Creator+, a new film studio and streaming platform for creators, has raised $12 million in financing. The lead backers were PETRA Group and Freestyle Capital. The company was co-founded in 2021 by Benjamin Grubbs and Jonathan Shambroom.
LOS ANGELES & SAN FRANCISCO (April 21, 2021) — The creator economy is one of the fastest-growing sectors in technology and entertainment today, with a seismic explosion of digital video consumption driven by Gen Z and Gen Alpha. To address the surging demand for new content from the next generation of storytellers, Benjamin Grubbs, former global head of top creator partnerships at YouTube, and startup veteran Jonathan Shambroom today announce the launch of Creator+, a new film studio and streaming platform for digital-first storytellers and their audience who are hungry to support them.
Creators wield massive reach and engagement with more than 500 of them exceeding 10 million subscribers and more than 1 billion viewers streaming over an hour of content every day. However, current streaming options for creators are limited to free, short-form and ad-supported content, or a growing number of subscription-based platforms. The stories creators can tell and the IP franchises they can build are constrained by existing platforms’ time limitations or economics, or limit the creator’s ability to build community and leverage their growing expertise in direct-to-consumer commerce.
“We believe the next generation of great storytellers are digital natives that don’t just want to tell stories in short-form bursts, but rather inspire and impact their audience with compelling feature-length films,” said Jonathan Shambroom, CEO and co-founder
of Creator+. “We also believe the young viewers connecting to these creators prefer to watch movies at home with friends and family where community and e-commerce features are integrated into the movie viewing experience.”
Creator+ is establishing a new platform that aims to spawn an ecosystem fueling careers for young creatives in-front of and behind the camera. The company’s studio is leading the financing and marketing of the films, and is looking beyond a creator’s influencing ability with a path for creators to be active in producing, directing, cinematography, editing, music composition, and other roles that are essential to the success of the film.
Films presented by Creator+ will premiere on the company’s proprietary platform across web, mobile and connected TV devices in a premium video on-demand (PVOD) offering with no subscriptions or ads. Creators partnering with the company have full alignment on transparent backend revenue participation, and will receive audience insights and ownership uncommon on other major streaming platforms.
“I have been fortunate to partner with many creators over the past decade on their IP and long-form content development ambitions,” said Benjamin Grubbs, co-founder of Creator+. “I have also seen first-hand how important it is to have strong producing partners and the power of a distribution channel where you have access and ownership of the audience. I am delighted we are able to deliver on both aspects from the start with Creator+.”
The company is committed to greenlighting more than six feature films this year and bringing them to the market starting in early 2022. The Creator+ leadership team includes Adam Wescott (Head of Content Studio), Ben O’Keefe (Head of Diversity and Impact), Nick Phillips (Head of Production), McKenna Marshall (Director of Development) and JaQay Carlyle (Business Affairs) driving film development and production. Tricia Choi (Head of Product) and Al Lieb (Advisory CTO) are both architecting the company’s proprietary platform and user experience. Wescott, Philipps and Marshall will serve as producers on all projects.
Creator+’s $12 million financing round includes leading investor PETRA Group and Freestyle Capital, as well as other global investors from key growth markets such as India, Greater China and Africa, entrepreneurial creators Jake Roper, Peter Hollens, Wendy Ayche (aka Wengie), tech veterans including Selina Tobaccowala, and strategic business partners including Jazwares CEO Judd Zebersky.
“The Creator economy has been largely driven by regions like India and Southeast Asia where consumers are showing an increasing appetite for both international and local content,” said Vinod Sekhar, Chairman and Chief Executive of the Malaysia-based PETRA Group. “We’re firm believers in what Jonathan and Benjamin are building with Creator+ and embrace their vision to become a champion for underrepresented voices and talent in these high growth regions, and the world.”
“With Jonthan’s experience building and scaling startups and Benjamin’s background in developing and investing in creators, we believe Creator+ is in an incredibly attractive position to grow the ecosystem and deliver a better content, commerce and economic model for a deserving community of creators and their fans,” said Dave Samuel, partner and co-founder of Freestyle Capital.
To join the Creator+ team, or to become a member of the Creator+ community, please visit: https://www.creatorplus.com
Creator+ is a new film studio and streaming platform for digital-first storytellers. The company was co-founded in 2021 by Benjamin Grubbs and Jonathan Shambroom, and is backed by PETRA Group and Freestyle Capital, along with prominent creators, technology founders, and entertainment industry executives.