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LitPic has raised $1.5 million for its subscription-based social network for creators to monetize their social followings. The Seattle-based company’s iOS app helps creators make money from their content through subscriptions as well as gifting, tipping, and brand sponsorships.
The investors include Fritz Lanman, CEO of ClassPass; Kal Vepuri, founder of Brainchild; Adrian Aoun, founder of Forward; Michael Arrington, founder of TechCrunch, via Arrington Capital; Tod Sacerdoti, founder of Pipedream; venture capitalist Andreas Penna; and Tribe Capital. Coco Rocha, a Canadian fashion model and one of the first digital supermodels, has also signed on as an early backer and adviser.
LitPic said it is solving a big problem for creators. The top 1% of them can make plenty of money, but the rest have a hard time with the current models for social networks. LitPic helps creators of all types to monetize their content, not just the top ones, while rewarding the users that contribute and support them with more social status, exclusive access, and popularity within the community. Additionally, creators always keep 100% of their earnings, the company says.
Social networks are popular these days. Another one, Austin, Texas-based Zion, said today that it has launched a decentralized social network that is “censorship-resistant” and built on the Bitcoin cryptocurrency. The company raised $1 million to create a “trusted, ethical alternative to the current social media channels that exploit our content and violate our trust.”
The creator economy
Above: LitPic wants creators to make more money.
The creator economy has seen a record $1.3 billion in funding in 2021 alone. Big tech platforms are fighting to keep creators on their platform in an effort to drive engagement. According to SignalFire, the creator economy comprises more than 50 million independent content creators, curators, and community builders including social media influencers, bloggers, and videographers, plus the software and finance tools designed to help them with growth and monetization.
LitPic uses a form of in-app currency called “Lits” that works ubiquitously across the site through gifting and subscriptions, making it easy for gifters to purchase Lits in bulk and use them to support creators without friction. LitPic shines a light on the gifters who are supporting creators, so they receive value in the form of comments ranking higher, more video views, showing up as the top gifter for more follows, shout-outs from creators, and making it clear to the creator who their top supporters are that deserve their attention.
Because the app is free and the monetization process is rewarding for users, creators don’t have to feel awkward about asking fans to join them on the platform, the company said.
LitPic’s vision is a “pay-it-forward culture” for creators worldwide that embraces diversity, data privacy, consumer protection, and great self-made or sponsored content instead of unwanted ads. According to a recent report, 86% of Gen Zs and millennials surveyed would post sponsored content in exchange for money.
Through the LitPic app, creators are enabled to be the star of their own show by making engaging content that can earn them money through peer-to-peer payments, premium content subscriptions, and brand deals.
LitPic comes with an in-app camera and good editing technology. The camera will include over 1,000 filters that make creating videos easier than ever before, the company said, even for beginners. It has four main pages that are only one swipe away at any time, including messaging, camera (photos/video), discover page, and a profile page.
A better social network
Above: LitPic lets fans gift Lits to creators.
Maurice Yi, founder of LitPic, said in a statement the platform brings together social networking, standardized monetization tools, and a creative camera to make cool content in an all-in-one solution. He said it was founded on the belief everyone should be able to monetize their work and be paid for their creativity, while also rewarding fans and supporters with attention and popularity.
LitPic said it will not share user data. It does not have an ad-based model, but rather acts as a gifting and payment solution platform. LitPic said it will protect women and minors, and aims to provide an inclusive environment for all creators where they can have fun while being safe. LitPic does not allow porn.
Android users can join a wait list. The top 10,000 creators on the list will receive free Lits. The company was founded earlier this year.
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