Patreon, a platform for creators to earn monetary support from fans, is busting out the checkbook. The startup isn’t playing VC quite yet with newly launched Patreon Capital, but they are hocking non-equity cash advances (loans!) for Patreon customers in need of some extra cash for big creative rollouts. Patreon has already made about a dozen of these micro-loans to creators, Hot Pod reports.
Patreon, which has raised $165 million, seems unlikely to massively overhaul its fee structure for its existing user base given the pushback, so its best option forward appears to be leveraging its customer network to sell auxiliary services. A lending arm makes a lot of sense.
For ambitious creators, it’s one more service to entice them to building out their subscriber network through Patreon. For Patreon, it could also be a way to hold onto successful creators that might be tempted to venture out on their own. Plenty of creator efforts aren’t ever going to be capable of delivering venture-sized returns, but these small entities can repay a loan — the issue is obviously landing one.
Patreon has access to data on up-and-comers that it likely feels is too good not to make use of. While betting on influencers likely isn’t worth the headaches for YouTube or Facebook, it’s easy to see why this might be an interesting proposition for startups that can support customers on their platform while also landing returns.
Terms appear to be structured around boosting revenue split fees for Patreon earn-outs, though we don’t know exactly what kind of returns Patreon is aiming to earn from these cash advances.
As Hot Pod reports:
Patreon provided the team with a cash advance of around $75,000 to cover the production budget for the series, with the expectation for Multitude to pay back a slightly greater sum from Next Stop’s Patreon earnings over the next two years. (Neither party disclosed the exact figure that Multitude needed to funnel back.) As a matter of risk mitigation, the Patreon revenues of another Multitude show, Join the Party, will be taken as collateral if Next Stop isn’t able to generate enough return to fully pay Patreon back after the two year period.