Top media startups focused on YouTube, Instagram, TikTok creators: VCs

  • Business Insider asked 11 top venture-capital investors which media startups they thought would thrive in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic, including companies they were and weren’t invested in.
  • While digital creators — like all ad-supported businesses — have faced setbacks this year as brands have trimmed marketing budgets, many have also seen a huge uptick in interest in their content among at-home consumers, which has caught the attention of VCs.
  • Six of the investors’ 19 startup picks offer products that support the creator economy, including Cameo, Circle, MSCHF, Radical, Stage TEN, and Triller. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

2020 has been a double-edged sword for the creator industry.

Stay-at-home orders during the coronavirus pandemic have forced travel and events-based creators (and many outdoor media production teams) to put their work on hold. And brands have postponed or cancelled influencer-marketing campaigns to save on costs during an economic downturn. 

But engagement with online content has spiked among at-home consumers, creating new opportunities for digital stars to grow their audiences and find new ways to make money without relying on advertising. Newcomer video apps like TikTok and Triller have seen their audiences grow this year, and incumbent platforms like YouTube have also benefited from consumers spending more time online.

And venture-capital investors are taking notice.

Business Insider asked 11 investors which media startups they thought would surge this year amid the coronavirus pandemic and why, including startups they were and weren’t invested in. Six of the companies they named are building businesses that will help the influencer economy grow in 2020, focusing on providing new tools for fan engagement, content creation, and enabling digital stars to tap into trending formats like live video that have grown dramatically this year. 

Stage TEN, which offers creators a tool kit to produce live videos that can run on any social platform, saw over 300% growth in its platform usage since mid-March, according to Benjamin Grubbs, founder and CEO of Next 10 Ventures, which invested in the company.

“For years they’ve been supporting creators on multiple platforms and enhancing their livestreams,” Grubbs said. “This year, with COVID-19, a lot of Hollywood productions shut down. People that weren’t actually producing livestreams in some ways were kind of forced or nudged that way because of the circumstances.”

The six investor picks in the creator industry are listed below in alphabetical order.

Read about all the VCs’ media startup picks on Business Insider:

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