Issue #7 - April 5, 2021
The investor money hydrant has been popped.
Its a sad state of Internet affairs that we can’t lead this issue with a roundup of our favorite amazing and cringe-worthy Internet April fools jokes. Google officially cancelled April fools this year. Sad face.
Everyone is a VC Now (just like 10 years ago)
Roughly every ten years a new group of folks declare the end to traditional venture capitalist(s) and launch their assault on the golden paved sidewalks of Sand Hill Road. 10 years ago AngelList launched the idea of syndicates and gave angel investors like Jason Calacanis a vehicle to aggregate accredited investor cash into bigger checks. This time around the creator is the disruptor and we’re seeing a flurry of traditional an not so traditional approaches.
To kick it off, Sahil (aka the hardest working guy in the creator economy) launched a Rolling Fund only then to follow it up with a one-day 5M crowdfund for Gumroad using the new relaxed crowdfunding regulations. Since then, other members of the creator economy have jumped into the game like Jake Paul’s venture fund or Mr. Beast’s venture fund. Li Jin also announced she was teaching a cohort of creators how to make wise angel investments. Overall this is good news for the industry as institutional venture rounds keep getting bigger so a fresh supply of 25-100K checks is needed for the explosion of creator economy pre-seed deals.
CreatorScape Category Alert
It’s official - we are adding at least three more categories to this years soon-to-be-arriving CreatorScape:
Crypto - You’d have to be living under a digital rock to not have seen the wave of NFT companies that showed up this year to help creators monetize their art and super fan audiences.
Fintech - With a 50M user TAM of creators, the fintech sector can’t ignore the specialized money moving needs of this audience. We think some of the most interesting companies in 2021 will come from this category.
Houses - Influencer and creator houses are here to stay and are becoming real products with real.. err. influence.
And now.. back the people, products and companies of the creator economy…
The Little Ones
CrafterFaster - Newsletters - Launched a service that helps newsletter writers get realtime feedback on content before publishing it. No more @channeling your favorite Slack group begging for some proof reads.
Shoutout.so - B2B Influencer Marketing - Ever wondered how can you manage all those twitter quotes on your homepage? This is how. Maybe we’ll ask for some for our newsletter!
The Big Ones
Periscope - Live - Twitter finally shut it down. Almost 6 years to the day.
Sahil - CEO Gumroad and generally the most prolific person we know in the creator economy added “author” to his business card this week. He announced the pre-order of his new book. Oddly (and we have ribbed him for this) its not available on Gumroad. Full disclosure, Niel is an investor in Gumroad.
Get. That. Money.
The creator economy has definitely moved into its second inning with new infrastructure coming online for startups and massive financings for lots of foundational creator economy companies.
Substack - Newsletters - $65M worth >$1B
Cameo - Access - $100M worth > $1B
Unsplash - Licensing - Sold to Getty Images because anyone who is the image licensing business is obligated to sell to Getty at some point it seems. No reports on the price yet but we’re watching as Unsplash raised $30M along the way.
Don’t forget that Patreon raised $90M not too long ago and Linktree raised $45M recently too.
These companies all face many challenges including downward price pressure, graduation problems, and unbundling in verticals from funded incumbents. It seems to us that we are now moving into the dollar fueled land grab stage. This is where brand building becomes important and can help stave off some of the issues we mentioned.
Until next week!
As always, if you have any hot tips or hot takes on anything that happened recently in the CreatorScape, please drop as a note at email@example.com.
If you’d like to learn more about the creator economy, please check out our market landscape which is the inspiration for this newsletter. We call it the CreatorScape and you can find it here and can read an overview of how we put it together here.