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Future of Creator Monetization is Direct: Our Investment in Rigi

Emergence of the creator economy, i.e. people earning from creating/distributing content online, was one of the defining decadal themes of 2010s. Today, there are 50M+ creators in the world (2M+ of which do it full time), making up a $100B+ global market. Even with that impressive statistic, however, we believe that much of the market is yet to be unlocked when it comes to the creator economy.

The main reason for our belief? The platforms that led to the emergence & growth of the global creator population are not necessarily the ones that let them monetize to their true potential.

The world’s largest social platforms, be it Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat, or Twitter, are designed to be distribution-first; that is, based on an ads-centered business model that relies on maximizing viewership and/or user attention. What it means, for the large part, is that most creators have only been able to monetize from users’ attention so far, and not from their wallets. Picture this: for a monthly income of INR 5L (~$7k) via brand partnerships/ad-shares, the avg Indian creator needs to have 0.5-1M or even more loyal followers on Instagram/YouTube. To earn the same from a small community with each follower paying INR 1k (~$15) a month, they need to have a paying base of just 500. That is where the opportunity for players like Rigi lies.

When we first met Swapnil & Ananya in June 2021, we had just concluded publishing our thesis on creator-led interactive communities. While we had met a few founding teams with similar ideas before that as well, Swapnil and Ananya had clarity of vision, deep consumer-insights, & hunger that we identified with. While they were building Halaplay (fantasy gaming company that successfully exited to Nazara), they had seen the power of Telegram communities for creators running massively subscribed groups for fantasy cricket tips. Upon digging further, they found astounding levels of community engagement (and in some cases, follower-to-creator transactions) in other tips/advice driven categories. They realised that for a significant subset of creators – those who can provide continual & tangible value to their followers – there exists a huge whitespace for platforms to create & manage monetizable communities.

Over time, we at Stellaris have come to segment creators into following four (not mutually exclusive) categories:

By going after the highly underserved “Advisors” population amidst the accelerating digital transactions environment post Covid, Rigi has hit the ground running on a high. 

We continue to be excited by Swapnil & Ananya’s vision as well as breakneck speed of execution, and are also delighted to partner with two world-class investors, Sequoia & Accel, on the journey ahead.

The future of creator monetization is direct, and we couldn’t be more thrilled about getting front-row seats to observe it with Rigi.

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