Curastory

Early Stage

The first marketplace connecting video content to media buyers

Analytics

Raised to Date: Raised: $535,000

Aggregate Commitments $

Platform

Republic

Start Date

08/18/2021

Close Date

01/28/2022

Min. Goal

$25,000

Max. Goal

$535,000

Min. Investment

$250

Security Type

SAFE

Funding Type

RegCF

Series

Seed

Valuation Cap

$9,000,000

Discount Rate

0%

Rolling Commitments $

Status
Funded
Reporting Date

01/31/2022

Days Remaining
Funded
% of Min. Goal

2,140%

% of Max. Goal

100%

Likelihood of Max
Funded
Avg. Daily Raise

$3,282

Momentum
Funded
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Location

Brooklyn, New York

Industry

Media, Entertainment & Publishing

Tech Sector

AdTech

Distribution Model

B2B/B2C

Margin

Medium

Capital Intensity

Low

Business Type

High Growth

Curastory, with a valuation of $9 million, is raising funds on Republic. It is the first marketplace that is connecting video content to media buyers. The Curastory platform allows creators to monetize their video content by uploading their video content on the platform and generating a listing for media buyers to browse and place a bid on. Curastory generated $85,000 in gross revenue over three months from February to May 2021. The current crowdfunding campaign has a minimum target of $25,000 and a maximum target of $379,437. The campaign proceeds will be used to build new features and a mobile app and scale the team to service more than 3,000 users.

Summary Profit and Loss Statement

Most Recent Year Prior Year

Revenue

$15,000

$0

COGS

$0

$0

Tax

$709

$0

 

 

Net Income

$-154,103

$-12,564

Summary Balance Sheet

Most Recent Year Prior Year

Cash

$9,891

$667

Accounts Receivable

$0

$0

Total Assets

$90,498

$667

Short-Term Debt

$80,318

$10,463

Long-Term Debt

$157,563

$0

Total Liabilities

$237,881

$10,463

Financials as of: 08/18/2021
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Raise History

Offering Name Close Date Platform Valuation/Cap Total Raised Security Type Status Reg Type
Curastory 01/28/2022 Republic $9,000,000 $535,000 SAFE Funded RegCF
Curastory 07/22/2020 Wefunder $6,000,000 $157,863 SAFE Funded RegCF
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Ratings KingsCrowd Startup Rating Methodology Article

Analyst Report Analyst Report Methodology Article

Synopsis

YouTube brings in a whopping 2.3 billion monthly active users. For advertisers, those users represent a gigantic marketing opportunity. As the creator economy continues to mature, brands are realizing that YouTube stars and other creators and influencers can be an extremely valuable mouthpiece for their products. YouTube creators are four times more effective at building brand familiarity than celebrities. And this trend is only continuing to build in younger generations. About 70% of teens value the opinion of influencers more than those of celebrities. Given how valuable influencer endorsements can be for a brand — and high skip rates on video ads that limit brands’ ability to generate meaningful content on their own — more brands are looking to produce content in partnership with creators. 

That’s where Curastory comes in. Curastory aims to provide both brands and creators with the best opportunity to co-create. The company’s two-sided marketplace matches video content creators with brands to create native brand shoutouts that are embedded directly within creators’ videos — no pre-video ads required. Curastory believes that these partnerships are the future of creator monetization and brand marketing. Venture capital firms Lightspeed Venture Partners, Techstars, and The W fund have backed the Curastory vision. 

Curastory’s current Republic raise has been rated a Deal to Watch by the KingsCrowd investment team.

Price

Curastory is raising a Crowd SAFE at a $9 million valuation with no discount. Curastory previously closed a crowdfunding round in July 2020 at a $6 million valuation. When compared with that valuation from last year, Curastory seems to have increased its price fairly given recent user traction. However, Curastory is still a bit overvalued. The company has generated only $85,000 in gross sales (paid by brands) over the last three months and only captures 30% of that value as real revenue. That represents a very high revenue multiple for a company without significant proprietary technology or traction. As a result, Curastory’s price rating is below average.

Market

Curastory ultimately hopes to grow to serve creators and brands across all industries. For now, though, Curastory is focused on building domain ownership within the niche of sports and fitness creators. It’s difficult to determine the precise value of that segment of the broader global digital video advertising market, which was valued at $19.7 billion in 2019 and expected to grow at a 41.1% compound annual growth rate through 2027. Given that Curastory is focused on US creators within sports and fitness, it’s fair to assume that its addressable market is conservatively a small percentage of that global total for an addressable market of roughly $300 million to $600 million. On top of that, Curastory only captures 30% of that topline ad spend for revenues of $90 million to $180 million. 

Curastory will continue to capture a tiny fraction of that addressable market size in coming years. There are many other ways for brands to spend money on video ads. But Curastory benefits from the recent NCAA ruling that college athletes can profit off of their name and likeness. Brands see these newly eligible content creators as a huge opportunity, and the market for this group of students could top $1 billion within a year or two. Curastory has even been linked explicitly to this opportunity in news articles

While Curastory is a young company competing with a variety of other businesses and advertising models in this industry, there are positive tailwinds that suggest that Curastory occupies a growing market that many brands are looking to capitalize on. Therefore, Curastory’s market rating is higher than average.

Team

Curastory founder and CEO Tiffany Kelly graduated with a BS in sports and recreation management from Nova Southeastern University before joining ESPN as a sports analytics associate. After a year and eight months at ESPN, Kelly quit her job to launch Curastory. Kelly has a numbers and data background, having written a mathematics thesis during undergrad and served as a data instructor at General Assembly. 

The Curastory management team also includes CTO Shane Austrie. Austrie holds a BS in computer science from Georgia Tech and has served in a variety of engineering and machine learning internships and contract roles at  UPS, PayPal, Yelp, and Reddit. Austrie also works as a consultant on advertising technology for machine learning and data science for companies looking to improve user engagement with ads. 

Head of Customer Success Lilliana Antequera rounds out the Curastory team. She has more than 10 years of experience as a marketer for a number of brands, ranging from beauty to sports to software as a service. 

The Curastory team is relatively young and doesn’t have a great deal of experience with entrepreneurship or startup management. However, each team member contributes an important set of skills that are highly relevant to Curastory. Kelly has a background in sports and the technical side of the Curastory platform. Austrie is an engineer, and Antequera can empathize with Curastory brand customers and help them maximize their ad spend. Given those complementary backgrounds, Curastory’s team score is higher than average.

Differentiators

On the surface, Curastory is competing against a number of other platforms matching brands with creators and helping creators make videos. For example, Insense (another crowdfunded company) also helps brands generate native influencer video content. However, Curastory’s differentiators lie in the details. For one, Curastory aims to be an all-in-one platform for creators. This means that users can create and edit videos, receive brand ad bids, and take videos live all within one platform. Curastory is also different from most brand and influencer matching services in that creators begin by uploading a video and receiving advertising bids on that video, rather than brands making the first move of creating a brief that creators subsequently create a video around. As a result, ads are placed more intuitively within a pre-existing video that aligns with the creator’s personal brand, which means creators don’t need to sacrifice the quality of their content to make it fit a marketing angle. 

However, defensibility is an issue for Curastory. The company’s technology platform doesn’t seem incredibly robust, and without an in-house engineering team, it might be difficult to scale the tech quickly enough to outpace any other companies that see a similar opportunity. 

Curastory isn’t going so far as to completely disrupt the video advertising industry, but it does offer a tool that provides some advantages for creators over similar brand and influencer marketplaces. As a result, Curastory’s differentiation rating is higher than average.

Performance

Curastory has been pre-vetted by top venture capital firms like Lightspeed Venture Partners and Techstars. Their commitments to Cursatory’s current seed round are a strong signal that reputable investors subscribe to Curastory’s vision of creator and brand video partnerships. 

In addition to outside funding, Curastory has shown some traction in gaining users and revenue. Curastory has more than 1,000 users and boasts an 82% retention rate so far among signups. Creators are reportedly generating an average of $5,000 per video on Curastory. The company has brought in $85,000 in gross revenue over the last three months, though it only takes home 30% of that revenue (the remainder is paid to creators). 

Curastory seems primed to continue expanding its user base given its partnerships with major entities like the National Basketball Players Association. Curastory has also been publicly linked to the NCAA’s recent move to allow student athletes to profit from their name and likeness, which represents a significant opportunity in coming months and years. 

Curastory is still an early-stage business that hasn’t yet exploded in popularity. However, traction is solid, and there are strong signals of success to come in the future. Therefore, Curastory’s performance rating is higher than average.

Risks

Curastory is a less risky investment than the average crowdfunding opportunity, given that major venture capitalists have backed the company and it has demonstrated decent traction. However, there are a few areas of risk that investors should consider. First, Curastory’s team is relatively young and inexperienced, and the company lacks senior engineering talent. Curastory also has yet to generate a significant amount of revenue. That causes related risks of product and time. Without more capital and a dedicated engineering team, it might take a long time for Curastory to develop into a sophisticated creator hub.

Bearish Outlook

Curastory is operating in a fast-growing industry and has some key competitive advantages. However, Curastory is offering only marginal improvement over existing methods of creator and brand partnerships. Most importantly, brands and creators can always partner organically or with the help of any number of agencies that help facilitate those connections. These relationships take time to cement, and not every creator has the network to pull them off. Still, there’s no inherent need for a tech platform to facilitate these partnerships. Even assuming that both creators and brands require a dedicated marketplace to connect, there are several other companies providing that service. They offer slightly different features than Curastory and perhaps cater to brands more than to creators, but ultimately accomplish similar aims. It seems that Curastory’s biggest risk is simply becoming irrelevant given the other avenues that creators and brands can leverage to team up for video content.

Bullish Outlook

Curastory is a well-conceived, venture-backed tech company that has several markers of a successful startup. The company’s brand is professional and attuned to the needs of its target audience. It’s addressing a high-growth industry (video advertising) and catering to a specific niche in sports and fitness that is experiencing rapid growth given the new wave of student athlete creators. Curastory has been backed by Lightspeed Venture Partners, Techstars, and The W Fund, venture capital firms who have collectively backed many leading companies related to the advertising technology industry and creator economy. 

At its core, the Curastory product simply makes sense for creators. It has lower fees than other platforms. The company offers a variety of tools to not only generate brand partnerships but also to create, edit, and publish videos. It also gives creators a more intuitive way to partner with advertisers after creating their content organically. By building a large network of leading creators in sports and fitness (including NBA and NCAA athletes, which the company has unique access to), Curastory can easily compel advertisers to join the other side of the marketplace and begin paying for content. Given the strong premise of the company’s business model and the traction it has demonstrated thus far, Curastory seems primed for future success.

Executive Summary

Curastory is an advertising technology and creator economy company building a platform to help video creators (influencers) partner with brands to create native video ads embedded within their content. Curastory is backed by Lightspeed Venture Partners and Techstars and boasts partnerships with the National Basketball Players Association and brands like Beyond Meat. The company has an impressive 82% retention rate among its users, and its creator-first approach sets it apart from its competitors. Curastory has already proven the initial viability of its business model. 

Investors should note that Curastory is competing against a number of other companies looking to capitalize on the emerging need for brands to partner directly with content creators. Influencers and brands already have a number of methods to connect with each other to create content. However, Curastory has competitive advantages in terms of venture capitalist backing, existing creator partnerships, and a unique focus on sports and fitness content. Therefore, Curastory has been rated a Deal to Watch. 

For questions regarding the KingsCrowd staff pick or ratings for this company, please reach out to support@kingscrowd.com

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Curastory on Republic 2021
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Platform: Republic
Security Type: SAFE
Valuation: $9,000,000
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