Stem, a platform that simplifies the tracking and collection of revenue for content creators, today announced $4.5M in funding led by Upfront Ventures. The round includes investments from notable institutional and angel investors including Mark Cuban, Vayner Capital, Ludlow Ventures, Allen DeBevoise, Shervin Pishevar, Jamie McCourt, Dimension 6 and Blockchain Capital. The investor group brings together strategic individuals from finance and entertainment such as Scooter Braun, Bradford Cobb and Three Six Zero Group, managers who collectively represent some of the world’s top recording artists including Justin Bieber, Kanye West, Katy Perry, Calvin Harris and Deadmau5.
With the democratization of content and the proliferation of digital distribution platforms, creators today have more options than ever before to distribute, market and monetize work which is generating more revenue than ever. Yet the ecosystem has insufficient technology and infrastructure to handle this volume and pace. Stem was built in recognition that content creators from musicians to comedians to vloggers, especially those who self distribute content – lack simple tools to track and collect revenue across a variety of platforms, nor a simple mechanism to generate payments and accounting statements to creative collaborators.
“We want to ensure a sustainable future for creators and are focused on building the tools they need to be smarter about their business,” said Milana Rabkin, Cofounder and CEO of Stem. In addition to Rabkin, Stem was cofounded by Tim Luckow and Jovin Cronin-Wilesmith.
Stem’s innovative solution – which boasts direct deals with digital service providers including Apple, Google, YouTube, SoundCloud and Spotify – streamlines multi-platform distribution, aggregates crossplatform earnings, automatically honors splits with collaborators through smart contracts, disburses accurate payments and statements to all stakeholders, and visualizes performance data for each platform. Stem aims to condition the industry to embrace backend payments on the web; with this technology, collaborators can agree to share earnings on the success of one piece of content and trust that they will be compensated without burdening an individual with having to manage the accounting and administration of revenue. As online content becomes more premium and longer-form, Stem can facilitate new in-success business models which previously were too arduous to implement.
“The Stem team has a unique set of skills that bring together top-notch technology with a deep understanding of a multi-billion dollar industry in the throes of disruption,” said Kara Nortman, partner at Upfront Ventures. “The team is relentlessly focused on building a simple experience for end users – creators, managers and artist-friendly distributors - that brings clarity to the creative class and gives them more time to create great entertainment.”
Stem is currently in invite-only beta, working with a number of influential key partners including artists such as Moxie Raia, currently opening for Justin Bieber’s Purpose World Tour; Grammyaward winning songwriter Anna Wise, who has collaborated extensively with Kendrick Lamar and is releasing her debut album; and Lexy Panterra, whose YouTube dance videos have caused tracks to trend worldwide and is currently working on original music herself. Stem also works with several collectives such as Soulection and Mixed Management (Baauer, RL Grime, WeDidIt).
Stem believes that getting paid for music and videos should be simple. Stem makes it easy for everyone involved in the creative process to receive their fair share of earnings and information in a clear and timely manner. Mo Money, No Problems.
The company was founded in 2015 and is based in Los Angeles, California.
About Upfront Ventures
Upfront Ventures is the largest and longest serving venture capital fund in Los Angeles having invested more than $1 billion since 1996 in companies such as Maker Studios, TrueCar and Overture. While Upfront is a national investment firm, it invests at least 50 percent of its capital in Southern California based technology companies from San Diego to Santa Barbara.