In the past few years we’ve seen a growing trend for YouTubers to adopt digital and social media, not just as a supplement to your media presence, but also as a cornerstone of your personal brand.
The pandemic has certainly accelerated trends in the creator economy. Many well-known artists and personalities had to postpone concerts and live events, subsequently Using social media to conduct these activities and engage their fans. The Creator Economy bug, widespread in the Western and Far Eastern markets and turning platforms like Cameo and Patreon into unicorns, is beginning to take center stage in MENA.
Today, Minly, an Egypt-based creator economy platform, announces that it has completed a $ 3.6 million seed round to enable stars across the MENA region to make authentic, personalized connections to theirs Build fans.
The round, which Minly said was oversubscribed, was jointly chaired by 4DX Ventures, B&Y Venture Partners and Global Ventures. It also included participation from undisclosed regional funds and angel investors such as Scooter Braun, founder of SB Projects, and Jason Finger, co-founder of Seamless and GrubHub.
Experts say the time spent viewing social media has exceeded the time spent watching television in the MENA region. One shortcoming of social media, however, is that the content often feels like mass-produced goods. When YouTubers create posts, they are mostly not personalized. In a way, this dilutes the fan experience and limits the scope and number of ways the creator can make money.
That’s where Minly, founded last year by Mohamed El-Shinnawy, Tarek Hosny, Tarek ElGanainy, Ahmed Abbas and Bassel El-Toukhy, come inside. It provides tools for YouTubers to create “authentic connections” with their superfans and audiences on a large scale. “In short, our goal is in the end provide tens of millions of unique, unforgettable experiences for fans each year, ”El-Shinnawy told TechCrunch.
Shinnawy, who brings more than 15 years of media and technology experience, is Chief Technology Officer at Minly. He sold his first company, Emerge Technology, to an American media company. He has also worked for Hollywood’s top studios such as Sony Pictures, Universal, Disney, Fox and Warner Brothers while helping in the global expansion of Apple TV +, Disney + and Netflix into the MENA region.
Minly has seen rapid growth since it was launched late last year. It has more than 50,000 users and an impressive list of popular regional celebrities from actors and athletes like Fifi Abdou and Mahmoud Trezeguet to musicians and internet influencers like Assala Nasri and Tamer Hosny.
On the platform, users can buy personalized video messages and shoutouts from these celebrities and, in turn, they can engage with their fans on a more personal level.
“We believe that we have already set ourselves apart from other Creator Economy platforms in the region. We do this by offering the best catalog of stars and user experiences. And our entire team is working hard to widen that gap even further, ”El-Shinnawy said of the celebrity selection Minly has registered on the platform.
Some of the times celebrities have come into contact with their fans on Minly are When aActress and dancer Fifi Abdou sent a personal message to one of her biggest fans who has Down syndrome and when the Egyptian singer Tamer Hosny performed surprisingly at the engagement party of two fans in March.
Minly takes a small commission on transactions made through its platform. However, it is Majority of the transaction price, a number Minly not disclosed, goes directly to creator. And at the same time, Minly calls on celebrities to automatically donate portion of their earnings to charities on the platform.
Minly’s talent for creating a personalized experience is why pan-African VC company 4DX Ventures invested. The company’s co-founder and general partner, Peter Orth, who will join Minly’s board of directors, said the company was basically to transform the relationship between celebrities and fans in the MENA region. “The team has both the ambition and the know-how to create a full-stack platform for digital interaction that could transform the way digital content is viewed created and consumed in the region, ”he added.
The creator economy market exceeded $ 100 billion this year and is still growing at an impressive rate. The pace of content creation will only accelerate as surveys suggest that YouTuber, or TikTokker, or the most common term, vlogger, is one of the most coveted careers among Generation Z. VC heavyweights such as Andreessen Horowitz, Kleiner Partners and Tiger Global have also ushered in this growth essential, Contributing to the more than $ 2 billion invested in creator economy platforms this year.
In MENA there is a huge opportunity for Minly. The region has over 450 million inhabitants, 30% of whom are between 18 and 30 years old is known have a deep connection with social media, and El-Shinnawy believes MENA will soon add to a large chunk of the overall creation economy.
To the Minly, the goal is to make a huge portion of those expenses and become a billion dollar industry leader. The Creator platform has a case for this. As it stands, the chance of building a one-stop shop for the Creator Economy in MENA is enormous compared to other regions that already have it several established incumbent. Likewise, Minly is one of the few platforms in the region with sensible venture financing.
“The creative economy is still in its infancy and is growing at lightning speed. We have the opportunity to build the first unicorn in this category in MENA, ”said the CTO.
With this investment Minly doubles the establishment of local celebrity acquisition teams in Egypt and other parts of MENA and the GCC, where it has received significant acclaim. The company will also be scaling its engineering team to manufacture more products to build a horizontal creator platform.