Los Angeles Business Journal

TubeStart Helps Creators Work The Crowd

By Tom Dotan Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Online videos and crowdfunding seem to like one another.

A fledgling business is almost required to make a promotional video to help it raise money through a crowdfunding site such as Kickstarter; all-the-better if it goes viral. And many YouTube creators have relied on crowdfunding to tap into fan enthusiasm and their willingness to chip in a few bucks.

TubeStart, which launched today, has brought that connection to the fore. The Santa Monica startup has built a platform that helps YouTube talent tap the audience for funds.

The company offers several funding tiers: Subscription Funding, which charges fans a monthly fee from $5 up to $50; Flexible Funding, where creators can set a goal but still get to keep the money even if the campaign falls short; and Fixed Funding, which follows the traditional Kickstarter “all or nothing” model.

TubeStart was founded by Josef Holm and Claude Shires, two content producers on YouTube who started the comedy channel StandUpBits. Although the channel has built up a decent size following – currently more than 9,000 subscribers – they struggled to turn make money from the audience.

“YouTube receives billions of monthly visits and comprises a substantial percentage of Web traffic. Yet, the current ad-based monetization model is not serving content creators or their fans well,” Holm said in the release.

TubeStart is intended to be add-on revenue stream for YouTube creators, supplementing the money coming from advertising. The company makes money by charging a fee – generally 5 percent – on all money raised in a campaign.