Spotter Raises $200 Million To License YouTubers’ Old Videos

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Spotter Raises $200 Million To License YouTubers’ Old Videos
Photo by Wachiwit/ Shutterstock

Bruce Springsteen and Sting are not the only artists these days making millions of dollars from their content catalogs: YouTube stars are monetizing their libraries, too.

Since launching in 2019, Los Angeles-based startup Spotter has spent $350 million to license YouTubers’ back catalogs—providing creators with cash up front in exchange for their videos’ advertising revenues. But whereas musicians like Springsteen and Sting have cashed in on their catalogs as an exit strategy, YouTube creators can use Spotter to get the money they need to further grow their brands. And if they succeed, that only makes Spotter’s investment in them even more valuable.

“If we can give creators money that's on an accelerated basis, that's enough to be game-changing at whatever part of their journey they're in,” Spotter founder and CEO Aaron DeBevoise told dot.LA. “They're going to win at such a big level that everyone's gonna win.”

On Wednesday, Spotter announced a $200 million Series D funding round, led by investment giant SoftBank, that values the firm at $1.7 billion. (The company had previously raised $555 million across three previous, undisclosed funding rounds, it said.) In addition to Softbank, Spotter's investors include Access Industries, CoVenture, Crossbeam Venture Partners, GPS Investment Partners and HighPost Capital.

Spotter founder and CEO Aaron DeBevoise

Spotter founder and CEO Aaron DeBevoise.

The company is hardly alone in making a huge bet on the creator economy. Brands are expected to spend $15 billion on influencer marketing this year, according to research from CB Insights. Tech giants and startups alike are spending prolifically to lure creators, ramping up payouts or letting them put content behind a paywall. That jockeying comes as creators with massive followings look for a bigger slice of the revenue pie.

Spotter contends that its model gives YouTubers a way to capitalize on their work quickly without adding debt or losing equity. The startup licenses the advertising revenue rights to creators’ previous uploads for a usual duration of around five years; Spotter has paid creators anywhere from $15,000 to $40 million for their ad rights, according to DeBevoise, who noted that the average deal is worth about $1.5 million.

The idea of YouTube catalogs as lucrative assets has quickly gained ground. Last month, creator economy company JellySmack announced it would spend $500 million on licensing YouTubers’ libraries.

Spotter has already struck deals with some of YouTube’s biggest creators including MrBeast, Dude Perfect, Like Nastya, Aphmau, and Smokin' & Grillin' wit AB. The company said it has licensed hundreds of thousands of videos that generate more than 40 billion viewing minutes per month.

“If these videos that [creators have] created over time are predictable enough to finance, they can really scale and grow their brands a lot more than the current monetization offerings allow them to do,” DeBevoise said of the idea behind his business.

YouTube star MrBeast, for example, used the capital he received from Spotter to fund his Spanish-language YouTube channel. According to Spotter, MrBeast—whose real name is Jimmy Donaldson—has increased his total viewership by roughly 300%, to 1.35 billion monthly views, since its funding allowed him to expand his content’s language offerings.

“The cost of dubbing is expensive and the revenue on YouTube is delayed—you don't get it instantly,” Donaldson said in a statement. “By partnering with Spotter, I was able to keep dubbing videos and uploading.”

Spotter plans to use its new funding to buy more rights to YouTube videos. The company expects to invest another $650 million on back catalogs over the next 18 months, taking its total spent to $1 billion.

Early on, DeBevoise said Spotter had to overcome concerns from some creators who thought they would be giving up all of their monthly ad revenues; in turn, the company would note it had data showing that most ad revenue comes from new uploads. Spotter now wants to enhance its data analytics offerings to give creators insight into the value of their libraries and ideas on how to improve performance.

“Before it was really ‘Hey, can we get people to believe that this transaction is a good economic deal?’” DeBevoise said. “Now it's, ‘How do we move from being thought of as a transaction to a partnership?’”

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Two LA Startups Participate in Techstars' 2023 Health Care Accelerator

Decerry Donato

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.

Two LA Startups Participate in Techstars' 2023 Health Care Accelerator
Courtesy of Techstars

Earlier this month, Techstars announced that their 2023 accelerator program will have two simultaneous cohorts–Techstars health care and L.A. As previously reported on dot.LA, Techstars has brought on board returning partners Cedars Sinai, United Healthcare, along with new partners that include UCI Health and Point32Health for its health care cohort.

“For our healthcare program, this is the first time we've had multiple partners as sponsors,” Managing Director Matt Kozlov said. “This allows us to support and mentor a wider diversity of companies than we've been able to help historically.”

The in-person program is taking place in Los Angeles and two out of the twelve companies accepted into the health care program are based in Southern California.

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The Creator-To-Podcaster Pipeline Is Ready to Explode

Nat Rubio-Licht
Nat Rubio-Licht is a freelance reporter with dot.LA. They previously worked at Protocol writing the Source Code newsletter and at the L.A. Business Journal covering tech and aerospace. They can be reached at
The Creator-To-Podcaster Pipeline Is Ready to Explode
Evan Xie

It’s no secret that men dominate the podcasting industry. Even as women continue to grow their foothold, men still make up many of the highest-earning podcasts, raking in massive paychecks from ad revenue and striking deals with streaming platforms worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

But a new demographic is changing that narrative: Gen-Z female influencers and content creators.

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NASA’s JPL Receives Billions to Begin Understanding Our Solar System

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

NASA’s JPL Receives Billions to Begin Understanding Our Solar System
Evan Xie

NASA’s footprint in California is growing as the agency prepares for Congress to approve its proposed 2024 budget.

The overall NASA budget swelled 6% from the prior year, JPL deputy director Larry James told dot.LA. He added he sees that as a continuation of the last two presidential administrations’ focus on modernizing and bolstering the nation’s space program.

The money goes largely to existing NASA centers in California, including the Pasadena-based Jet Propulsion Laboratory run with Caltech, Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley and Armstrong Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base.

California remains a hotspot for NASA space activity and investment. In 2021, the agency estimated its economic output impact on the region to be around $15.2 billion. That was far more than its closest competing states, including Texas ($9.3 billion) and Maryland (roughly $8 billion). That same year, NASA reported it employed over 66,000 people in California.

“In general, Congress has been very supportive” of the JPL and NASA’s missions, James said. “It’s generally bipartisan [and] supported by both sides of the aisle. In the last few years in general NASA has been able to have increased budgets.”

There are 41 current missions run by JPL and CalTech, and another 16 scheduled for the future. James added the new budget is “an incredible support for all the missions we want to do.”

The public-private partnership between NASA and local space companies continues to evolve, and the increased budget could be a boon for LA-based developers. Numerous contractors for NASA (including CalTech, which runs the JPL), Boeing, Lockheed Martin, SpaceX and Northrop Grumman all stand to gain new contracts once the budget is finalized, partly because NASA simply needs the private industry’s help to achieve all its goals.

James said that there was only one JPL mission that wasn’t funded – a mission to send an orbital satellite to survey the surface and interior of Venus, called VERITAS.

NASA Employment and Output ImpactEvan Xie

The Moon and Mars

Much of the money earmarked in the proposed 2024 budget is for crewed missions. Overall, NASA’s asking for $8 billion from Congress to fund lunar exploration missions. As part of this, the majority is earmarked for the upcoming Artemis mission, which aims to land a woman and person of color on the Moon’s south pole.

While there’s a number of high-profile missions the JPL is working on that are focused on Mars, including Mars Sample Return project (which received $949 million in this proposed budget) and Ingenuity helicopter and Perseverance rover, JPL also received significant funding to study the Earth’s climate and behavior.

JPL also got funding for several projects to map our universe. One is the SphereX Near Earth Objects surveyor mission, the goal of which is to use telescopes to “map the entire universe,” James said, adding that the mission was fully funded.

International Space Station

NASA’s also asking for more money to maintain the International Space Station (ISS), which houses a number of projects dedicated to better understanding the Earth’s climate and behavior.

The agency requested roughly $1.3 billion to maintain the ISS. It also is increasing its investment in space flight support, in-space transportation and commercial development of low-earth orbit (LEO). “The ISS is an incredible platform for us,” James said.

James added there are multiple missions outside or on board the ISS now taking data, including EMIT, which launched in July 2022. The EMIT mission studies arid dust sources on the planet using spectroscopy. It uses that data to remodel how mineral dust movement in North and South America might affect the Earth’s temperature changes.

Another ISS mission JPL launched is called ECOSTRESS. The mission sent a thermal radiometer onto the space station in June 2018 to monitor how plants lose water through their leaves, with the goal of figuring out how the terrestrial biosphere reacts to changes in water availability. James said the plan is to “tell you the kind of foliage health around the globe” from space.

One other ISS project is called Cold Atom Lab. It is “an incredible fundamental physics machine,” James said, that’s run by “three Nobel Prize winners as principal investigators on the Space Station.” Cold Atom Lab is a physics experiment geared toward figuring out how quantum phenomena behave in space by cooling atoms with lasers to just below absolute zero degrees.

In the long term, James was optimistic NASA’s imaging projects could lead to more dramatic discoveries. Surveying the makeup of planets’ atmospheres is a project “in the astrophysics domain we’re very excited about,” James said. He added that this imaging could lead to information about life on other planets, or, at the very least, an understanding of why they’re no longer habitable.