A Journey Through 100 Influencer & Creator Startups — Part 4: Web3
The decentralized web will enable influential creators to reach their full potential
In my previous blogs in this series, I talked about the growing ecosystem of influencer and creator platforms (Part 1), why influential creators matter more than ever (Part 2), and how companies can use these creators to amplify their brands (Part 3).
In the last entry in this series, I want to talk about the technology that will help enable all of this and give influential creators more control over their destiny.
The creator economy → The economy of creators
If Web 1.0 was about developing a following, and Web 2.0 was about monetizing those followers, Web3 is about building and living in a virtual community. An essential part of this community is how creators will generate income directly from their fans and followers, without having to rely on third-party platforms or other intermediaries.
Today, Web3 is a bit of an amorphous concept that combines social gaming with 3D virtual worlds, blockchain, NFTs, and virtual goods. At its roots, Web3 starts as an immersive gaming environment. During the long pandemic, these 3D worlds became a place where people who were isolated in real life could congregate and connect. Suddenly people could enjoy experiences inside 3D worlds that were unavailable anywhere else.
For example: The Epic Games* Fortnite franchise hosted a virtual Travis Scott concert attended by more than 45 million people, which generated roughly $20 million in merchandise sales. Disney, Gucci, and Nike are among the brands investing millions in advertising on Roblox, hoping to reach the youngest members of Gen Z. Meanwhile, members of their parents’ generation are busy hooking up on Animal Crossing, which is turning into the new Tinder.
As Meta and other 3D worlds gain in popularity, they will increasingly become places where we shop, socialize, conduct business, attend classes, visit our doctors, and entertain ourselves. Cryptocurrencies will be how many of us will pay for these services, while NFTs will enable people within these worlds to own one-of-a-kind digital artifacts that they can later trade or sell.
Celebrities enter Web3
Just as gaming helped to create influencers, Web3 will do so on a much grander scale. Sports stars and celebrities such as Tom Brady are launching their own NFTs or founding their own the NFT platforms (Lightspeed recently invested in Autograph‘s $170 million Series B round).
“The future is exciting. I’m fortunate to have cofounded incredible companies like @autograph.io … that I am excited to continue to help build and grow.” — Tom Brady
Tom Brady is not alone. Celebrities like Snoop Dogg, Steph Curry, and Lindsay Lohan have already launched their own NFT collections, and many more will follow. Even Paris Hilton has made it clear that she will be focusing on NFTs.
“NFTs have literally taken over my entire mind and soul. I’m obsessed. It’s all I think about. I’ve never been so excited about something in my life because I really see this as the future.” — Paris Hilton
Web3 is really about community, personal branding, and ownership. These are characteristics it shares with celebrity influencers. With so much overlap, it’s no surprise that some of the most famous people in the world are making their mark early in this ecosystem.
What’s the future?
Web2 isn’t going away. But every influencer or creator platform will need to incorporate elements of Web3. Cameo* is a great example of this; its Cameo Pass NFT offers buyers access to limited release artwork, exclusive in-person and virtual events, and other perks. The entire collection of 6,000 passes sold out in just 2 minutes!
Web3 is focused on positive areas such as community planing, community-driven ideas, and open source software. Creators can quickly test, iterate new products and turn an idea into money in a matter of minutes. Whether it’s NFTs or social tokens, they unlock new opportunities to collaborate. Lightspeed has 10 offices globally and view the world from a global first viewpoint. We gravitate towards Web3 as it’s creating a truly global opportunity for creators to monetize.
If you’re an influencer/creator, or you’re part of a platform that enables or rewards them, you need to start thinking about what Web3 can do for you — sooner, rather than later. The paradigm shift is already well underway.
If you’re building in this space, please email me at email@example.com or follow me on Twitter. We would love to share perspectives with you and see where we can help.
* Lightspeed portfolio companies