Tuesday, September 14, 2021

The top creator economy startups VCs are watching in 2021

In the past year, VCs have fallen in love with the creator economy, as a new crop of startups has emerged to help support the needs of influencers and creators.

We spoke with top VCs and asked them which creator startups they thought were poised to take off. We told each VC to choose two companies, including one they weren't invested in.

Here are a few takeaways from their 20 picks:

Some companies, like Karat and Stir, help influencers manage their finances.

Substack and Patreon offer new ways to earn subscription revenue.

NFT (non-fungible tokens) startups like Dapper Labs and Eternal let fans support their favorite creators through virtual collectibles.

"The creator economy will comprise a vast percentage of the workforce of the future, and those creators will need financial services to meet their needs - both as businesses and individuals," said Alexa von Tobel, founding partner at Inspired Capital.

How top video-game coaches are making $1,350 per week

ProGuides is a platform that allows gamers to purchase coaching from high-level players.

The startup has seen a surge in coaching revenue growth during the pandemic.

My colleague Michael Espinosa reported that the platform's ten highest earning coaches earn $1,350 for 39 hours of coaching weekly, on average, according to the company.

ProGuides saw revenue from its coaching division grow by over 350% year over year from 2019 to 2020, according to CEO Sam Wang. He said coaching revenue has continued to increase in 2021.

"I think it's related to a growing trend in millennials and Gen Z to purchase experiences rather than material items," said Kristoph Oedman, ProGuides' president.

How influencers reach out to brands to get paid collaborations

Many influencer collaborations start with a pitch, through Instagram DM, email, or other methods.

My colleague Sydney Bradley and I spoke with creators across social media on how they pitch brands.

Here's a breakdown of some of the strategies influencers use to reach out:

Micro influencer Ashley Jones said her strategy consists of posting about products she loves on Instagram and tagging the brand.

Nano influencer Laur DeMartino said she will find brand PR reps or influencer-marketing contacts on LinkedIn.

Part-time lifestyle influencer Gigi Kovach keeps a "pitch bank" of email templates handy when she's reaching out to brands and potential sponsors.

A new livestreaming app for finance influencers will let viewers trade stocks as they watch

Trading.TV is a new Twitch-style platform for finance influencers that's currently in beta.

Dan Whateley wrote that the company plans to introduce a feature that will let users trade stocks as they watch livestreams.

It has raised $6.1 million by tapping into trends in retail trading and the creator economy.

To lure talent onto the app, the company launched a $1 million creator fund.

Here's a rundown of how the platform works:

The company plans to make money by selling advertising opportunities to brands and taking a cut of any tips, donations, and subscription revenue earned by creators on its platform.

Trading.TV said it will enlist community moderators and "super admins" to help police its content.

"They're trying to basically popularize this intersection between finance and games by way of feeding into the retail-based trading that's going on," said Joost van Dreunen, an adjunct assistant professor at NYU's Stern School of Business. "There is a market there. There is a demand there. The meme stocks have proven as much."

Amanda Perelli, BII


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