Y Combinator-Backed FanHero Helps YouTubers Sell Branded Merch To Their Fans

There are a lot of new YouTube stars out there, dudes who have a bunch of subscribers to their channels, watching their videos and whatnot. But sometimes it’s tough to make a ton of money from YouTube. I mean, advertising isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be, and then you share some revenue with YouTube and the next thing you know there’s not that much left.

They’ve got a lot going for them. I mean, it’s cheaper than ever to buy a camera and get started and edit your stuff together and, man, there are a ton of people on YouTube. But they just wish they could make a little more money, you know. It’s hard out there being a YouTube creator.

I mean, you’ve just gotta keep churning out the videos. You know, feed the beast.

So anyway, there’s this company called FanHero. It’s all about helping those YouTube guys make money in, like, non-advertising ways. Giving the community ways to support them through commerce — you know, selling stuff. It’s like the classic merch model, like how you go to your favorite band’s show and you buy a t-shirt or a CD.

But with this you don’t have to go anywhere. You’re just on the Internet and then — BOOM — you can buy their t-shirt right there. Oh yeah, and you can pay what you want. Like, it gives you a suggested amount to pay for a t-shirt or a poster, and it tells you how much your favorite YouTuber gets from that.

So let’s say a t-shirt costs $13 and it suggests you pay $23. I mean, you don’t have to, you can pay less. Maybe you’re waiting for your paycheck from Hot Topic and you’re short on money this week. You can pay $15, NBD. Just remember to pay more next time, you know, so these guys get SOME MONEY. I mean, what kind of fan are you, anyway?


Oh yeah, there’s also a leaderboard and a place to show who’s buying the most stuff, not to show off or anything just to show everyone how awesome the community members are, and like, a list of who’s going above and beyond. Like that dude who paid $50 for a $13 t-shirt. That’s a whole $30-some dollars, I guess almost $40, that went to that YouTube guy. Every little bit helps, man. Every little bit.

Anyway, if you’re on YouTube and have a bunch of fans, it’s really easy to set up. Just make an account and upload an image and FanHero will put it on stuff. Posters, t-shirts, iPhone cases. You know the drill. And then you tell your millions of subscribers about it and they buy your stuff and you get a check, as long as you’ve made $100 or more that month.

It’s that easy. Maybe you don’t have time to make a new video this week, but hopefully this’ll give you a little spending money in the meantime, I mean, until you can upload something new and get those views up.

The guys behind FanHero are these Stanford CS undergrads Kevin Xu and Charlie Guo, who like, grew up on YouTube idolizing YouTubers. These guys don’t remember a time when the world’s biggest stars weren’t on it. They’re in Y Combinator now because that’s where all the cool kids go to learn about the Internet and monetizing and stuff.

For now, FanHero is letting creators keep all the money from the sales of stuff on the site, while it’s in beta and testing stuff out or whatever. After September they’ll cut that down to 75 percent because, you know, they should get paid, too.