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Creator Economy Breakout Stars 💫

Creator Economy Breakout Stars 💫
June 3, 2021

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Last month, we looked at Big Tech’s adoption of tipping for content, in an effort to keep creators on their platforms. Today we’re looking at the startups offering these solopreneurs the ability to take their audiences off-platform and to monetize everything from their decision of what to have for breakfast to selling shares of their video content through NFTs


Photo by Mateus Campos Felipe on Unsplash

Phase 1 of Creator Economy:

The first phase of this industry, according to an investor in this space, SignalFire, was the Birth of Media Platforms. These platforms are the big-name social media companies that introduced us to ideas like “viral” videos and highly-crafted images through Canva & Lightrick's Facetune

Phase 2: Influencer Marketing
The concept of followers created paid opportunities for posts, and suddenly, mommy bloggers and amateur athletes were getting sponsored deals as enterprise companies shifted their marketing strategies. CreatorIQ and Collectively sprouted enterprise influencer marketing data solutions.

Phase 3: Creators as Companies
A flurry of new startups are in the business of direct interactions between content creators and their fans, enabling creators to take their fans off-platform and direct them to the creator's website or podcast, avoiding the 30-50% cut YouTube or Twitch might take.

5 Private Companies in the Creator Economy:

  • Kajabi offers content creators a way to monetize their knowledge and skills through offering online courses. After spending 10 years as a bootstrapped (and profitable) business, they raised $550MM in equity funding in May, taking their post-money valuation to $2BN.

  • Pearpop powers collaboration between creators and their fans, primarily through TikTok. Fans can buy comments on their videos, which boosts the fans' clout and in turn, might help them rise in followers and engagement. This model earned them a $10MM Round A led by Alexis Ohanian in April. 

  • Whatnot offers a comparably analog way to earn money, through a community marketplace for limited edition toys and collectibles as well as live events. The company raised $50MM in May from Y Combinator and a mix of angels and VCs.

  • NewNew founder Courtne Smith is offering fans the opportunity to control moments of their fave creator’s lives in the attention economy. Through customizable polling, a creator of any reach can ask followers what he or she should text an ex, name the character in his or her upcoming graphic novel, or even generally do with his or her day. The Founders Fund, a16z and Canaan Partners were among their first investors. 

  • OnlyFans is the subscription platform where creators are taking their more risqué content and turning it into cash. It has seen a boom in creators flocking to the platform in need of extra money. The London-based company is valued at over $1BN and shows no sign of slowing down (or covering up).
The Poster Boy of SPACs

A long read centered on SPAC hypebeast Chamath Palihapitiya.
[New Yorker]



SoftBank loses big after $200MM investment
Heavily-padded construction giant Katerra is shutting down after achieving $2BN valuation.
Since last week, PrivCo has added:

607 Companies | 260 Funding Activities | 89 M&A Deals

Funding & Deal Highlights:


Bill Ninja raises $45MM from Accel Partners

Fintech Software & Internet Services • Round D • Silver Spring, MD

Wefox raises $650MM from Target Global Ventures 

Insurance Services • Round C • Berlin, Germany

Dehlivery raises $277MM from Fidelity Investments 

Logistic Services • Round H • Gurgaon, India

Chipper Cash raises $100MM from SVB Capital

Fintech Software & Internet Services • Round C • San Francisco, CA

Sennder GmbH raises $80MM from Baillie Gifford 

Freight Software & Internet Services • Round D • Berlin, Germany

Redacted raises $35MM from Ten Eleven Ventures

Security Software & Internet Services • Round B • San Francisco, CA

Project44 raises $202MM from Goldman Sachs & Emergence Capital

Logistics Software & Internet Services • Round E • Chicago, IL

Perch raises $775MM from Softbank Vision Fund 2

Professional Services • Round A • Boston, MA

ElectroNeek Robotics raises $20MM from Baring Vostok Capital Partners

Robotics Software & Internet Services • Round A • San Francisco, CA

Mirror raises from A16Z & Union Square Ventures

Crypto Software & Internet Services • Seed • San Francisco, CA

Almirall acquires Bioniz Therapeutics for $62MM

Biotechnology • Acquisition • Irvine, CA

Maximus acquires Veterans Evaluation Services for $1.4BN

Health Care Services • Acquisition • Houston, TX 

Pluralsight to acquire A Cloud Guru

Cloud Software & Internet Services • Acquisition • Austin, TX

Etsy to acquire Depop for $1.65BN

Apparel Software & Internet Services • Acquisition • London, UK

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