The 14 most promising creator economy startups of 2023, according to top VCs and investors

  • The creator economy buzz has simmered down but some startups are still catching investors’ attention.
  • Insider asked over a dozen VCs and angel investors to share which startups are on their radar.
  • Here are 14 startups to watch in the creator economy as 2023 comes to a wrap.

Yes, the buzz surrounding the creator economy has died down, and consolidation has swept through the industry, but some startups continue to pique the interest of investors.

Insider spoke with more than a dozen venture capital and angel investors specializing in the creator economy, including Hustle Fund, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and MaC Ventures, about the most promising creator startups this year. We asked each investor to name one startup in which they have a financial stake and one in which they have no financial stake.

Investors are interested in startups that provide business-building and content-creation tools for creators, such as Beehiiv, a newsletter platform founded by ex-Morning Brew employees, and Whop, an e-commerce platform for digital goods.

Several investors also mentioned startups that have previously appeared on Insider’s lists. Here are some of the notable alums who received mentions:

  • Patreon, a well-known subscription and membership platform for creators.
  • Karat, a financial institution known for its black card that focuses on creators.
  • Beacons, a platform for link-in-bio
  • Spotter, which purchases creators’ YouTube back catalogs
  • Rella, created by Natalie Barbu, is a tool for streamlining content creation and business management.

To keep this list fresh, we excluded startups that had previously appeared on our lists.

Here are 14 more promising creator startups to keep an eye on in 2023 and beyond, listed alphabetically:

Beehiiv is a buzzy newsletter platform cofounded by ex-Morning Brew staffers.

Startup: Beehiiv

Recommended by: Paige Doherty, Behind Genius Ventures; Faraz Fatemi, Lightspeed Venture Partners; Ankur Nagpal, angel investor

Relationship: Doherty has no direct relationship with the startup; Fatemi and Nagpal are investors

Total funding: $16.7 million, per the company

What it does:

Beehiiv is a newsletter platform cofounded by former Morning Brew employees. According to the startup, its users send over 650 million emails per month. Beehiiv also provides creators with tools to help them scale their newsletter business by propelling growth and monetizing their audience. Influencers such as creator-duo Colin Rosenblum, Samir Chaudry, and Matt Navarra use it.

Why it’s on the list: According to Doherty, “Beehiiv is crushing” and she’s intrigued by its products that help creators grow ****— and the startup’s investors agree. Nagpal described the company as “likely the fastest growing company in the creator economy today” as well as “leaving behind incumbents like Substack and ConvertKit,” he said in an interview with Insider. Meanwhile, Fatemi emphasized the startup’s latest AI features and advertising network, particularly its recent acquisition of ad platform Swapstack.

Circle’s features include private messaging and paid memberships.

Startup: Circle

Recommended by: Ankur Nagpal, angel investor

Relationship: Investor

Total funding: $24 million, per the company

What it does: Circle is a community platform for creators that hosts events and provides digital resources. Products for those looking to establish an online community. Group chat rooms, private messaging, paid memberships, and recurring subscriptions are among the features.

Andrew founded the company. Former Teachable employees Guttormsen and Sid Yadav, as well as Rudy Santino. It completed its first funding round in 2018 and In November 2021, the company announced its Series A.

Why it’s on the list: At the start of the year, the startup’s annual revenue was $8 million. a year to $16 million by the end of 2023, which piqued Nagpal’s interest.

“It’s pretty impressive growth at this scale given how slow the creator economy is growing in general,” he went on to say.

He also emphasizes how quickly Circle’s product offering has expanded, from community features to a full platform for creators.

CommunityOne helps creators manage and monetize their Discord communities.

Startup: CommunityOne

Recommended by: Haley Bryant, Hustle Fund

Relationship: No direct relationship

Total funding: Bootstrapped, per the company

How it works: Managing a community on Discord can be difficult for creators. CommunityOne is attempting to alleviate this burden with an AI-powered solution. a community manager who assists creators in “building their Discord communities,” Insider spoke with founder Louisa Lu. “Instead of spending 10 hours [a] day It now takes them half an hour per day to attend to a virtual community. “It’s a beautiful day,” Lu said. The platform also provides tools to assist creators. They can monetize their Discord communities.

Why it’s on the list: CommunityOne is not only on Bryant’s radar because of how it assists. Discord is being monetized by its creators. She also stated that it was “founded by an individual.” Bruno, the startup’s CTO, leads an exceptional team of hackers and creators.” Alatriste and its community manager are both former YouTube and Twitch employees. creators.

Crate is bridging AI and content creation.

Startup: Crate

Recommended by: Charles Hudson, Precursor Ventures

Relationship: No direct relationship

Total funding: $6 million, per the company

How it works: Crate debuted this summer as a new AI platform aimed at assisting businesses. The creative process is streamlined by creators. Anna Bofa, a former model, founded the company. Crate, a Pinterest and Facebook employee, provides tools such as image editing. generation and content clustering. The Information Everyday Crate can also be used by internet users to organize their favorite content. and sift through saved content — from which the platform’s AI can learn discovers their “content personality.”

The reason it’s on the list: “I’m Hudson told Insider, “I’m really excited about Anna Bofa from Crate.” “She’s a very experienced individual who is creating some really interesting things at “The intersection of the creator economy and generative AI.” Bofa Crate worked at Facebook, managing community partnerships. According to her LinkedIn, she has been working for about four years. Bofa existed prior to Facebook. worked at other tech behemoths such as Pinterest, Dropbox, and Google.

Advertisement has a formidable database of over 200 million creators.


Recommended by: Julius Dein, angel investor

Relationship: No direct relationship

Total funding: $3 million, per the company

What it does: is an influencer marketing platform for brands and aspiring influencers. influencers. It provides customized and fully managed campaigns, as well as influencer marketing. recruitment, and detailed campaign reviews. Vinod founded the company in 2018. Varma, the company, has raised $3 million in two rounds of funding.

Why it’s on the list: Dein, another creator, stated that stands out to him because Its annual revenue has more than doubled in the last two years. He also discovers it To be unique, a large database of over 200 million creators must be used. He appreciates how allows creators to choose between various options. self-serve pricing options for influencer marketing campaigns instance. He also appreciates the company’s access to first-party data. He claims that its competitors, such as Grin, do not benefit from influencer posts.

“Their comprehensive approach is majorly reshaping the influencer marketing landscape,” that’s what he told Insider.

Komi’s link-in-bio offerings are expanding into commerce.

Startup: Komi

Recommended by: Sven Ahrens, angel investor; Julius Dein, angel investor

Relationship: Ahrens and Dein are investors

Total funding: $18 million, per the company

What it does:

Komi is one of many link-in-bio solutions available to creators, who frequently rely on a single website to direct fans to their various platforms and businesses. Komi, founded in 2021 by Lewis Crosbie, Ben Deigman, and Olly Hadden-Paton, began working with creators, musicians, and celebrities on an invite-only basis. Following the completion of its Series A round earlier this year, the startup has concentrated on promoting its commerce tools, such as an on-page checkout feature. Komi is used by musicians to promote new music or sell tickets, while creators use it to promote their work. YouTube videos or market their paid offerings for fans, such as a fitness program, to their fans.

The reason it’s on the list: Ahrens, Komi, according to Spotify’s director of global growth, creators to “unify fan data and revenues in a simple way” Platform independence. “If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my life, it’s that After nearly eight years at Spotify, this is where most aspiring and even experienced musicians end up. Professional creators fail to leave a lasting impression on their audiences. “‘Business,'” Ahrens explained.

Midjourney has one of the most popular communities on Discord.

Startup: Midjourney

Recommended by: Faraz Fatemi, Lightspeed Venture Partners

Relationship: none

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