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Destream: The “Future Bank” For Content Creators With Its Own Financial Infrastructure

Fintech startup destream is enticing the creator economy by offering innovative financial services for content creators. Launched by Tachat Igityan in 2018, the company provides a comprehensive platform tailored to the unique needs of the creator economy. Its key features include personalized payment links, multiple payment methods, and a branded debit card.

The platform aims to simplify creators’ financial management, from receiving payments to withdrawing funds. Tachat, a digital marketing and fintech veteran, identified a gap in the market for creator-focused financial tools. He notes that traditional banks often struggle to accommodate content creators’ unconventional income streams. Despite facing challenges in educating users and complying with international regulations, destream is committed to bridging the gap between traditional finance and the creator economy.

destream: Minimal Platform with Maximum Impact

Tachat brings a wealth of experience to the venture, having founded his first web studio in 2008. Before destream, he assisted banks in digitalizing their services, gaining insight into the financial sector’s limitations. This background proved instrumental in identifying a gap in the market. 

“In 2019, I saw an opportunity because there are not so many projects focusing on the payment side,” Tachat explains. He notes that traditional banking systems need help to accommodate the unique needs of content creators, particularly when it comes to international transactions and explaining income sources.

destream’s purpose is to eliminate this divide. “We want to become a minimal platform. We know how to communicate with the banks, and also [we’re] building our products, which have banking product[s] like our banking card,” Tachat states. The goal is to provide a seamless financial ecosystem for creators, from receiving payments to withdrawing funds and spending.

Tachat envisions destream as more than a payment processor. “The financial part, just leave it on us. You do your job, make good content, and we’ll be happy,” he says, explaining how the platform alleviates creators’ financial headaches.

Global Reach and Unique Positioning

Operating globally, destream serves creators from diverse regions, including Latin America, Europe, CIS countries, and Asia. Tachat emphasizes the company’s unique focus on finance and fintech, setting it apart from competitors, primarily concentrating on user interface elements.

“There is no financial platform for content creators. That’s our killer feature,” the founder states, explaining that unlike competitors relying on third-party payment processors like PayPal or Stripe, destream has built its financial infrastructure. It allows the company to handle complex financial issues that creators often face, such as explaining income sources to traditional banks.

4 Key Features for Creator Finance

destream offers several tools designed to simplify financial management for content creators:

  1. Payment Links: Creators can generate personalized payment links in two clicks, facilitating easy tipping and payments from viewers across various platforms.
  2. Multiple Payment Methods: The platform supports diverse payment options, including credit cards, Apple Pay, and cryptocurrencies.
  3. Flexible Withdrawals: Users can instantly transfer funds to their existing Visa or MasterCard or opt for bank transfers.
  4. Destream Banking Card: A digital card connected to Apple Pay or Android Pay, allowing immediate access to funds.

Tachat explains the convenience of their banking card: “You just need to register and move money directly to it. If you stick with Apple Pay, you move money in a second to the card and can use [it] again immediately to get paid everywhere.”

By focusing on the financial aspects of content creation, destream positions itself as a complementary service to existing platforms. “You can use our competitor as tools for which you need it,” Tachat says, “but at the same time, you can use us as a link for your money.”

Building Trust Within the Industry

destream’s entry into the creator economy finance space has been marked by a focus on trust-building and innovation. Tachat acknowledges the challenge of earning trust when handling client money. “When working with money, you always need to earn trust because you touch the client’s money,” he explains.

To establish credibility, destream leveraged connections with well-known content creators who began using the platform. This helped the platform build confidence among other creators and encouraged them to try its services.

The company has also demonstrated a commitment to user feedback, quickly implementing new features based on creator suggestions. “We have been trying to implement as many new features as possible,” notes Tachat.

destream has pushed boundaries by blending online and offline experiences. At Gamescom 2019, they showcased an IoT-enabled confetti machine that activated when streamers received large tips. At this year’s TwitchCon in Rotterdam, destream debuted long sleeves with integrated NFC technology for easy tipping. “If you want to tip, you just need to tap the phone, and you can just tip,” Tachat explains.

Launching the destream Debit Card: Challenges and Insights

destream’s journey to launch its branded debit card for content creators was not without complexities and hurdles. Tachat reveals that despite their fintech experience, the process took considerably longer than anticipated.

“Even for us, having the experience in fintech, it took a lot of time to make it happen,” he explains. The primary challenge was navigating the bureaucracy of large financial institutions like MasterCard. “You have to pass the approval in different levels,” he notes, describing a process involving local and global MasterCard approvals.

The company had to conduct extensive market research to justify the need for a content creator-specific card. “We did a lot of research for them to show why we need that,” Tachat says.

Key learnings from the pilot phase led destream to prioritize simplicity in its card app. “People want a very light version of the application,” Tachat observes. This insight guided them to create a streamlined app focused on essential functions—viewing balances, transactions, and card details—rather than offering a multitude of services.

Bridging the Gap Between Creators and Traditional Finance

Tachat emphasizes the need for financial institutions to recognize content creation as a legitimate profession.”Content creation is a profession,” he states. However, the entrepreneur points out a significant issue: “One of the main problems globally is that the content creators have no one to get a loan because the bank is unemployed.”

This disconnect stems from the unconventional nature of creator income. Tachat explains, “Even if you make less than $50,000 or $100,000 per month, then in your statement, the bank will see that it’s a transfer from YouTube. The question will be, are you an employee of Google?” According to him, the issue must be solved for the industry to progress.

Impact on Content Quality and Industry Growth

Tachat notes that improved financial stability for creators has led to higher-quality content. “After the market starts growing and the big brands and advertisers start also paying for the advertisement or the content creators, you can also see that the quality of content is increased,” he observes.

This financial support enables creators to invest in better equipment and production values, driving industry growth. “Having the possibility to get as much as possible to get the monetization and everything. This helps the market grow and improve quality,” concludes Tachat. 

destream’s Vision: Simplifying Finance for Creators and Brands

Tachat outlines the company’s ambitious plans to revamp financial services for content creators. As the platform expands globally, the CFO acknowledges several challenges and opportunities.

Educating Users and Navigating Regulations

One of destream’s primary challenges is educating users about the nature of their debit cards. “The main challenging thing is explaining that this card is not real. It is not a bank,” Tachat states. He emphasizes that the card is specifically designed for monetization earnings and audience support, not as a replacement for traditional banking services.

destream also grapples with varying international regulations and user expectations. Tachat notes, “Sometimes there are some countries or documents or whatever we cannot accept by law.” The company aims to be a “translator from official banking language or official government language to a normal language” to help users understand necessary compliance measures.

Future Goals

The fintech veteran reveals that destream has set ambitious milestones:

  1. Comprehensive Payment Integration: “We will accumulate as many classical payment methods as possible, such as payment, a fintech company, and other fintech banks or whatever we have in one place,” Tachat explains.
  2. Simplifying Crypto Transactions: The platform plans to make crypto payments accessible without requiring users to have specialized knowledge or wallets.
  3. Moving Towards a Modern Banking Model: While not aiming to become a traditional bank, destream aspires to offer “classical financial instruments, what the banks are providing, but in a modern way, in a way which is understandable for creators and the new economies.”

Tachat summarizes the company’s mission as “Simplifying the world and building a new financial world.” By focusing on user-friendly solutions tailored to the creator economy, destream stands as a junction between traditional finance and the unique needs of content creators.

Cecilia Carloni, Interview Manager at Influence Weekly and writer for NetInfluencer. Coming from beautiful Argentina, Ceci has spent years chatting with big names in the influencer world, making friends and learning insider info along the way. When she’s not deep in interviews or writing, she's enjoying life with her two daughters. Ceci’s stories give a peek behind the curtain of influencer life, sharing the real and interesting tales from her many conversations with movers and shakers in the space.

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