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US music star Usher has signed with an Australian startup that just raised $10.5 million

Usher and Justin Bieber perform on NBC’s ‘Today’ on November 23, 2011. (Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)

US music star Usher has joined Australian entertainment tech startup MSMCI as chief creative director and judge for its smartphone-delivered talent show.

The ASX-listed company has also completed a capital raising round worth $10.5 million.

MSMCI raised $8.63 million from 43.15 million new shares at 20 cents, compared to the current market price of 22 cents. The remaining $1.87 million will be in the form of convertible loans.

MSMCI is producing a show called Megastar, which it claims is the first mainstream talent competition to cross over from television to smartphones. The company is promising to combine “social media, gaming and live entertainment” into the viewer experience, with a top prize of $US1 million for the contestants and unusual giveaways for the audience, such as roles in films.

The show is already “live” in the UK, South Africa, New Zealand and Canada, with an Australian and USA launch coming in September.

Usher will act as mentor, judge and brand ambassador.

“I’m thrilled to be a part of this creative, next-generation online competition,” he said.

MSMCI said $5.7 million of the latest capital raise would go towards “talent acquisition costs for payments to celebrity judges and mentors”, with more famous names to join the show, but did not say how precisely much money is being spent on the eight-time Grammy Award winner.

Usher’s tenure will last until 60 days after the final of Megastar this year, with remuneration paid as “staggered cash payments, performance rights and royalties (based on incomes generated from the sale of sponsorships, advertising or date, physical merchandise or other sources)”.

MSMCI boasts a former Netflix data scientist, Pandora founder and former Big Brother executive among its staff and in March it signed Australian model and YouTube lip sync trio SketchSHE as hosts for Megastar.

The company reverse-listed on the ASX in January 2016 with $7 million in cash reserves and partnerships with US music studio and distribution firms. The company tapped professional and sophisticated investors for a further $4,882,000 in September 2016.

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