Creator CRM company Pico rebrands to Hype, raises $10 million

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Creator CRM company Pico is now turning into Hype and launching Hype Kits, which are pre-designed web templates for different types of creators looking to build a landing page.

The company is also raising $10 million in Series A financing led by King River Capital with other investors including Bullpen Capital, Precursor Ventures, Bloomberg Beta, Tapestry VC and Sterling Road. This brings the platform’s total fundraising to $20 million.

The startup has been rebranded a few times. It was founded in 2016 as PennyPass by Stanford students Nick Chen and Jason Bade. In 2019, the company changed to Pico, with seed funding from investors who worked for companies like Stripe and Precursor.

Image Credits: hype

Hype’s core strength is offering CRM tools to creators. Speaking to AapkaDost, Chen said the company initially targeted journalists and helped them get subscriptions to their blogs to monetize it. However, in recent years he has seen the rise of link-in-bio tools such as Linktree. The aim now is to bring that possibility to the forefront.

“We already offered a link in the biotool via the landing page builder. Now we are introducing several kits through this Hype rebrand to make it easier for different makers to quickly get up and running with us,” said Chen.

Hype Kits offer things like a quick landing page and a drag-and-drop web page builder. In addition, it offers CRM tools such as email and phone signup boxes. Chen says the ability for creators to collect their fans’ email addresses and phone numbers and send them special messages is particularly important.

The startup also offers revenue tools to collect tips and sell subscriptions or experiences. Chen noted that creators have earned $30 million in revenue and collected more than four million email and phone contacts through Hype’s tools. Hype is taking a 5% cut on all creator payments. The company is not yet profitable, but aims to reach that figure by mid-2024.

Hype's messaging toolkit

Image Credits: hype

Chen emphasized that due to platform shifts and events like the fear of the TikTok ban, creators have to rely on different tools to monetize their skills. He said that understanding your fan base and their contacts makes it easier to move into different ways of making money.

“The creator economy is converging with the small business economy. Entrepreneurs today are launching brands and products with content and community at the core of their business. The days when social media merely served as a post-launch megaphone are long gone. We designed Hype to accelerate this movement and provide creators of all types with the necessary audience engagement and monetization tools that were previously only available to larger companies. Chen said.

The idea of ​​comparing creators to small businesses seems to be a new trend. Recently, Tidal, a music streaming service owned by Block, also compared artists to startup companies and said the company wants to build tools for them to manage different processes. Other companies such as Visa and Mastercard have echoed the same sentiment.

However, there is a lot of competition in the space trying to help creators make money. There are link-in-bio startups offering monetization tools, including Australia-based Linktree, a16z-backed Beacon and CRV, and Crossfeed Ventures-backed Snipfeed. Then there are Patreon competitors like Gen Z creator monetization Fanfix and a16z-backed Fanhouse – both of which leverage non-NSFW content.

Chen said that while Hype doesn’t want to be a content hosting platform and make editorial decisions, it wants to build a more powerful CRM tool in the coming months that will help creators build a better fan base.

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