There are a lot of talented people, like chefs and musicians, in Southeast Asia who can earn money through their work online, says TipTip founder Albert Lucius. But many of them don’t have the social media clout to attract advertisers. TipTip wants to help them build up followers in their communities using an offline/online strategy, and monetize by selling content instead of relying on advertising algorithms. The Indonesian-based startup announced today it has raised $13 million in Series A funding, just eight months after its $10 million Series A in March.
The latest round was led by East Ventures, with participation from returning investors Vertex, SMDV and B.I.G. Ventures.
TipTip 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 like videos and documents by selling them to their followers, or hosting live video sessions.
The platform launched in July, and says its revenue has grown 20x since October, with creators earn 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 is currently focused on Indonesia, with a presence in 40 cities.
The people TipTip was created for, like local chefs, musicians and painters, still have few followers and need to build their audiences. To enable them to scale and monetize, TipTip uses a hyperlocal strategy in Indonesian cities and towns, helping them host events and activities tailored to their communities.
Lucius says TipTip’s team saw that many people became accustomed to the idea of making money virtually after COVID hit, as interest in consuming digital content also rose. Based on research they sourced from Research and Markets, Digital Journal and Statista, they found that the creator economy in Southeast Asia has a projected CAGR of about 10% to 30%.
But Lucius said many Southeast Asian creators cannot monetize with tools on social media platforms, like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram or Patreon, which are better suited for top creators who already have a lot of followers and views, and can draw advertisers.
Lucius says TipTip differentiate 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, like audience management, know your customer (KYC), payment systems and scheduling.
“There are many players who are already established as industry leaders in these respective areas. We view them as necessary and complementary to our services. In fact, we rely on our creators/promoters to continue using external platforms to engage their audiences, post updates, advertise their free offerings there and provide links back to TipTip to monetize their premium contents,” Lucius said.
Instead of ads, TipTip provides direct monetization channels through tipping and direct purchases, and takes a cut from every sale on its platform.
An example of the content being shared on TipTip include edutainment in categories such as music. Musicians use the platform to share tips on how to compose better songs, and sometimes accompany that with a live performance. Another example are creators who make multi-segment courses on how to be better public speakers, with a live workshop included.
TipTip also has a network of promoters to help creators sell their content. Lucius says promoters serve as affiliates or resellers, often to their own small communities, and take a commission form each sell. “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 create a pipeline of creators, TipTip uses awareness programs by partnering with its top creators, using above-the-line marketing campaigns and doing a hyperlocal strategy to find key opinion leaders (KOL), 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, like podcasts, branding deals and personalized requests, so creators have more potential revenue channels, and expand its offline/online presence into 250 cities and towns across Indonesia by the middle of next year.
In a statement about the funding, East Ventures co-founder and managing partner Willson Cuaca said, “We strongly believe in Albert’s leadership at TipTip. His past experience in building and running Kudo before being acquired by Grab in 2017 continues to be pivotal in navigating the turbulent economy as we head into 2023. We expect TipTip to continue its exponential growth trajectory on the back of its hyperlocal strategy which adapts really well to the changing creator and customer behavior in the post-COVID era.”