongal then shares that with its community members, who compete to produce the best ad concept. The winning community member gets a cash prize, while the brand gets a potentially high-quality video produced in a short time and at lower cost than a typical ad agency would be able to do.

To date, Marina Del Rey, Calif.-based Tongal members have earned $3 million. Tongal’s own revenue grew 400 percent last year.

Rob Salvatore, James DeJulio, and Mark Burrell founded Tongal in 2008. They believe that breakthrough ideas can come from anywhere, that global creative talent was being under-utilized, and that brand marketers could benefit from accessing the imagination and skills of amateurs all around the world.

The challenges on the site start with an idea round. The sponsor selects the best idea submissions, and then technically skilled filmmakers bring those winning ideas to life. The process takes less than eight weeks.

“Our brand customers are thrilled with the quality and in-market performance of videos being produced on Tongal, as well the unexpected and fresh ideas that emerge,” said DeJulio, president of Tongal, in a statement.

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