How Fave is Building the Future of Fandoms
Xoogler.co Founder Stories: Jacquelle Horton of Fave
As a child, Jacquelle Horton was a diehard fan. She was obsessed with her favorite artists, but she could not afford to buy their concert tickets or expensive merchandise. As a result, the industry received nothing despite her passion. As Jacquelle progressed through her professional career in the entertainment industry, she realized that between a “like” on social media and expensive merchandise/concert tickets, there is a huge gap in the ways fans engage with artists. With both a market opportunity and an ability to make fans happy, Jacquelle founded Fave.
Fave allows fans to create and share art/videos about creators they love, connect with other passionate fans, and compete against their fandom and across fandoms to rise in rankings. “Fave is all about helping people obsess about the things they love,” says founder Jacquelle. This ranges from fans of bands, sports teams, movie characters, and everything you can be a fan of. Fave connects fans all around the world and engages them in challenges and group creations where they can earn exclusive prizes and rise in fan status by racking up points and rewards. Artists and creators get paid for fans’ engagement and can gain insight into their fans’ interests. Many social media platforms allow fans to interact with artists through quick likes and comments, which is only a fraction of what the fans’ passions are capable of. Fave creates a deeper engagement for fans and artists/creators alike.
Winning Music Tectonics Conference’s Startup of the Year and Preparing to Launch
The pandemic has posed no issue to Fave’s development. In fact, it has been beneficial in many ways. Jacquelle has been able to attend conferences, VC meetings, and events that she would not have attended if they had not been virtual. Fave won “Startup of the Year” at the Music Tectonics Conference (usually held in LA), which has helped Fave gain attention and new opportunities. But like any startup, Fave is not completely free of challenges.
“The biggest challenge has been finding the right timing to get the product out. There are points where the team wants to keep working on improving certain features and there are points where the team wants to launch quickly and learn from the users. Finding that right balance of quality versus speed has been, and will always be in product development, a difficult thing.”
Building Communities for Female Founders
As a female founder, Jacquelle has seen a rise in support for female founders, but there is still room to improve.
“People are starting to open their eyes more to people that are underrepresented and realize that they are strong as others. The other thing I have realized as a female founder and a black founder is that while people will say it is a pipeline issue, the network is often lacking. ‘We don’t invest in many female founders because we don’t come across many of them. It’s just the funnel’ investors will say. But it’s often a trickle effect. Because females aren’t getting a lot of outreach, that results in them having less of a network, which results in less exposure to funds. So it is a matter of women being more in the conversation to have more exposure so they have more opportunities. I think as long as women go to communities, go to groups, go to networks, go where these people are, and spread love, it will create opportunities. I was glad to see how many female founders we had at the Xoogler Demo Day.”
Staying True to Her Vision
Jacquelle spent seven years at Google, five of which at YouTube. As a PM for Google Assistant, the most important lesson Jacquelle learned was to have conviction in her vision.
“Even though you will get opinions from others, you should take those in, but stay strong to the vision you set out for. I feel it is important to stay strong because the whole reason someone starts a startup is that someone sees an insight that other people didn’t, or that they have an ability to execute on something that other people didn’t, so you need to stay true to that.”
Finding Strategic Investors in an Oversubscribed Round of Funding
When Jacquelle introduced Fave in the Xoogler Demo Day, Fave was raising a $600K round. With such strong interest in the company, the round was oversubscribed three times and will be closing on a $2M raise at $6.25M pre-money and $8.25M post-money valuation. More importantly, the raise includes an incredibly strong set of strategic investors relevant to Fave for empowering fandoms! Fave is geared up to use the funds primarily to hire strong engineering and business talent (please do reach out to Jacquelle if you’re interested!) and invest in patents for innovative tech that pushes forward fan connections.
The Future of Fave: An Opportunity to Immerse Yourself in Any Passion
Fave launched a beta in April focusing first on the Swifties fandom. After understanding key dynamics, they are looking to officially launch the full version. In the future, Fave is looking to evolve into a platform that allows people to engage in all types of passions.
“Our mission is having people unapologetically, obsess over what they love. So right now, we are focused on celebrities and creators, which is a huge identity people have. But you can imagine in the future, this extends to what is the career path that you deeply want, and how do you immerse yourself in that rather than work somewhere you don’t want to be. You may want to be a product manager or a film director. Fave could help people reach a goal they really want. So it’s about having people stop spending time on things that aren’t important to them in life, and immerse themselves in things they are passionate about. I think this is one step in that direction.”
More About Jacquelle Horton
Jacquelle graduated from USC with a BS in Entertainment Business, a minor in Music Industry, and an MA in Law & Philosophy. She spent five years in the entertainment space in roles such as Start-up Venture Executer at Zenit Inc and Mobile Apps Product and Business Analyst at BET Networks. In 2013, Jacquelle joined YouTube to work in roles ranging from Scaled Creator Operations to Product Manager for YouTube Creators. Today, Jacquelle is a product manager for Google Assistant.
Xoogler.co Founder Stories Series
Xoogler.co hosted the Xoogler.co Demo Day USA on December 10, 2020, which featured 16 startups who pitched to over 100 investors. The startups were handpicked for the event, and they all have at least one ex-Google employee on the founding team. Fave, formerly named Quiyer, was one of 16 startups that presented. Check out Jacquelle’s presentation here.
Following the demo day, we sat down with several of the founders to learn their stories. The Xoogler.co Founder Stories Series looks to highlight the journey of each founder, share their learning experiences along the way, and showcase the exciting ideas each founder left Google to pursue. Be sure to follow us for upcoming Founder Stories! Read our most recent story below: