Across the world, creators are in the driving seat, courtesy the exponential growth of the creator’s economy. According to Creator Earnings: Benchmark Report 2022, more than one billion people will self-identify as a creator over the next five years.
But the rise – and rise – of the creator’s economy has now trained the spotlight on the problems they face.
Most often than not, creators spend time on manual processes – managing groups and subscriptions, handling payments, and sharing screenshots – instead of focusing on their main business: creating content.
Gurugram-based Cosmofeed aims to change this by helping creators manage the entire cycle of content creation, subscription, and payment seamlessly.
The startup, founded in September 2021 by Vivek Yadav and Vishnu Pathak, helps micro and nano creators connect with audiences and monetise their content.
These creators, who produce quality content, often don’t have access to tools, technologies, and techniques to reach their target market effectively.
The Cosmofeed platform and targeted solutions help content creators from smaller cities and towns with discovery and to monetise their content.
“Our platform provides creators with multiple ways to start communities (free and paid) and monetise exclusive content. The features include Locked Messages (to sell exclusive content on the platform and/or other platforms), Premium Subscription Channels (to run subscription groups on the platform or Telegram), and Courses (to sell and manage a community of learners),” Vivek tells YourStory.
The startup has a user base of more than 3.5 lakh people and 1,000+ creators on its platform, serviced by a 20-member team.
Vivek, who has an investment banking background and has worked at Singapore-based Silk Bridge Partners, was building a thesis on the creator ecosystem in the mobile-first market.
As part of this, he was part of multiple WhatsApp channels where a lot of creators operated their community-first businesses – manually solving for payments, collection, and logistics, and stating that the lack of automation was a huge pain point.
This initial problem statement led to the development of the first version of the product in March 2021, which allowed creators to automate payment collection along with removal and reminders to all community members.
Vishnu, who led the development of the search and enquiry module for tech-driven logistics startup Cogoport in his last role, met Vivek at an event in Mumbai in 2019. Then stayed in touch and become “COVID flatmates” when Vishnu moved to Bengaluru.
in May 2020, they founded MARKN, an NGO focused on digital wellbeing along with Aditya Vardhan (currently Head of Operations, Cosmofeed). They scaled that to over 10 cities and a team of 100+ volunteers across India. This was closed down later.
Vivek and Vishnu were then on the lookout to build something together, and decided to start up in the creator’s space.
Cosmofeed claims to be the first platform that allows creators to earn directly from their users by providing them with multiple tools and features to monetise, grow, and retain users.
“From providing operational support to delivering services and creative support to provide better experiences to end users, we work with creators to give them the best platform to start their journey,” Vivek says.
He adds that all products on the Cosmofeed platform are available for re-selling via the platform users (allowing the creator to share a percent commission with the re-seller).
“This allows a creator’s product to travel to Tier II, Tier III, and Tier IV cities in India where buying decisions are dictated by community leaders as against direct buying. This increases revenue for the creator,” he says.
The startup targets creators with strong distribution (followers, channels, network) but “struggling to monetise or have not monetised till date”.
Funding and monetisation
Cosmofeed has raised a total of $1.5 million through a seed round from three venture capitalists, Growx, 9 Unicorns, and Waveform Ventures. It has also been funded by angel investors Swati Mohan and Rannvijay Singha.
“This combination of angel investors and venture capitalists has positioned us uniquely to leverage emerging opportunities arising from the business environment,” Vivek says.
Cosmofeed earns by charging a 10 percent platform fee on all the transactions that take place on the platform. It says it is growing 50 percent month on month, but refused to divulge any other figures.
The way ahead
According to Influencer Marketing Hub, the creator economy is a $100 billion+ business industry.
“Creator-led businesses are growing very quickly across the world. Building for niche use cases and genre-focused features needs to be prioritised – this is a low-burn and high-value industry,” Vivek says.
In India, Cosmofeed competes with the likes of Rigi and faces competition from Gumroad and Patreon globally.
The creator-focused startup aims to go deep into regional/local ecosystems across India and is looking to onboard 10,000+ creators by the end of 2022.