September 23, 2021

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Softbank Invests In Creator Economy: Jellysmack Now Has 360M Followers, 10B Monthly Videos Views

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Are PewDiePie and MrBeast the new Tom Cruise or Taylor Swift?

In some sense yes, as Softbank chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son announced a series C investment into creator management group Jellysmack today. As a result of the investment, Jellysmack is now a unicorn with at least a billion-dollar valuation, a representative told me via email.

Terms and sum of the agreement were not released, but Jellysmack has previously raised $40 million, so a series C could easily be $50 million to $100 million.

“Jellysmack combines its AI-powered technology and expertise to identify social video creators and fuel their growth by optimizing video performance, uncovering new audiences, and establishing new revenue streams across multiple platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, and YouTube,” Jellysmack said in a statement. “The company tailors a creator’s original video for each social platform then runs extensive multivariate testing with its proprietary technology to help each video find the ideal audience.”

The result: about 10 billion video views monthly, the company says, reaching 125 million people. Its influencers have a combined 360 million followers.

We now spend more time on our phones than watching TV, Jellysmack says, which means the stars of tomorrow are more on the small screen in our hands than the large screen on the wall.

200 top creators have signed contracts with Jellysmack so far, Son said in his year-end Software report.

When they sign a contract, Jellysmack makes a percentage of the revenue from all their video views. A YouTuber with a million subscribers might make about $10,000/month, Son added, but most Jellysmack creators will have significantly higher numbers. Top creators with Jellysmack include PewDiePie, MrBeast, Bailey Sarian, Derek Deso, Karina Garcia, Charles & Alyssa Forever, and Brad Mondo.

While the details of the investment have not been released, Jellysmack told me that “this funding will fuel its international expansion” and “further enhancing Jellysmack’s powerful AI technology.”

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Also, the new investment will allow Jellysmack to make targeted mergers and acquisitions to build its platform.

That makes a lot of sense.

While optimized a YouTuber’s videos for Facebook, as Jellysmack famously did for PewDiePie just a few months ago, is great, ad revenue is probably the least lucrative way for top influencers to make money.

Merch, exclusive access, gated content, and dozens of other revenue models exist, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jellysmack put a simple, clean management layer on top of that so influencers can do their thing, and Jellysmack can manage all the details and hassles of monetization.

“Media consumption has pivoted massively in recent years with mobile video content rapidly outpacing TV,” Yanni Pipilis, Managing Partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers, said in a statement. “There are now 50 million creators but only 0.1% are able to make a full-time living from their content. Jellysmack straddles AI and the creator economy to help video makers embrace their passion and build new audiences. We’re excited to support the company as it continues to scale the platform internationally.”

“Creators are the future of entertainment and we’re committed to discovering the world’s most influential talent and powering their success across every existing and future platform with our technology,” said Jellysmack co-founder and co-CEO Robin Sabban.

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