There are many talented people, such as chefs and musicians, in Southeast Asia who can earn money through their online work, says TipTip founder Albert Lucius. But many of them lack the power of social media to attract advertisers. TipTip wants to help them build followers in their communities using an offline/online strategy and monetize by selling content instead of relying on advertising algorithms. The Indonesia-based startup announced today that it has raised $13 million in Series A funding, just eight months after the $10 million Series A in March.
The latest round was led by East Ventures, with participation from returning investors Vertex, SMDV and BIG Ventures.
TipTip was founded in October 2021 by Albert Lucius, whose previous startup Kudo was acquired by Grab in 2017. It serves as a marketplace for creators to connect with fans and monetize content such as videos and docs by selling them to their followers or by hosting videos live sessions.
The platform launched in July and says its revenue has increased 20x since October, with creators earning more than $200 on average within 30 days of being active on TipTip.
TipTip currently has 2,500 content creators and over 30,000 users. Its goal is to recruit more than 30,000 creators and 300,000 users by early next year. It currently focuses on Indonesia, with a presence in 40 cities.
The people TipTip was made for, such as local chefs, musicians and painters, still have few followers and need to build their audience. To enable them to scale and monetize, TipTip employs a hyper-local strategy in Indonesian cities and towns, helping them host events and activities tailored to their communities.
Lucius says the TipTip team has seen that many people have become accustomed to the idea of making money virtually after the arrival of COVID, as interest in consuming digital content has also increased. Based on research from Research and Markets, Digital Journal, and Statista, they found that the maker economy in Southeast Asia has an expected CAGR of around 10% to 30%.
But Lucius said many Southeast Asian creators cannot monetize with tools on social media platforms, such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram or Patreon, which are better suited for top creators who already have many followers and views and can attract advertisers.
Lucius says TipTip differentiates itself from social media platforms with an end-to-end solution for creators that includes digital content management and distribution, live streaming services, one-on-one interactions, and direct tipping. Its platform also helps creators with administrative issues, such as managing audiences, knowing the customer (KYC), payment systems and scheduling.
“There are many players who have already established themselves as industry leaders in these respective areas. We consider them necessary and complementary to our services. In fact, we rely on our creators/promoters to continue to use external platforms to engage their audience, post updates, advertise their free offers, and provide links to TipTip to monetize their premium content,” said Lucius.
Instead of advertising, TipTip provides direct monetization channels through tips and direct purchases and takes a cut from every sale on its platform.
An example of the content shared on TipTip includes edutainment in categories such as music. Musicians use the platform to share tips on how to make better songs and sometimes accompany this with a live performance. Another example is creators making multi-segment courses on how to be better public speakers, with a live seminar included.
TipTip also has a network of promoters to help creators sell their content. Lucius says promoters act as affiliates or resellers, often for their own small communities, and take a commission from every sale. “The analogy is like how Uber Eats helps a restaurant sell more food,” Lucius said. “In our case, promoters help creators sell their digital content.”
To build a pipeline of creators, TipTip uses outreach programs by partnering with its top creators, using above-the-line marketing campaigns, and adopting a hyperlocal strategy to find key opinion leaders (KOLs), or top influencers, in each community.
Part of TipTip’s funding round will be used to recruit more creators, promoters and supporters. It will also create more product offerings, such as podcasts, branding offers, and custom requests, so that creators have more potential revenue streams, and will expand its offline/online presence to 250 cities and towns across Indonesia by mid-2020. next year.
In a statement on the funding, East Ventures co-founder and managing partner Willson Cuaca said, “We strongly believe in Albert’s leadership at TipTip. Its past experience building and managing Kudo before being acquired by Grab in 2017 continues to be instrumental in navigating the turbulent economy as we head into 2023. We expect TipTip to continue its exponential growth trajectory thanks to its hyperlocal strategy that it fits very well with the changing behavior of creators and customers in the post-COVID era.
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