5 creator economy VCs see startup opportunities in monetization, discovery and much more
Everyone knows YouTubers and other creators are popular with internet users of all ages. But today, these influencers also have real businesses powered by a range of software tools and service providers who help weave videos, pictures, clips, memes and other types of content into sustainable success.
The pandemic added fuel to existing trends pushing growth in this category. Today, the platforms are bigger and more diverse than ever and many creators have years of experience growing audiences and monetizing online. Parallel to this industry, the rapid overall growth of enterprise technologies allow for many new types of creator-focused products to be built. Top investors in the space are seeing new opportunities for startups to build tools that help creators monetize and grow or solve needs that are specific to creator subverticals like gaming or coaching/education.
For this particular investor survey, we dug through notes from the following:
- Benjamin Grubbs, founder, Next10 Ventures
- Li Jin, founder, Atelier Ventures
- Brian O’Malley, general partner, Forerunner Ventures
- Eze Vidra, managing partner, Remagine Ventures
- Josh Constine, principal, SignalFire
The blank spaces in the creator economy
As with many industries that fall under the broad banner of tech, digital creators saw an acceleration from COVID-19, investors said. The simple fact that millions of us are inside and on our phones a lot has helped creators expand their audiences. (More on this in our digital media investor survey from the other week.)
More people also became creators. Jin noted that the pandemic has led to “people experimenting with creative hobbies and passions,” which smells like rising creator TAM from our perspective.
A broader definition of what constitutes a creator means more potential customers for startups looking to serve them, and perhaps a greater total revenue in the market could be an impact of COVID.
There are ample places for building in the creator economy, including discovery, which O’Malley cited as a key issue. “The best content doesn’t always rise to the top,” he said, adding that “incentives remain to create content that will be viral and get eyeballs” and to nab the content of others over creating net-new material.