Lumanu: Influencing the Advancement of the Creator Economy

A platform easing the collaboration between brands and creators

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3 min

It is the generation of the influencer! Creators on Tik Tok, Youtube, Instagram, and beyond are becoming increasingly well-known — and in some cases, well-compensated. Some influencers have secured as much as $700,000 in brand deals in just six months. This shift to a social media-driven society has produced a change in marketing and advertising techniques. Brands and companies now actively connect with influencers to help promote their products through leveraging their large communities — sometimes surpassing a million followers.

Lumanu, an Alumni Ventures portfolio company, is leveraging the influencer economy through a business enablement platform to simplify how creative professionals share assets, rights, data, and other IP with brands. Lumanu’s software standardizes business transactions in the creative economy by providing smart contracts, protecting asset usage, and setting up a frictionless payment network.

Serving Brands and Creators

Lumanu’s platform is beneficial to both creators and brands. Brands benefit from using Lumanu as they get access to exclusive creator IP and first-party audience data, all of which are automatically synced with existing business tools. For creators, Lumanu offers a suite of financial tools and payment solutions to help keep work collaborations and invoices organized as well as ensure they are paid on-time.

The company recently launched Early Pay, an invoice factoring product that allows Lumanu to pay the creator immediately (with a % fee) and then Lumanu gets paid by the brand on the standard payment terms of 30/60/90 days. Early Pay is a significant perk for creators as they don’t have to wait an extended period of time for payment.

So how does it work?

Brands send content creators a custom Lumanu link. When accepted, this sets up a virtual handshake on the terms of the agreement between the brand and creator. The company can then use the creator’s account to run ads, directly targeting first-party and lookalike audiences, while creators can moderate comments and compliance. When the collaboration is complete, creators invoice the company through Lumanu and are paid via their existing accounts payable system or directly in Lumanu.

With the increasing influx of information and entertainment, the influencer and content creator ecosystem presents a massive opportunity. Counting all types of creators — including photographers, copywriters, and designers — the market exceeds $100 billion. Additionally, that number increases when products and services created specifically for creators are added, such as banking, accounting, and asset protection.

Lumanu is addressing this large market and more by recognizing critical areas of expansion. What initially was meant to serve primarily as a marketing platform for brands to leverage creator assets and data is evolving into more. For example, the company now plans to manage payments, so creators and brands can share, monitor, and process frictionless payments all on the Lumanu platform. 

Early Traction and How We Are Involved

Lumanu has shown impressive growth since its Seed funding, having signed over 12,000 creators, including high-profile celebrities like Kate Hudson, Victoria Justice, and Madelaine Petsch. The company also signed 200 impressive brands and agencies such as Revolve, Poshmark, Fashion Nova, and GroupM.  

Castor Ventures (for the MIT community) Partner Cainon Coates has been closely tracking Lumanu since 2017 and began serving as an advisor in October 2020. Castor and Alumni Ventures sibling funds deployed capital in the company’s $12 million Series A in July 2021, led by Origin Ventures. 

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