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Lumanu secured $ 12 million in funding to streamline the Creators Economy, which includes people like live Twitch celebrities who are gaining massive followers and disrupting mainstream media.
Thanks to platforms like Twitch and YouTube, creators and influencers generated an estimate 104.2 billion dollars in savings, but they would need more help getting their business back into shape. Lumanu CEO Tony Tran said in an interview with GamesBeat that his company has built a platform for creators to get things done, from collaboration to working behind the scenes on business matters.
“Our vision, for the long term, is that we want to be kind of a business companion for creators, no matter where they are in their journey,” said Tran. “They could just get started, build their LLC, open a business bank account, or earn a seven-figure income. Our sweet spot is those who have gone from doing this as a hobby to doing this as a full time job. «
In the past nine months alone, Lumanu has seen significant growth in its network as new creators understand the value of their content and embrace both creativity and entrepreneurship, Tran said. As creators grow their businesses, it places more emphasis on working with customers, employees, and suppliers. It can get complicated.
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Tran said his Oakland, California-based company provides the flexibility for creators to scale their businesses with stress-free solutions that set them up for success. Through this kind of empowerment, Lumanu hopes to lead a creative revolution that not only transforms the way the industry operates, but puts creators in the driver’s seat.
“Our thesis is that the creator economy is a multiplayer game,” Tran said. “It’s not a designer who does things alone. There is a lot of collaboration behind the scenes.
Origin Ventures led the round, with participation from Alumni Venture Group, Gaingels and 500 startups. The company also announced that Scott Stern, partner of Origin Ventures, will join the board of directors of Lumanu.
Christy Carlson Romano is a social media star, singer and actress best known for her roles in Even Stevens and express the character of the title in Kim possible. She said in a statement that her passion for making YouTube videos for fans is also her business and the industry isn’t always set up in a way that supports creators. She said Lumanu has been invaluable to her in removing so many background pain points that she – and all creators – routinely face when running businesses. This kind of support benefits all creators and helps build a stronger creative community that everyone can participate in, she said.
Tran started the business with his co-founders Nhan Nguyen and Paul johnson in 2017. He was sitting with his co-founders at a ramen restaurant in San Francisco. He and Nguyen were ambitious immigrants who grew up in South Carolina and opened up different paths in the tech world. Tran had become a product manager at Google, then worked at McKinsey & Co. They all brought different skills to the startup.
“What was really exciting for us back then was how the landscape for entrepreneurs was changing,” he said in an interview with GamesBeat. “Software developers, web developers, and designers are now heading into a world where there are a lot of independent creative entrepreneurs making a lot of money and then building a great community and producing great content on YouTube and Twitch. «
Their interest in this new way of shaping careers and participating in a new economy was piqued, and they figured out how to help solve the problems of these creators.
“It could be between a model and a photographer; it could be between a YouTuber and a publisher, ”Tran said. “This really amazing Twitch feed might have a few people behind the scenes to help out, and a bunch of creators working with other creators, working with marketers, or brands, managers and publishers. And we’ve really built. the platform which I think is the first true multiplayer experience for creators and their collaborators.
Lumanu has over 40 employees and has raised $ 16 million to date. Tran hopes to double the numbers. Their clients include Snoop Dogg and Jessica Alba. But many are in an ideal situation, ranging from $ 80,000 a year to $ 500,000.
Lumanu is always offering new features.
“It’s an incredibly hairy world. And that’s one thing that when you haven’t organized it and working with yourself is incredibly stressful, ”Tran said. “You wonder how to increase your income or get credit or pay people. «
It’s not unlike Karat, who recently raised $ 26 million to advance credits to influencers and creators.
Lumanu recently introduced EarlyPay, a solution that allows creators to get paid instantly. EarlyPay makes it easy for creators to send invoices and instantly receive payments for brand collaborations, instead of waiting the usual 30-60 days – or worse, not getting paid due to unfamiliarity. or compliance with a billing or purchase order process. The platform also allows users to share and protect their brand, a process that can be complex and difficult to complete if poorly managed.
“We’ve heard of horror stories where creators weren’t paid on time and could barely pay their employees,” Tran said.
Scott Stern, partner of Origin Ventures, said in a statement that the growth of the designer economy has been astounding. He said these self-taught solo entrepreneurs are modern-day scammers that brands use to reach two generations of digital natives. He said Lumanu has created an operating system that allows creators to collaborate with clients, brand partners and with each other quickly, intuitively and seamlessly throughout a project’s lifecycle, from the very beginning to the final payment.
“As the world changes, we are seeing this kind of democratization of content, with many freelancers and individual creative artists making money, whether on social platforms, through referrals or even just by doing business transactions, ”Tran said. « I think the addressable market is so much bigger than the $ 30 billion paid by YouTube over the past three years. »
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