The media startups VCs say will take off in 2020

Hi, this is Amanda Perelli and welcome back to Influencer Dashboard, our weekly rundown on the influencer and creator economy. Sign up for the newsletter here.

Before we get started, I'm hosting a digital event on Wednesday, August 5 at 11 a.m. ET on how influencers are earning money in 2020. I will be speaking live with YouTube creators Shelby Church, Ruby Asabor, and Katy Bellotte on the state of the influencer industry, how they built their online audiences, and how they've adapted their businesses during the pandemic. Sign up here.

Alright, onto this week's rundown.

My colleagues Ashley Rodriguez and Dan Whateley asked 11 top venture-capital investors which media startups they thought would thrive in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic — and why.

They asked each VC to pick two companies, including one they weren't invested in.

VC firms are eyeing startups that work on a variety of hot topics in media including livestreaming, short-form video, podcasting, and esports. 

Some creator-focused media examples included the video shout-out app Cameo and MSCHF, the brand behind YouTuber MrBeast's new viral app.

Check out the full list of 19 media startups that VCs say are poised to take off in 2020, here.

YouTube will let shorter videos use mid-roll ads and creators are excited about a potential income boost

YouTube is rolling out a new update at the end of July that will lower the minimum video length for mid-roll ads. 

The update will make videos longer than eight minutes eligible for mid-roll (middle of the video) ads. Previously, only videos longer than 10 minutes could include a mid-roll ad. This change could increase revenue for some creators who typically film shorter videos. 

I spoke with YouTube creators Jacques Slade (1.2 million subscribers) and Erika Kullberg (62,000 subscribers) on their reaction to the change and how this will impact their businesses.

"I'm personally happy because it's very hard for me to get my videos to the 10-minute mark for the most part," Kullberg said. "Whereas eight minutes is more doable for me. I think it's a good change for most creators and I like that you can opt out of it, too."

Read more about the change in rules, here. 

Instagram influencers can now directly tag and sell their own products 

Instagram introduced a new set of eligibility requirements for Instagram Shopping that went into effect on July 9. 

My colleague Sydney Bradley spoke with Instagram influencers who tried out these features while they were in beta testing to see what they were like to use and what pain points still exist.

"This tool is definitely a time saver and offers a better linking experience for the creator, a better shopping experience for the users, and better conversion potential for the brand," said influencer Katie Sturino, who was part of the beta test of Shopping from Creators.

But the limited amount of brands available to tag has frustrated some creators using these features, they said.

Read more about what pain points creators say still exist, here.

How much a YouTuber with 250,000 subscribers makes from her videos

Maya Lee

This is the latest installment of Business Insider's YouTube money logs, where creators break down how much they earn.

When Maya Lee started her YouTube channel, she treated it like a side hustle and would film videos about her job as an elementary-school teacher. 

"You don't go into teaching for the salary; you go into it for other reasons," she told Business Insider. "And I knew that with living in LA I needed to do something else on the side." 

I spoke with Lee, who now has 258,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel where she posts productivity videos, like her popular 5 a.m. routine (which has 4.8 million views), along with vlogs about her daily life.

Lee broke down how much money she makes from her YouTube business monthly – from brand sponsorships to Google ad revenue. 

Check out the full breakdown, here. 

What else happened on BI: 

  • Dan is seeking nominations for a list of power players reshaping the music industry through TikTok. Submit your ideas here. 

  • Brands are turning to virtual influencers: Dan and Sydney wrote about how some brands are turning to computer-generated influencers who can be "anywhere" during a pandemic.

  • How a YouTube creator gained her first 10,000 subscribers: I spoke with Maya Lee who said focusing on a niche topic helped jumpstart her channel.

  • How musicians can use Twitch to earn money: Sydney spoke with Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park, and Twitch's head of music, to learn more about how musicians are using the platform to make money.

Ask an influencer: "What would you be doing if you weren't a digital creator?" 

  • Alisha Marie (8.2 million YouTube subscribers): "If I wasn't a YouTube creator I think I would still be working in the entertainment industry, maybe something in production. I also really love teaching and have always had great relationships with teachers in my life, so I could also see myself doing that."

  • Remi Cruz (2.5 million subscribers): "I would most likely be working in the food industry. I've always loved cooking shows and can definitely see myself working on the set of one. I've recently started showcasing my own cooking videos a lot more, so who knows, maybe I will have my own cooking show one day!"

  • Omaya Zein (373,000 subscribers): "As a plus-size influencer I have various conversations with men and women about fat bodies, confidence, size discrimination and mental health, which makes me wish I could be a psychiatrist or psychologist to continue helping those, who like me, deal with body issues that affect us emotionally and mentally."

  • Hey it's Feiii (1.6 million subscribers): "I would be pursuing optometry with my human biology/science background. I have always valued my education and would love to challenge myself!"

  • Haley Pham (2.3 million subscribers): "I would probably become a real estate agent and try to build a brand similar to chip and Joanna Gaines with interior design books, flipping homes, etc!"

Submit your questions about the influencer industry or for creators to We'll answer your questions in an upcoming issue of Influencer Dashboard.

Industry updates:

  • Digital Brand Architects signed Vlog Squad member Natalie Noel, TikTok star Anna O'Brien, historian and activist Blair Imani, and beauty entrepreneur Deepica Mutyala. 

  • Morphe is launching a new cosmetics line with TikTok stars Charli and Dixie D'Amelio called Morphe 2.

  • TikTok star Addison Rae Easterling is the face of American Eagle's new back-to-school campaign, and she launched a podcast exclusive to Spotify with her mom Sheri.

  • Rapper Logic signed an exclusive deal with Twitch.

This week from Insider's digital culture team: 

  • TikTok star Griffin Johnson explains why he's leaving Sway: Hanna Lustig spoke with Johnson about leaving the TikTok collab house and his plans to jump into esports.
  • Some Disney influencers question park safety, others run back: Margot Harris spoke with Disney-focused social-media creators on how they are approaching the park reopening and their concerns. 

  • James Charles says OnlyFans sent him a 'very lucrative offer': Kat Tenbarge wrote that Charles says the platform reached out to him via email with a "lucrative offer" to sell his nude photos on the platform. 

  • "What animal are you?" Instagram accounts are taking over: Palmer Haasch wrote about the popular accounts that match people's names to pictures of animals or other images.  

Here's what else we're reading:

  • 8 TikTok creators that cover food and dance in Charlotte, NC: Emma Way from Charlotte Agenda wrote about the influencers famous for posting about the city of Charlotte. 

  • Cameo and the future of influencer marketing: Rebecca Jennings from Vox wrote about the celebrity shout-out app Cameo and its rise in popularity since the coronavirus outbreak. 

Thanks for reading! Send me your tips, comments, or questions:

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