By Riley Kaminer
Globally, upwards of 50 million people call themselves content creators. Whether they’re influencers or just enthusiasts for now, they’re part of a large and growing market, which is currently estimated at more than $100 billion.
But traditional social media platforms are no longer fit for purpose, argue the co-founders of Miami-based platform SLUSHY.
“For us, it’s about providing creators with better opportunities to further monetize their audiences directly,” co-founder and CMO Josh Metz told Refresh Miami.
Metz, who previously worked as the Head of Marketing at Tinder, explained that SLUSHY is on a mission to fight the negative stigma around paywall subscriptions, which often are associated with adult content.
“We’re trying to change social behavior and to educate and really be the pioneers in paywalled content,” he said. “It’s a challenge we’re excited to face and think that we’re building the right technologies and the right tools to give those creators a shot at confronting this stigma.”
From a UX perspective, the app features a scrolling feed of content, similar to what you would see on TikTok. The platform is invite-only for creators, meaning that all the content on the platform comes from professional users. Creators are able to sell products, content, or experiences directly through the platform. This includes the functionality for consumers to tip creators.
Co-founder and CEO David Gross asserted that these payment features give consumers a more authentic experience with their favorite creators. That’s because this interaction is monetized on SLUSHY, unlike on other social media platforms.
“Because there are financial incentives on SLUSHY, you’re more likely to get a response from a person that you would otherwise never be able to chat with,” he said. “It gives you a lot of closeness and proximity to these celebrities that he never had before, for instance through one-on-on live video chats.”
Another factor leading to this authenticity is that SLUSHY is not advertising driven. That means, in Gross’ estimation, that creators will feel more comfortable showing who they really are, outside of the brand sponsorships.
“Consumers are going to see a very different side of these influencers that they haven’t been able to see,” he explained. “Creators are able to be more authentic, because it’s what the fans want to see. And because there’s money involved, fans can support creators in doing that.”
So far, SLUSHY has raised $3.5 million across two rounds: one earlier this year and one last year. Investors include Shutterstock founder Jon Oringer, Tinder CEO/co-founder Sean Rad, and Chainsmokers-backed VC Mantis. The team has used these funds to develop the initial version of the platform, which launched today.
Gross, a serial entrepreneur, recently relocated to South Florida from Boston. Three of SLUSHY’s 14 full-time team members are also based here. Influencer Julia Rose and technologist Fred Spivock are also co-founders of SLUSHY, alongside Gross and Metz.
Content moderation and compliance has played a key role in the SLUSHY’s development over the last 11 months, noted Gross. “We’re working with our banking and financial partners to make sure that we have built the most robust and complex content moderation tools.” That helps ensure that creators avoid any issues when it comes to monetization.
For those of us on the #MiamiTech event circuit that see creator economy and think web3: it’s definitely on SLUSHY’s radar. “As we talked to creators, we learned that there seems to be demand for [web3] tools,” said Gross. “I think we just need to see how creators really plan on using crypto.”
PHOTO AT TOP OF POST: SLUSHY CEO David Gross, left, and Josh Metz, CMO.
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