Driving the creator economy, this startup lets you own a share of your favourite creator

Fanztar, founded by Himanshu Garg and Sahil Singla, is a creator-first marketplace empowering creators to kickstart monetisation via revenue share with fans and enabling data driven brand matchmaking.

Driving the creator economy, this startup lets you own a share of your favourite creator

Wednesday January 24, 2024,

6 min Read

According to a 2023 report by Singapore-based creator tech company Animeta, over 3,500 brands and 5,000 creator partners in India are engaged in creator-driven branded content.

The report also reveals that around 20,000 branded content pieces have generated over half a billion engagements. It also predicted that one million Indian social media creators will earn over $500 every month within three years.


Sahil Singla and Himanshu Garg - co-founders of Fanztar

“We all know that the creator economy is booming and the numbers tell the story. It’s a $100 billion market, but unfortunately, creators are failing to monetise content. Only 150,000 of 80 million creators in India are able to monetise; that’s only 0.2% of the creator community. They don’t just want tools, they want more engaging fans,” says Himanshu Garg, CEO and Founder of Gurugram-based Fanztar, a creator economy platform in India.

Garg, an IIT-Delhi graduate with experience in early-stage teams in startups like Delhivery and a healthcare startup, started Fanztar along with his batchmate Sahil Singla in September 2022. A creator-first marketplace, Fanztar is empowering creators to kickstart monetisation via revenue sharing with fans and enabling data-driven brand matchmaking.

Garg points out that platforms like Instagram and Facebook have democratised content creation, making it easy for everybody to put out content. But what it has not enabled is an equal share of the value that is being created from the content to go to the hands of all creators. And this is where Fanztar steps in.

He explains, “If you talk to a micro-creator who has a community of around 10,000 followers on platforms like Instagram or YouTube, they face the problem of not being able to sustain the community for a longer period for the brands to be interested in the engagement that their followers bring in.”

Garg says this happens because a lot of platforms keep changing their algorithms to meet their business objectives.

“For example, X wants to promote longer threads—and for the next six months, the algorithm will be tailored to support this. The creator who was specialising in the shorter form, starts getting lower reach,” he adds.

Fanztar creates a close bridge between the followers and the creators, where the creator gives a part of his future earnings to them by way of a digital card or fan card, sold on Fanztar; a loyalty card that offers certain benefits to the follower, so that he keeps on engaging with the creator.

So, when a creator has thousands of followers buying the loyalty cards, they don’t lose relevance, and at the same time keep on growing their audience, even in the context of the changing algorithm and changing content formats.

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How does it work?

“A creator can sign up on the Fanztar platform and create a profile as a creator who wants to launch the fan card collection to sell to their followers. The platform generates certain digital cards on the blockchain, which are called non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and are linked to the IP rights of the content that this creator is going to create over the next 18 months or so—a digital asset, linked to your Instagram profile or your YouTube content.”

The buyer of this card gets access to a certain set of royalties in future.

For example, if your video on YouTube does business worth Rs 10,000 in Adsense revenue in a month, and the creator has given 50% away; and anyone holding the card will get access to royalties through Fanztar in the form of cash payouts, wallet credits, etc.

In addition, one also receives virtual bonuses, which give access to a virtual master class with the creator, or a meet and greet and so on.

Currently, Fanztar is not charging the creators to be on the platform but takes a 20-25% commission on sales that happen on the cards.

Garg admits that it’s higher than other marketplaces that do not offer revenue sharing.

“We are the first globally tying IP rights to NFT. We are providing more services, and therefore charge a higher percentage as opposed to somebody selling a NFT with no underlying value,” he says.

The brands are charged a commission between 15-18%, depending upon factors like campaign size.

The second part of the business is where Fanztar helps brands connect with creators. Since the platform works closely with creators, it is able to gauge which creators will have to drive what kind of purchase decisions from their community.

“We work with brands to help them identify breakthrough creators, especially those that can give higher ROI in terms of buying decisions. This is B2B business we launched in March 2023 that is doing pretty well,” he says.

So far, the startup has onboarded more than 1,000 creators on its platform, and around 44,000 fan cards have been sold in one year.

Essentially, Fanztar collects two buckets of creators—micro and emerging creators. Anyone with a following between 10k-100k across platforms is a micro creator and a content creator with followers between 100-500k is an emerging creator.

“Currently, we are focused on mostly English and Hindi-speaking creators—a certain set to create that network effect. We will be language agnostic as we go in the future. We basically target a few genres of creators; we have tech creators, finance creators, lifestyle, comedy, and vloggers,” Garg explains.

He admits that initially, it was very difficult to convince the creators that they would be sharing a part of their future income with fans.

“But we had a few case studies that demonstrated the impact this model can have on their engagement, which brings in greater brand revenue and can increase their income. It then became easy for us to approach the creators and explain because we have several channels—talent management agencies that work with us. We also work directly with creator programs of certain social media platforms, like share chat, for example, it becomes easier and credible,” he says.

Fanztar was part of YourStory’s Tech30 companies at TechSparks 2023.

Fanztar’s competitors Roll, Royal, Socios, and Sorare are focused on social tokens, granting more rights to the users and enabling direct connections between creators and users.

“Fanztar understands that creators cannot benefit from monetisation opportunities simply by having access to monetisation tools. Instead, it enables micro-creators to kickstart their engagement and build a community which is the central piece of long-term monetisation,” he says.

In 2022, Fanztar raised Rs 5 crore in seed funding led by India Quotient, a seed-to-early-stage venture capital firm that has invested in over 100 startups. The funding series also saw participation from ShareChat Founders - Ankush Sachdeva, Bhanu Pratap Singh & Farid Ahsan, Sarthak Misra (Softbank India), Manohar Charan (CFO, ShareChat), and Tarsame Mittal (TM Ventures).

“The creator is our main customer, and we are focusing on creating tools to speed up the onboarding process, and the creator awareness process to help them understand the product. In the second phase, we want to create brand-specific solutions to help them make intelligent decisions and increase their ROI. Our goal is to onboard 25,000 creators by the end of the year,” Garg adds.

Edited by Megha Reddy