Kaunas technology developers are launching a new start-up, which will challenge such world-famous creators’ support platforms as Patreon. Contribee, designed for content creators, promises more functionality, lower fees, the possibility to interact more closely with your fan community, and a choice of customized functions.
One of the founders of the startup, Adrijus Jakučionis, has been sharing his videos on YouTube since his early childhood, and has also earned a living as a freelance programmer. He quickly noticed that the Lithuanian market is too small to earn more money on the YouTube platform, and the crowdfunding platform for creators currently existing on the market are expensive and inconvenient in terms of both their legal and tax base. That’s when the idea was born, using a talented team, to create a unique tool for bloggers, video game broadcasters, artists, writers, and anyone looking to turn their hobby into a livelihood. This is how Contribee came into being – a start-up that promises to solve all the above-mentioned problems by offering a more functional and financially favorable solution.
It will outperform competitors with localized solutions
Contribee is a platform that allows developers to interact more closely with their fan community, collect monthly or one-off support, and earn a steady income. While alternative platforms are not a novelty in the market, startup developers say that with the growing number of creators on the internet and an increasing demand in the market, it is necessary to create a greater choice of platforms.
The main competitor of the start-up is the American company Patreon, which until now was often chosen by Lithuanian celebrities and their large group of followers. “The branches of the main competitors are located in the USA, so the legal framework and part of the functionality is adapted to this region. Through constant communication with the developers, we listened to how and why the services offered by the previous platforms did not meet the needs of all users and decided to correct these shortcomings by creating Contribee,” says Mantas Michalauskas, Communications Manager and one of the founders of the startup.
According to Mantas Michalauskas, the main features of the new startup are tailor-made functions and no collection fees for developers. For these reasons, the Contribee platform can become a very attractive fundraising tool for non-profit businesses — public institutions and organizations, as well as various fundraisings. Compared to other platforms, creators who will be using Contribee will be able to earn up to 30% more revenue each month. In addition, consumers, i.e. creators and fans, will have more innovative solutions, such as one-off support, pay-per-entry, instant cash payments, an integrated personal developer e-shop, a wide selection of installments and payment methods, a content search and referral tool, and many more pleasantly surprising functions.
The experience helps to avoid mistakes
Interestingly, the team behind Contribee are not newcomers to the startup ecosystem but old-timers, who are well-versed in the market. The mentors from Kaunas Startup accelerator helped the guys to improve the idea of the platform and the fateful acquaintance inspired the determination to turn the idea into a startup. One of the members of the Contribee team- Gediminas Ratkevičius – is the founder of the automated 24/7 remote identity verification B2B service, better known in the market as iDentify, which was launched in Kaunas three years ago.
When asked what motivates him to move forward and create new products, he says that the biggest incentive comes from dynamic market trends and the new opportunities that come with it. “We notice problems that can be solved. In this case, we focused on the growing number of young people or even children who want to work for themselves, create and earn from their main hobby, rather choosing limited platforms from the current supply. This market opportunity, which will be relevant for young and future generations, fascinated our team.” In 2019, iDenfy won the Kaunas Growing Business Awards in Kaunas Startup category; the company also won this year’s Fintech Lithuanian Startup Award.
When asked about the knowledge that comes with the launching of a startup, team members claim that it is impossible to list all the lessons learned. Each step is followed by a discussion to decide what actions should be taken while forming a team and while planning to attract investment or international audience.
“The most common problem that most startups face at the beginning of their journey is the lack of initial capital. Money is needed for lawyers, accounting, programming, marketing, employee retention, till the first income or first investment. At this point, our experience allows us to avoid big mistakes and use the existing contacts, first of all, to assemble a highly competent team. Currently, it has 6 specialists with experience both in their own startups and working in well-known global companies, such as Uber or Google,” M. Michalauskas says.
Startup creators are well aware that, in most cases, good salaries alone are not enough to attract highly competent employees, therefore, one of the main motivators are the shares of the company they work for. Currently, all members of the Contribee team are also shareholders of the company, so they are highly motivated and are working without remuneration. The company has already decided to allocate a certain portion of shares for the future employees.
Presently, the main goal of the startup team is to rapidly increase the number of users of the platform, especially creators. This growth will be the most important criterion to show future investors that Contribee is addressing important market issues and is beneficial and necessary for developers.