Subscription services like OnlyFans and Patreon, where fans pay creators for access to premium content, also helped investors realize there was a strong business case for building tools for creators. Now the word “creator” has become a buzzword, appended to all types of businesses to attract investors. So much so that Alexander Finden, a tech entrepreneur, coined the term “creator washing.”
“There are more creator economy start-ups than creators,” Turner Novak, founder of Banana Capital, which invests in early-stage tech start-ups, joked on Twitter in April.
Rex Woodbury, a 27-year-old principal at the San Francisco investment firm Index Ventures, represents a bit of both worlds. He started out as an influencer, building an audience of more than 237,000 followers on Instagram by posting lifestyle content. After he graduated from college, he went full time into investment, where he has carved a niche as an authority in the creator economy.
“I’ve seen a few posts from V.C.s saying, ‘Eight of the 10 companies I met with today are creator companies,’” Mr. Woodbury said. “It really is en vogue now.”
He joined Index Ventures in December, just as venture capitalists were starting to get interested in creators and were looking for help from people who understood the landscape.
“A lot of young investors feel credible in this because we are digital natives,” Mr. Woodbury said. “This is the world we grew up in.”