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How Influencers Dodged the Destruction in Creator Startups

Even as the outlook for startups that serve influencers becomes increasingly bleak, the most important part of the creator economy—creators themselves—is holding up surprisingly well. Its continued growth could shift the balance of power in advertising.

Clockwise from left, creators Katerina and Yinon Horowitz, Jack Settleman, Ross Pomerantz, Raven Ross and Komal Nambiar. Art by Clark Miller
Clockwise from left, creators Katerina and Yinon Horowitz, Jack Settleman, Ross Pomerantz, Raven Ross and Komal Nambiar. Art by Clark Miller
Aug. 28, 2023 6:00 AM PDT

Times are grim for startups that sell products and services to creators. Some are folding, while others can’t pivot their businesses away from the creator economy fast enough. The creators themselves, however, are proving to be far more resilient.

Consider Katerina and Yinon Horowitz, a couple who quit their full-time jobs four years ago to finance their world travels through their blog and Instagram account. When the pandemic torpedoed the advertising deals with hotels and other sponsors that were supporting them, the Horowitzes shifted gears to create short videos about their family life and new home in South Florida.

A possible new threat arrived last year as fears about the economy spooked many advertisers, but it was a false alarm for the Horowitzes. The couple has seen their income from advertising more than quadruple over the past two years, and brands are still banging on their door. Rheem, a maker of air conditioners, recently signed a long-term sponsorship deal with them.

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