Top VCs Investing in the $100 Billion Creator Economy

Published September 27, 2022

“Creators are the new founders”

“What is the creator economy? It’s defined as the class of businesses built by over 50 million independent content creators, curators, and community builders including social media influencers, bloggers, and videographers, plus the software and finance tools designed to help them with growth and monetization.” Signal Fire

What is the creator economy?

Prepandemic the creator economy was not a space that many investors were paying attention to, two years later there are barely any that aren’t. A lot has changed during this time, one of the driving forces being how Millennials and GenZ see their working futures. Even though remote work gave people a new sense of freedom and much-needed work-life balance, it also inspired many to rethink work completely. The verdict for many was that the 9-5 life was not for them and they wanted to use their own passions, creativity, and skills to make a living. Now more than 50 million people globally would consider themself to be a creator. Making it the fastest growing type of small business.

So whether you’re a creator yourself seeking inspiration on how to monetize in this space, seeking investment, or an investor looking to capitalize this is most definitely an industry to keep your eyes on.

According to Signal Fire, the three top trends in the creator economy are:

  • Creators moving their top fans off of social networks and on to their own websites, apps, and monetization tools
  • Creators becoming founders, building out teams and assembling tools to help them start businesses while focuses on their art
  • Creators gaining power in the media ecosystem as fans seek to connect with individual personalities rather than faceless publishers

What else can creators sell to monetize?

So the obvious and sometimes unclear question is, how can content creators use social platforms to earn money? Here are just a few ways Signal Fire highlighted:

  • Advertising revenue shares
  • Sponsored content
  • Product placement
  • Tipping
  • Paid subscriptions
  • Digital content sales
  • Merchandise
  • Shout-outs
  • Live and virtual events
  • VIP meetups
  • Fan clubs
  • Fan Engagement
  • Online Courses / Webinars
  • Newsletters / ebooks
  • Merchandise

“As of March 2022, only 15 creator economy platforms have reached unicorn status in the last three years. Still, the category is now worth over $100 billion—with 200 million creators part of it—and growing fast. Anyone can now become a creator, including the 29% of American students who selected it as their preferred career choice. Of course that means the space is becoming fiercely competitive.” Antler

“As the creator economy enters Web3, platforms are becoming more transparent and handing the power to the creator.” Antler

Areas of Investment

VCs are investing in tools to help influencers operate and monetize. Here are some examples of the areas of focus that we gathered from SignalFire’s Creator Economy Market Map.

Related Resource: 14 Gaming and Esports Investors You Should Know

Content Creation Tools 

  • Video
  • Photography / Graphic Design
  • Motion Photos
  • Music
  • Podcast

Influencer Marketing

  • Specialized Influencer Marketing Agencies.
  • Influencer Marketing Platforms and Marketplaces:
  • CRM Tools

Patronage Platforms

Other Opportunities 

  • Community Engagement Tools
  • Finance Management Tools

Resources

Top VCs Actively Investing in the Creator Economy

While some companies are now facing serious layoffs and others struggling to fundraise as per Crunchbase, “Funding into VC-backed creator economy startups has already reached $637 million as of July (excluding crypto and NFT startups).” When comparing that to last year’s $939 million funding total it’s still looking very favorable for the creator space!

SignalFire

Location: San Francisco, California, United States

About: SignalFire is a venture capital firm that invests in seed-stage companies and breakout companies.

Investment Stages: Seed, Series A, Series B

Recent Investments: 

  • OneSignal
  • Ledger Investing
  • Join

Check out SignalFire’s Visible Connect Profile, to learn more!

Antler

About: Antler is a global startup generator and early-stage VC that is building the next big wave of tech. With the mission to turn exceptional individuals into great founders, Antler aims to create thousands of companies globally.

Thesis: We identify and invest in exceptional people

Investment Stages: Pre-Seed, Seed

Recent Investments: 

  • Mast Technologies
  • Upflowy
  • Appboxxo

Check out Antler’s Visible Connect Profile, to learn more!

Forerunner Ventures

Location: San Francisco, California, United States

About: VC firm investing in transformative B2C & B2B companies defining a new generation of business, with an eye on the consumer.

Investment Stages: Seed, Series A, Series B, Growth

Recent Investments: 

  • Kinly
  • Eclipse Foods
  • Balance

Check out Forerunner Ventures Visible Connect Profile, to learn more!

Harlem Capital

Location: New York, United States

About: Harlem Capital is an early-stage venture firm that invests in post-revenue tech-enabled startups, focused on minority and women founders.

Thesis: Women or POC founders (no deep tech, bio, crypto, hardware)

Investment Stages: Seed, Series A, Series B, Growth

Recent Investments: 

  • Lami
  • Gander
  • The House of LR&C

Check out Harlem Capital’s Visible Connect Profile, to learn more!

Index Ventures

Location: San Francisco, California, United States

About: They are an international venture capital firm based in London, San Francisco and Geneva.

Thesis: Other firms invest in deals, Index invests in people. A deal is transactional. Relationships endure, and ours are based on curiosity, thoughtfulness, and deep conviction.

Investment Stages: Seed, Series A, Series B, Series C, Growth

Recent Investments: 

  • Topi
  • Vetted
  • Footprint

Check out Index Ventures’ Visible Connect Profile, to learn more!

Jump Capital

Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

About: Jump Capital is a venture capital firm specializing in Series A & B expansion stage investments in technology and software.

Investment Stages: Seed, Series A, Series B, Growth

Recent Investments: 

  • Highline Technologies
  • Spectral
  • Pebble

Check out Jump Capital’s Visible Connect Profile, to learn more!

Lightspeed

Location: Menlo Park, California, United States

About: Lightspeed Venture Partners is a venture capital firm that is engaged in the consumer, enterprise, technology, and cleantech markets.

Thesis: The future isn’t built by dreamers. It’s built today, by doers.

Investment Stages: Pre-Seed, Seed, Series A, Series B, Growth

Recent Investments: 

  • Arena Club
  • Mysten Labs
  • Alloy

Check out Lightspeed’s Visible Connect Profile, to learn more!

Sequoia Capital

Location: Menlo Park, California, United States

About: Sequoia is a VC firm focused on energy, financial, enterprise, healthcare, internet, and mobile startups.

Thesis: We partner early. We’re comfortable with the rough imperfection of a new venture. We help founders from day zero, when the DNA of their businesses first takes shape.

Investment Stages: Seed, Series A, Series B, Growth

Recent Investments: 

  • Protégé
  • Newness
  • Draftea

Check out Sequoia Capital’s Visible Connect Profile, to learn more!

MaC Venture Capital

Location: Culver City, California, United States

About: MaC Venture Capital is an early stage venture capital firm focused on finding ideas, technology and products that can become infectious.

Thesis: We invest in technology companies that create infectious products that benefit from shifts in cultural trends and behaviors in an increasingly diverse global marketplace.

Investment Stages: Seed

Recent Investments: 

  • Medu
  • Love
  • Petra

Check out MaC Venture Capital’s Visible Connect Profile, to learn more!

Night Ventures

Location: Texas, United States

Thesis: Our LPs are 50+ of the top creators in the world across YouTube, TikTok, Twitch and elsewhere. Together, we specialize in influence – understanding what’s popular, what’s trending and how to acquire more customers/fans of your product.

Recent Investments: 

  • Moonpay
  • Pearpop
  • Beacons

Check out Night Ventures’ Visible Connect Profile, to learn more!

Slow Ventures

Location: San Francisco, California, United States

About: Slow Ventures invests in companies central to the technology industry and those on the edges of science, society, and culture.

Thesis: Slow Ventures invests in companies central to the technology industry and those on the edges of science, society, and culture.

Investment Stages: Seed, Series A

Recent Investments: 

  • Juice
  • Stem
  • Human

Check out  Slow Ventures’ Visible Connect Profile, to learn more!

Behind Genius Ventures (BGV)

Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

About: Behind Genius Ventures invests in pre-seed/seed stage companies centered around product-led growth. Co-Founded by two Gen Z investors: Joshua Schlisserman and Paige Doherty.

Investment Stages: Pre-Seed, Seed

Recent Investments: 

  • Decaf
  • Impulse
  • Maca Payments

Check out  BGV’s Visible Connect Profile, to learn more!

Crush Ventures

Location: LA and NYC

About: We formed Crush Ventures to focus on early stage investing at the intersection of media, culture, and commerce. To founders, we bring to bear our capital, operating expertise and powerful relationship network earned from two decades spent building Crush Music into a global powerhouse.

Thesis: We invest in founders building the future of how talent will discover, engage, and monetize fans.

Investment Stages: Pre-Seed, Seed

Recent Investments: 

  • Beacons
  • Create O/S
  • Splice

Check out  Crush Venture’s Visible Connect Profile, to learn more!

Freestyle Capital

Location: California, United States

About: Freestyle is an early-stage VC with $565M+ AUM & investments in 150+ tech co’s like Airtable, Intercom, Patreon, BetterUp and Snapdocs.

Thesis: We are high-conviction, low-volume investors and invest in only 10-12 companies each year. This gives us the freedom to work closely with founders, and holistically support our companies. INVEST EARLY & LEAD: We typically lead Seed rounds with a $1.5M — $3M check. STREAMLINED & TRANSPARENT
We make decisions efficiently and are 100% transparent with you along the way. SECTOR-AGNOSTIC: We invest in founders building soon-to-be massive tech companies across many verticals.

Investment Stages: Pre-Seed, Seed

Recent Investments: 

  • Spot
  • Change
  • Grain

Check out Freestyle’s Visible Connect Profile, to learn more!

TenOneTen Ventures

Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

About: TenOneTen Ventures, a Los Angeles-based venture firm, invests in start-ups that apply data and technology to disrupt existing industries.

Thesis: TenOneTen Ventures is a Los Angeles-based venture firm that invests in underlying technologies that transform major industries.

Investment Stages: Pre-Seed, Seed

Recent Investments: 

  • Walla
  • Cartwheel
  • Vested Finance

Check out TenOneTen‘s Visible Connect Profile, to learn more!

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