Ian Shepherd’s journey from a car enthusiast growing up in the UK to the co-founder of Electrify, a company that invests in and scales established YouTube channels, is nothing short of remarkable.
His passion for media and the evolving creator economy has led him to venture into unique territories, creating opportunities for content creators and shaping the future of media consumption.
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Small Town Roots and a Fascination for Engineering
Ian was born and raised in a small town in Kent, UK, where his early fascination with cars guided him toward studying engineering.
However, after spending a year in industry, he found himself drawn towards the buzz of the dotcom boom and realized that engineering as a job was not for him. This led to him shifting gears and heading towards a more commercial career.
From Student Madness to Strategy Consultant
During his final year at university, Ian dabbled in entrepreneurship with his venture, Student Madness, which promoted club nights in the local area. He successfully built an online audience and monetized it, which ignited his passion for commerce.
After completing his degree, he began his career as a strategy consultant for Deloitte. It was his time in the media industry that led him to a career working with media companies.
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An Exciting Stint with Media Giants and the Shift to Entrepreneurship
Ian has worked with some of the biggest media companies, including Disney, Warner Media, Universal Music, and British Telecommunication.
His role revolved around identifying and building new revenue streams across businesses. However, the slow pace of decision-making in such large organizations led him to explore the world of entrepreneurship.
Creating the Business of Influencers
Ian’s first venture into the creator economy was when he established ‘The Business of Influencers.’ It aimed to connect people involved in influencer marketing, from brands and agencies to content creators and their managers. This network gave Ian deep insights into the industry, the challenges faced by content creators, and the potential opportunities.
Launch of the Social Store and the Realization of the Power of Creators
Leveraging his experience and knowledge of the creator economy, Ian founded ‘The Social Store.’ The company worked with some of the biggest content creators in the UK, focusing on consumer products.
The store’s success and the impact that these creators had on their audiences made Ian realize the tremendous potential of content creators and the changing landscape of media consumption.
Birth of Electrify
Ian Shepherd’s newest venture, Electrify, is capitalizing on the burgeoning creator economy, focusing on the immense potential within established YouTube channels.
Co-founded with Owen and Justin, both seasoned in private equity, Electrify aims to invest in these channels, providing not just capital but strategic direction to help them scale.
Electrify operates by assessing the past performance and future potential of YouTube channels, valuing them based on their profitability, and then investing in these channels.
These investments are a combination of both debt and equity, an approach that has allowed them to raise over $50 million to date.
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But Electrify’s involvement goes beyond the purely financial. They aim to provide the necessary support these creators need to diversify their revenue streams, thereby de-risking the business from over-reliance on one platform.
By doing so, Electrify is not only helping individual creators grow, but they’re also contributing to the maturation of the creator economy as a whole.
As more platforms emerge and existing ones evolve to monetize content better, Electrify’s strategic approach sets a new precedent for investing in the future of content creation.
How Electrify Works
Electrify invests in YouTube channels and scales them up by diversifying and de-risking their business from the creators themselves.
They make money from the ad revenue generated by the channel, brand partnerships, distribution to other platforms, and other opportunities like courses, podcasts, and consumer products.
The Ideal Creator: Electrify’s Investment Criteria
When it comes to identifying the creators to invest in, Electrify has honed a meticulous approach to ensure they’re aligning with channels that have genuine potential for growth and profitability.
The ideal creators are not only those who have garnered significant audiences, but they are also savvy solopreneurs who have built profitable channels and are looking for ways to scale and diversify their businesses.
The first step in their due diligence process is analyzing the performance of the creator’s channel on YouTube. They utilize specialized tools and data science to determine the consistency of the channel’s performance over time, which provides insight into its sustainability.
If there are any anomalies in views or growth patterns, it could indicate potential issues, and they delve deeper to understand the root cause.
The second part of their evaluation process is understanding the financial health of the channel. This involves reviewing the profitability of the channel, including its revenue streams and costs.
Depending on the organization level of the creator, Electrify sometimes assists in collating an accurate picture of the business finances.
Ultimately, what they look for in creators goes
beyond just numbers. They are interested in partnering with creators who are passionate about their craft, understand the business aspect of being a content creator, and are open to new ideas and opportunities that will take their channel to the next level.
Electrify is ready to co-pilot this journey with creators, making the ride smoother and more profitable.
The Vision for Electrify
The vision for Electrify is to support creators to scale their businesses and monetize their channels beyond just YouTube AdSense revenue. The goal is to build global media properties around these channels and contribute to the growth of the creator economy.
Listen in to the full podcast episode to learn more about more, including:
- Ian’s journey from engineering student to media entrepreneur
- His experiences at large media companies and his shift to entrepreneurship
- The creation of The Social Store and Electrify
- How Electrify works and their approach to investing in content creators
- The future of Electrify and its impact on the creator economy