The AI Startup That's Landing Youtube Stars Millions of Views

Francesca Billington

Francesca Billington is a freelance reporter. Prior to that, she was a general assignment reporter for dot.LA and has also reported for KCRW, the Santa Monica Daily Press and local publications in New Jersey. She graduated from Princeton in 2019 with a degree in anthropology.

The AI Startup That's Landing Youtube Stars Millions of Views
Los Angeles tech startup Jellysmack has joined the unicorn ranks for its AI-based software that drives viewers to YouTube creators like MrBeast and Brad Mondo.

The company announced Wednesday an undisclosed Series C funding round led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2, whose portfolio spans the buzziest consumer platforms from ByteDance to Cameo.

Using up to 30 "multivariate tests," Jellysmack said it can determine what titles and editing tricks will help videos rack up views and engagement across Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat and Youtube.

About 200 content creators use the service, like YouTubers like PewDiePie, MrBeast and Bailey Sarian. The startup trims down the length of their videos and edits thumbnails and subtitles. Once videos go live on YouTube, Jellysmack runs paid advertisements and targets "an audience that is highly likely to be interested," said spokesperson MK Glenning.

Take Brad Mondo, a hairstylist and social media personality with nearly seven million YouTube subscribers. A year after joining Jellysmack, the company said his Snapchat followers grew by ten times and his Facebook followers by four.

"Media consumption has pivoted massively in recent years with mobile video content rapidly outpacing TV," Yanni Pipilis, managing partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers, said in a statement. "There are now 50 million creators but only 0.1% are able to make a full-time living from their content.

The startup, founded in 2016, boasts 10 billion global video views and 125 million viewers across social platforms each month. It also publishes videos on Jellysmack's own social channels, spanning beauty, soccer, gaming and entertainment.

Jellysmack went profitable in 2020, and doesn't charge creators. Instead, it makes money instead through a revenue share model using income generated from the social platforms under their management.

And it wants to go global. The investment from Softbank's CEO and Chairman Masayoshi Son will help the company expand internationally. Glenning would not disclose the amount of this funding round, but prior to it, said the unicorn had raised $40 million.

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Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

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