Why investing in creators is the next big thing ?
“Creativity can solve almost any problem. The creative act, the defeat of habit by originality, overcomes everything.” — George Lois
If you know a little about startups, you will instantaneously realise that startups and individual creators (youtubers & streamers especially) have a lot in common.
Indeed, to reach success they both need to identify a market with a real need, effectively and timely address this market, improve constantly, find a great team and last but not least, make money in order to keep on existing. Needless to say, such paths is hard and “many are called but only a few are chosen’’.
And all of this got me thinking… Why do creators and startups have so much in common ? How can we apply to creators what we learned from the startup world ? What will the future look like for both of these industries ?
Those are the questions we will try to answer today, starting with the first one : Why are creators and startups so similar ?
Because they are able to solve problems in unique manners
Google, Amazon, Instacart, Coinbase and so much more of these successful companies were and still are, pain killers. Addressing their respective market with a unique solution and getting in exchange millions of users willing to include them in their daily life just in order to keep on benefiting from their solutions.
Now, guess what ? MrBeast, MKBHD, Pewdiepie or even Cocomelon — Nursery Rhymes did and still do exactly the same things. They addressed the market with an unique value proposition/solution and just like the previously stated businesses, people loved them so much that they decide to include them into their daily life.
The moral of this story being that as long as you solve a problem a lot of people have, you will always be eligible for mass adoption which will directly translate into becoming famous, rich and above all valuable.
Yet, startups and creators do not benefit from the same treatment. Startups raise millions very early (sometimes way too early) while creators have to bootstrap their way to the top despite showing crazy numbers in terms of acquisition (followers, subs etc) and even sometimes in terms of revenue. I actually twitted about this here.
However, this isn't any kind of discrimination against the creators of course. One of the reasons why you don't have VCs in the creators world is because most people believe that creativity isn't scalable (or not as much as a corporation in the most traditional way to see it). And up to very recently, this previous statement was more or less true. Nonetheless, things have changed and within the Hypeeo team, we actually believe that creativity is scalable. It has already been done by some famous creators and when you apply the techniques and learnings from the startup world to the creative world well…
Investing early can pay big times
In the startup universe, you learn very early that timing is everything. In addition, the sooner is often the better (assuming you are there at the right time 😉). Once started (and ideally founded), you ''just'' have to keep rocking by acquiring a lot of users, getting more market share as fast as possible, raising more funds and soon enough you are a unicorn. After that, you can maintain a yearly growth (around 20 to 25% minimum), you wait once again for the right timing et voilà, you can now exit wether via selling to a bigger fish or simply via the very appreciated IPO.
I oversimplify of course but the takeaway is that if you re-read the previous part and simply switch the word ''startup'' with ''creators'', (you can also switch ''users'' by ''followers'' or ''subscribers'') you will notice that the story still makes sense. The only part missing for creators being the « exit » but even there, despite most creators not exiting their personal name, some do manage to exit a company they have created leveraging this same name. Famous example being Kylie Jenner who sold (or is still in the process of selling) Kylie Cosmetics for $600 million or Jay-Z who sold Ace of Spades to LVMH for around $300 million. Not bad right ?
Nevertheless, this is fairly rare in the « classical » creator game. However, it doesn't have to stay this way. Creators have proven that they can bootstrap and create a valuable brand out of nothing, not only the super star like Jay-Z or Kylie, but anyone. Actually what separate the super star from the rest of the popular creators is nothing else than funding and support. So imagine what would happen if a good enough number of creators started to receive proper investment, advice and so much more of the things startups also receive early on ? Imagine if the investments are decentralised, using blockchain (for example) and where any fan can now participate and invest in his favorite creators by acquiring his or her tokens ? What would happen ?
The creator becomes a brand and a brand is scalable.
With the blockchain technology and the wild appearance of cryptocurrencies, all the pieces are now available for the revolution to start. Creators are already the startup of now and tomorrow in their own way. Cryptocurrencies being the equivalent of the stocks without having to get into the legal hurdle that come usually with it, the only missing parameters are the funding.. but trust me, they are coming. Because once you realised that out of one ''little'' youtuber, streamer or even instagramer, you can actually create an empire, a brand or worst.. a monopoly, you actually realised that there is money to be made. And none of what I’m saying is a wild dream. It has already been done. This is what athletes like Michael Jordan, rappers like Kanye West and many more have been doing for decades : Leveraging their name and make it a brand.
So while we wait for proper VCs to wake up, we at Hypeeo.com, we believe that Brian Chesky is right: ‘’better have 100 people that love you than 1000 that like you’’. Therefore, we already started to invest our own money into creators and we let anyone else do the same using our platform which itself leverage the blockchain technology. Because when you see people buying MrBeast T-shirts for no specific reason outside of being a fan, subscribing to twitch channels (when technically the content is there and free already), gifting bits or direct money to their favorite creators (that often already makes more money than them, hello Ninja) , you soon realised that people are already craving for this. They want to show their love. They want to be active backers and I can assure you, if you offer these same true, dedicated fans a concrete chance to actually invest in their creators, there is no reason on earth why they wouldn’t.
The only question remaining is who are those that will facilitate this all process so well that in 10 years from now, the classical good father and husband will not only have Apple stocks but also some $MKBHD tokens as a full part of his very serious 20 years plan investment strategy.
We, of course, are betting on us but wether or not we are within the chosen few, I can promise you one thing. We will not stop until this future actually happen, because this isn't only about money, this is about challenging the status quo, hopefully for the better.