By Michael Gruen, blockchain, DeFi, CPG, SoMe Tech, and entertainment industry entrepreneur. At only 22, Michael has millions worth of BTC.
Social media has gone through multiple iterations since it first took shape in the 1990s, but the current cohort of social media influencers and creators stands out from the rest. This unique class is blessed because they have the most advanced technology to date at their disposal and the most history to learn from, so it is no surprise that this cohort’s elite have made the fewest mistakes and are on track to change the world.
Venture capitalists view creators as worthy investments.
This class, per the New York Times, is the group that forced investors to “finally embrace the influencer economy as a legitimate business.” Another news outlet recently reported that “REMUS, an early-stage venture capital firm, recently hired an 18-year-old TikTok star, as a venture partner,” as an indication that Silicon Valley elite are finally realizing that there is something different about the incoming batch of creators.
Influencers have previously tried to cross over into the Silicon Valley bubble and have had only moderate success. Content-creator trailblazers like Cameron Dallas and Jake Paul teamed up with a funder to form TGZ Capital but didn’t stick together for a second fund.
Creators have power through their numbers. In 2021, social following is a kind of currency, but the key difference between a creator’s reach compared to a traditional celebrity’s is the level of engagement, which is where the real value is. Today’s creators can generate substantial engagement and add value to the projects or ventures they support.
Tech companies recognize influencer status.
Several technology companies are also legitimizing these creators by developing software and partnerships that acknowledge them as substantial business owners, including:
• Stir, a back-end CFO suite for creators.
• Karat, a credit card company that allows creators to obtain a credit card with significant credit despite what FICO scores might dictate to a traditional lending service.
• Breakr, a music marketplace that allows influencers to seamlessly pair with independent artists and get paid. It had its round led by A16Z’s TxO fund, which invests solely in marginalized founders.
• PearPop, the Cameo-like company that allows creators to monetize their TikTok audiences through duets, creators to run charity fundraisers creatively and fans to become instantly famous.
• Versus Game, a company that allows creators to monetize, at scale, this or that questions.
These technology companies are starting to pop up and garner investments from some of the biggest VCs and angel investors. Karat raised $28 million in its series B in May of 2019, and that is just the start for the rapidly developing creator tech space.
Wall Street acknowledges that social media creators can be formidable.
After the fiasco with GameStop’s stock due to social media platform Reddit, Wall Street is now also being forced to take social media influencers seriously. People follow with their wallets, and now that hedge fund managers have lost billions, it behooves them to delve into trying to understand social media and its top users. Waving off creators as futile children was an understandable first reaction a year ago, but at this point, an investor ignoring the creator economy is being grossly irresponsible.
This only proves that besides the power to create a new marketplace, creators can produce seismic shifts in the economy over time as well because trends change and technology advances, as in a split second.
The future is creators.
In a forever-changing world, the internet is certainly playing a big part in driving the future. The internet has offered widely available access to information, decentralized media and opened the doors to the creator economy. In turn, society now has a hunger for a wide variety of content that will only continue to grow. It is only logical that creators who are native to the internet will have an advantage over traditional talent.