Read the pitch decks that helped 22 creator economy startups raise millions of dollars
- The "
creator economy" is catching the attention – and wallets — of notable VCs.
startupsare raising millions of dollars.
The phrase "creator economy" skyrocketed as a buzzword in 2021 as creators, VCs, and entrepreneurs rushed to cash in on a booming industry.
More than 70,000 people used the phrase online between January and September 2021, according to United Talent Agency's IQ department, which tracks influencer-industry trends.
Money spent by marketers in the influencer-marketing industry was estimated to exceed $4 billion in 2022, according to Insider Intelligence — but the creator economy now extends far beyond marketing.
Fueling this rapid growth is the millions of dollars being invested into startups like link-in-bio service Linktree (valued at $1.3 billion earlier this year) or affiliate marketing platform LTK (valued at $2 billion in late 2021). Creators themselves are getting investors, too, and groups — like esports team Faze Clan — are going public.
Here are 13 investors and VC firms funding innovative startups in the creator economy
In 2021, more than $5 billion was invested into creator-focused startups in the US, according to The Information.
And while investors may be looking at slightly different factors now that the greater market has cooled off, they are still looking for startups creating practical tools for creator businesses.
For instance, July — a creator economy startup with a mission to simplify the brand deal process — announced in December a $2.3 million pre-seed round led by Alexis Ohanian's Seven Seven Six fund.
So, how do creator economy startups land those investments? Often, it starts with a
Lumanu, a creator-focused financial startup, uses a simple pitch deck that is more of a "conversation guider," cofounder and CEO Tony Tran told Insider.
"My pitch is always why, what, how, and why now?" Tran said. (Read the full pitch deck here.)
Skye, a career-coaching startup, had different decks depending on the type of investor or fund they were pitching to.
"I had two different versions, depending on the fund," said Jessica Wolf, Skye's CEO and cofounder. "If I knew a fund was more into pre-seed, all about the founder, I had one deck. But if I knew that they were a numbers person, I would use another one."
But every startup has a different approach.
Insider talked with founders who've pitched their startups to investors about their process. They broke down the
- Restream, a livestreaming alternative to platforms like Amazon-owned Twitch: $50 million Series A (14 pages)
- Pearpop, a creator marketing platform: $18 million Series A (18 pages)
- Spoon Radio, a social audio startup: $17 million Series A (15 pages)
- Kyra, a content studio, talent management firm and influencer marketing platform: $15 million Series A (20 pages
- Lumanu, a business-solutions platform for creators: $12 million Series A (8 pages)
- Hype, a platform for link-in-bio and other creator-monetization tools: $10 million Series A (13 pages)
- Slip.stream, a music startup focused on gamers: $7.5 million Series A (13 pages)
- Scenario, a generative-AI startup to create gaming art and assets: $6 million Seed (8 pages)
- Authoritive, an online course-development startup: $5 million Seed (11 pages)
- Brag House, an esports startup: $5 million Series A (24 pages)
- Anima, an augmented-reality startup: $3 million (15 pages)
- Spark, a digital art platform from YouTuber Moriah Elizabeth: $2.5 million Seed (9 pages)
- Insense, a startup helping e-commerce brands get low-cost ads: $2.5 million Pre-Series A (9 pages)
- July, a "talent manager in your pocket" for creators: $2.3 million Pre-Seed (9 pages)
- Supercast, a podcast subscriptions startup: $2 million Seed (20 pages)
- Chartmetric, a music data and measurement company: $2 million Seed (46 pages)
- Ultimate Playlist, a music-marketing startup: $2 million round (9 pages)
- Squads, a startup that helps creators mint and sell crypto coins: $1.8 million Pre-Seed (12 pages)
- Skye, a career-coaching platform: $1.6 million Pre-Seed (33 pages)
- Magroove a music distribution and discovery platform: $1.6 million Seed (21 pages)
- Stagetime, a professional networking startup for performing artists: $1.5 million Seed (13 pages)
- Jubilee, a content studio looking to expand beyond YouTube and TikTok: $1.1 million Seed-Plus (12 pages)
- Spore, a content and community building startup: $1 million Pre-Seed (17 pages)
- Our Future, a short-form video news brand that targets Gen Z: acquired (15 pages)