Charli D’Amelio is the most-followed and highest-earning creator on TikTok, but the 17-year-old superstar and her family are now looking beyond their short-term riches from short-form video. Today, the D’Amelio family announced a partnership with Lightricks, the company that makes photo and video-editing apps like Facetune, Videoleap and other tools, which have over 500 million downloads combined.
The D’Amelios — Charli, her fellow TikTok star sister Dixie, and parents Marc and Heidi — are taking an equity stake in the company and joining as strategic advisors. Lightricks declined to share how much the family invested, but confirmed that the D’Amelio family’s investment was separate from the company’s recent $130 million Series D raise. In addition to their financial contribution, the family will write exclusive content on an editorial offering called The247.
Alongside the announcement of their partnership with the D’Amelio family, Lightricks is unveiling its LinkInBio service to compete with other “link in bio” platforms like Linktree, Beacons, Snipfeed and more. Lightricks’ LinkInBio is free to use and customizable, allowing creators to add links to social profiles, other websites and, importantly, a tip jar powered by Stripe. Still, competitor “link in bio” platforms offer more sophisticated monetization options — Snipfeed, for example, supports selling digital goods, like personalized, asynchronous tarot readings. But the trade-off is that these more elevated platforms often charge a subscription fee, or take a cut from sales.
“The [D’Amelio] family are trailblazing the creator economy and continue to inspire up-and-coming creators worldwide.” said Zeev Farbman, co-founder and CEO of Lightricks, in a press release. “It will be a pleasure to have the family so involved in every step of the development process.”
Per data from Crunchbase, this is the D’Amelio family’s first startup investment as a collective. But Charli D’Amelio herself invested in Step, a teen banking service, as part of their $100 million Series C raise last year. It’s not uncommon for celebrities to try to grow their wealth through startup investments (think about Ashton Kutcher, The Chainsmokers, Jessica Alba…), but the D’Amelios are charting new territory as influencers-turned-investors.
“We are passionate about the start-up space and love meeting entrepreneurs and new companies. We plan on making several investments in the future and supporting companies we believe make great products and services,” the D’Amelio family told TechCrunch in an emailed statement.
TikTok creators might have more concerns about the longevity of their stardom than a star athlete like Serena Williams, or a Hollywood actor like Ryan Reynolds. With support from father Marc D’Amelio, a former Republican candidate for the Connecticut state senate, and mother Heidi D’Amelio, a former model, Charli and Dixie have already grown their profile by launching a variety of business ventures, like a Hollister clothing line, a ring light company and even a Hulu reality show.
But like “Hype House,” which also chronicles the struggles (yes, struggles) of teen millionaires, “The D’Amelio Show” emphasizes how the sisters try to navigate the adverse mental health affects of constant online attention. This partnership with Lightricks may seem like a questionable choice, given how the company’s flagship app Facetune has been thought to contribute to body image issues, since it’s often used as a retouching tool. The negative influence of social media on teen mental health has been a hot-button issue lately, but beyond Facetune, Lightricks tools are often used to simply make video editing easier. Just yesterday, Charli D’Amelio posted selfies that blatantly show her (very normal!) teenage acne, so hey. Retouching tools will always exist, and they’re not inherently nefarious, but it’s how (and when) we use them that matters.