Stripe’s Ellen Moeller discusses the infrastructure that allows creator platforms to help users monetise without becoming fintechs themselves.
Content creators are far from a new concept, but the growth of creator platforms makes it easier for pretty much anyone with an email address to start monetising their content online one way or another.
This has led to the creator economy boom. According to a report by VC firm SignalFire, more than 50m people around the world consider themselves creators.
These creators can range from self-proclaimed amateurs to full-time professionals and use any number of SaaS or social media platforms to monetise their content, including Patreon, Etsy, YouTube, Substack and a whole lot more.
The Covid-19 pandemic understandably led to a spike in online content consumption, with in-person entertainment outlets closed all around the world.
However, with the growing demand for monetisation capabilities, many creator platforms had to ensure they were able to offer that service.
Ellen Moeller, head of EMEA partnerships at Irish-founded online payments giant Stripe, said building an infrastructure that enables paid features can be a serious challenge for businesses.
“Managing a complex three-sided transaction flow is challenging, and creator platforms like Substack and Patreon shouldn’t have to become accounting firms or payments experts just to help their users monetise,” she told Siliconrepublic.com.
The fintech created Stripe Connect several years ago, which commoditises the payment structures required to create a multisided marketplace.
‘All kinds of companies are monetising financial services in a way that wasn’t possible just a few years ago’
– ELLEN MOELLER
The platform now powers on-demand marketplaces such as Substack, Clubhouse, Patreon and Spotify Anchor as well as smaller platforms such as Gumroad and Buy Me a Coffee.
“The fund flows from consumers to creators can be handled programmatically, even ensuring that creators can receive payment in their desired currency and monitor income in their own dashboards,” Moeller said.
One of the latest platforms to introduce paid features powered by Stripe is Twitter, which recently announced a new Super Follows feature that allows users to charge for extra content, as well as ticketed Spaces that will essentially act as online paid-for events.
“Bringing creator payments on their platforms might seem like a relatively simple thing for a company like Twitter to do, but the realities are fiendishly complex,” said Moeller.
“Twitter wants to continue to build features that put it at the heart of conversations happening around the world, they don’t want to have to become experts in financial services as well. So, Stripe handles that for them.”
Irish start-ups have been capitalising on Stripe’s infrastructure too, including Mona, which allows creators to sell their skills; Outcaster, which allows creators to build custom streaming apps with integrated payment and membership plans; and The Currency, a news and analysis site with a premium subscription model.
“One really interesting trend is that all kinds of companies are monetising financial services in a way that wasn’t possible just a few years ago. This is particularly true of SaaS platforms, which are now embedding financial services products from payments and loans to money management accounts, which they can sell to their users,” said Moeller.
“A lot of small businesses today rely on platforms like Shopify or Lightspeed to run huge parts of their operations, so it makes sense those small businesses might want to get a loan or manage their finances via those same platforms.
“A great example of this is Irish SaaS platform Glofox, which provides business management software for the fitness industry. Glofox is now able to effectively be a fintech company as well as a software company by using Stripe’s embedded finance APIs.”
Moeller said another recent product, Payment Links, is designed to enable selling online without a website or the need for any coding.
“We want to break down the barriers to doing business online – whether you’re a creator, a small business or an entrepreneur.”
Stripe has seen phenomenal growth since it was founded by Irish brothers John and Patrick Collison more than a decade ago. Earlier this year, the company announced 1,000 jobs at its Dublin HQ to support growth in the EMEA market.
“Ireland has rapidly become a major R&D centre for Stripe and it’s hugely important to us as we continue to scale up globally,” said Moeller.
Rumours have also been circulating in recent weeks that the payments giant has taken the first step towards a much-anticipated IPO.