Our recent dive into the startups reshaping how independent musicians get paid generated a lot of interest from readers. Today we wade into another subsector that’s a tad less glamorous—but just as important. These startups are developing software that manages the back-end tasks of a creators’ business, from tracking earnings on Stir to handling taxes through Keeper Tax.
These are among the 15 startups in our new creator economy database that fall into the creator services category, alongside several offering link-in-bio services and financial software. Altogether, they’ve raised an estimated $305 million in total funding.
One of the most recent to receive VC backing is Willa, a 26-person company launched in September by early Spotify engineer Kristofer Sommestad, Willa’s CEO, and three other founders, two of whom also worked at Spotify.
Willa is similar to buy-now, pay-later services such as Klarna and Afterpay. Social media creators and other freelancers such as filmmakers download the Willa app to create invoices for work they’ve done for companies, such as sponsored videos. Willa fronts the money through its partnerships with lenders, and an advertiser pays Willa on its own timeline, ranging from 30 to 90 days. The startup makes money by charging a 2.9% fee on the amount of the invoice.
“It’s all about giving you better and faster access to money,” said Sommestad, who lives in Sweden. “You want to go buy the cup of coffee or pay the bill.”