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

After graduating from The Wharton Faculty 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 scholar, had amassed a considerable social media following by posting images of herself, jokes about her intercourse life, online game commentary, and the rest on her thoughts. It was like a web-based public diary, she stated. However would followers pay to see her tweets from a personal account?
It took simply two weeks to search out out: Nguyen stated she earned $2,000 by making customers ship funds via Venmo and CashApp to realize entry to her non-public Twitter feed. The experiment confirmed Nguyen and her co-founders that their start-up concept was viable.
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After graduating from the Wharton Faculty 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 straight with social media personalities resembling Nguyen. The software program app can be utilized by avid gamers, athletes, musicians and others with giant audiences they will monetize via Fanhouse.
“I simply need individuals to have the ability to earn cash doing what they love,” stated Nguyen, 24, who now lives in Los Angeles. “I like creating, I like making individuals snicker, and for a really very long time, that was all free. It doesn’t matter if my tweet obtained one million likes. I made no cash for that.”
To make sure, some content material creators have earned some huge cash, however largely via promoting. U.S. entrepreneurs are anticipated to spend greater than $4 billion on influencer advertising and marketing this yr, in line with 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 straight. Creators can cost a month-to-month subscription charge, obtain ideas for his or her hottest posts, or receives a commission for particular requests, resembling singing a specific tune or creating customized art work. Fanhouse will get a ten% minimize of every transaction.
“Followers of creators are rabid about their content material, usually watching a video the minute it’s posted,” stated 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 comply with creators carefully.”
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Nonetheless, not each creator will earn cash from subscriptions, Williamson stated. These with smaller followings might battle to persuade their followers to pay a month-to-month charge. 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 via Fanhouse, Nguyen stated. The corporate, which has 12 full-time workers, has additionally raised $1.3 million. Buyers embrace former Tinder government Jeff Morris Jr. and Mantis VC, an early-stage tech funding agency fashioned by music duo the Chainsmokers. Fanhouse is already worthwhile, Nguyen stated.
Fanhouse is in some methods a response to OnlyFans, a web-based content material subscription service that has develop into well-liked for intercourse staff. Final yr, the London-based platform introduced it could ban pornography , citing stress from banking companions. However OnlyFans reversed course after a backlash from customers and intercourse staff.
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Fanhouse payments itself as a “PG-13″ platform and prohibits sexually specific content material. That enables the Los Angeles-based start-up to work with main cost processors that cost decrease charges and lift cash from buyers which have guidelines towards porn. It additionally appeals to influencers who don’t wish to be related to intercourse work, Nguyen stated.
Nguyen, who emigrated from Vietnam as a child and grew up in Houston, turned to OnlyFans to earn cash throughout 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 minimize off an important a part of her revenue that she despatched dwelling to help her household, she stated.
OnlyFans allowed Nguyen to monetize her large social media following, bringing in 1000’s of {dollars} a month. Nevertheless it additionally attracted threats and sexual harassment. Followers pressured her to ship nude images, 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 needed to see,” Nguyen stated.
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 had been included on this yr’s Forbes 30 Beneath 30 listing due to Fanhouse’s early success.
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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 images and jokes, asks followers for suggestions on potential Twitter posts, and offers followers perception into her life, resembling when she was lately locked out of her residence 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 stated. “I discuss my life, my intercourse life, issues that not lots of people will discuss, however in a really blunt, sincere, and humorous means. I believe that simply captured an viewers.”
After engaged on the start-up for a couple of months, she give up an funding banking job to deal with Fanhouse. “That is what I’d wish to do for the remainder of my life,” she stated of Fanhouse. “That is what’s significant to me.”