Fanhouse, cofounded by a Wharton grad, helps social media personalities earn a living – The Philadelphia Inquirer

After graduating from The Wharton College in 2020, Rosie Nguyen co-founded Fanhouse, a web-based platform for creators and on-line influencers to place content material behind a paywall.
Earlier than launching a tech start-up in 2020, Rosie Nguyen and her co-founders experimented on Twitter.
Nguyen, then a College of Pennsylvania pupil, had amassed a considerable social media following by posting pictures of herself, jokes about her intercourse life, online game commentary, and anything on her thoughts. It was like a web-based public diary, she mentioned. However would followers pay to see her tweets from a non-public account?
It took simply two weeks to seek out out: Nguyen mentioned she earned $2,000 by making customers ship funds by way of Venmo and CashApp to achieve entry to her personal Twitter feed. The experiment confirmed Nguyen and her co-founders that their start-up thought was viable.
» READ MORE: This Philly start-up helps Hollywood studios handle extras, from the units of ‘Mare of Easttown to ‘King Richard’
After graduating from the Wharton College with a bachelor’s diploma in 2020, Nguyen co-founded Fanhouse, a web-based platform for creators and on-line influencers to place content material behind a paywall. Customers pay to see unique posts and chat immediately with social media personalities resembling Nguyen. The software program app can be utilized by players, athletes, musicians and others with massive audiences they will monetize by way of Fanhouse.
“I simply need individuals to have the ability to earn a living doing what they love,” mentioned Nguyen, 24, who now lives in Los Angeles. “I really like creating, I really like making individuals snigger, and for a really very long time, that was all free. It doesn’t matter if my tweet acquired 1,000,000 likes. I made no cash for that.”
To make certain, some content material creators have earned some huge cash, however largely by way of promoting. U.S. entrepreneurs are anticipated to spend greater than $4 billion on influencer advertising and marketing this 12 months, based on analysis from Insider Intelligence. That features funds made to influencers or their representatives for sponsored posts on social media or different user-generated content material.
Fanhouse is providing creators one other approach to monetize their posts extra immediately. Creators can cost a month-to-month subscription price, obtain suggestions for his or her hottest posts, or receives a commission for particular requests, resembling singing a selected tune or creating customized paintings. Fanhouse will get a ten% reduce of every transaction.
“Followers of creators are rabid about their content material, typically watching a video the minute it’s posted,” mentioned Debra Williamson, a principal analyst at Insider Intelligence who focuses on social media advertising and marketing and promoting. “This kind of unique entry has vital attract for individuals who observe creators intently.”
» READ MORE: With Gopuff, Philly acquired a tech unicorn with a family title. Now what?
Nonetheless, not each creator will earn a living from subscriptions, Williamson mentioned. These with smaller followings might wrestle to persuade their followers to pay a month-to-month price. Williamson believes that the majority creators will proceed to make the majority of their earnings from sponsored posts and merchandise offers.
Because it was launched in November 2020, creators have collectively earned greater than $6 million by way of Fanhouse, Nguyen mentioned. The corporate, which has 12 full-time workers, has additionally raised $1.3 million. Traders embody former Tinder government Jeff Morris Jr. and Mantis VC, an early-stage tech funding agency shaped by music duo the Chainsmokers. Fanhouse is already worthwhile, Nguyen mentioned.
Fanhouse is in some methods a response to OnlyFans, a web-based content material subscription service that has change into standard for intercourse staff. Final 12 months, the London-based platform introduced it could ban pornography , citing strain from banking companions. However OnlyFans reversed course after a backlash from customers and intercourse staff.
» READ MORE: This West Chester start-up will flag your cringeworthy Fb posts earlier than they get you in hassle
Fanhouse payments itself as a “PG-13″ platform and prohibits sexually express content material. That permits the Los Angeles-based start-up to work with main fee processors that cost decrease charges and lift cash from traders which have guidelines towards porn. It additionally appeals to influencers who don’t need to be related to intercourse work, Nguyen mentioned.
Nguyen, who emigrated from Vietnam as a child and grew up in Houston, turned to OnlyFans to earn a living in the course of the early days of the pandemic. In March 2020, she misplaced her work-study job on the entrance desk of her Penn dorm when the college quickly closed. That reduce off an important a part of her earnings that she despatched house to help her household, she mentioned.
OnlyFans allowed Nguyen to monetize her large social media following, bringing in 1000’s of {dollars} a month. However it additionally attracted threats and sexual harassment. Followers pressured her to ship nude pictures, which she refused to do, or shamed her for being on OnlyFans.
“I used to be afraid individuals would discover me as a result of they’d threaten to harm me. They threatened to harm my household if I didn’t ship them issues that they wished to see,” Nguyen mentioned.
She shared the story of that profitable however scary expertise together with her eventual co-founders: Khoi Le, the start-up’s CEO, and Jerry Meng, the chief expertise officer. The three of them got here up with the thought of testing the Fanhouse idea by placing Nguyen’s Twitter behind the paywall. They have been included on this 12 months’s Forbes 30 Underneath 30 record due to Fanhouse’s early success.
» READ MORE: Offers that reworked Philly’s tech scene in 2021
Nguyen, who’s chief advertising and marketing officer of Fanhouse, can be a creator on the platform, charging customers $10 a month to see unique posts. On Fanhouse, she shares extra pictures and jokes, asks followers for suggestions on potential Twitter posts, and provides followers perception into her life, resembling when she was just lately locked out of her condominium within the rain. “Please ship assist,” she joked.
“I believe with anybody that develops a following, you’re saying one thing that nobody else is saying,” Nguyen mentioned. “I speak about my life, my intercourse life, issues that not lots of people will speak about, however in a really blunt, sincere, and humorous method. I believe that simply captured an viewers.”
After engaged on the start-up for just a few months, she give up an funding banking job to concentrate on Fanhouse. “That is what I might need to do for the remainder of my life,” she mentioned of Fanhouse. “That is what’s significant to me.”