Dylan Duke, CEO and founder of Glewee, grew up in Southern California, spending most of his time in the ocean or behind his computer working on different online projects.
After he moved to Los Angeles, his interests shifted to building businesses focused around the entertainment industry. Originally through event promotions, he grew close to a number of influencers and quickly began collaborating with them on different social media opportunities.
Dylan shares, “After moving to Los Angeles, I worked with a variety of different influencers, different creators, different niches. I ended up living in an incubator-style content house in Hollywood. I became close friends with one of my roommates, who was a viral skateboarder taking over the internet at the time. I worked with him and his team almost daily, navigating the influencer marketing process from start to finish.”
Christian Brown, Chief Marketing Officer of Glewee, grew up in Massachusetts and was fascinated by social media, graphic design, photography, and fashion from a young age. He attended university in Chicago and studied advertising. In addition, Christian shares that he spent a lot of time in Los Angeles working on the management side of social media, which is where he connected with Dylan.
After graduating, Christian moved to Tampa, Florida with Dylan, where they began building the Glewee platform, an all-in-one influencer marketing network that helps brands and creators connect, create, and execute campaigns.
Christian adds, “We built the Glewee platform from the ground up, which is set to solve all the pain points identified [while working] those past years in the social media influencer marketing industry.”
Today, we speak with Dylan Duke and Christian Brown about Glewee’s recent $9 million seed funding.
Addressing Pain Points in the Creator Marketplace
Glewee is a multi-faceted platform that caters to brand, agency, and influencer users. Christian shares that many creators have trouble finding work and connecting with new brands that they resonate with. Unfortunately, when they do connect with brands, many managers or agencies also take a large percentage of the creator’s fee.
Christian notes, “A lot of time managers or agents are taking very high fees up to 30, 40, or even 50%. Creators in the space are struggling to monetize their following, and that’s where we saw the point of opportunity where we could actually go in and create a platform where brand deals are easily accessible for creators and allowed to be applied for with ease.”
He adds that this, along with future functionality set to be introduced by Glewee gives creators much more control over their social media career and monetization.
As for brands, Glewee saves brands time and money by reducing how much time they spend discovering creators online through its self-service all-in-one network.
Glewee also handles every aspect of the campaign process, so brands don’t have to worry about using several platforms to find creators, approve campaign content, pay creators, and much more. Everything is all-in-one on the Glewee platform
Closing $9 Million in Seed Funding
Glewee closed $9 million in seed funding, which was arranged and structured by Deuterium Capital Management, a boutique investment firm.
The Glewee team has a multitude of plans for this funding.
Dylan shares, “We’re going to be expanding our platforms’ potential and in terms of what features we can offer to both user types… For example, we’re enhancing our data capabilities, providing in-depth analytics on each creator’s audience. We’re going to add various e-commerce plugins for brands to connect their online stores, different integrations so we can track and attribute direct ROI to each of the campaigns that they launch.”
For creators, he adds, “We’re really focusing on building out our creator community. We want to enhance the user experience of our mobile application for both iOS and Android. We want to create a sense of community for all of our creators on the platform, an ability for them to interact with each other, a knowledge hub with tips and tricks, etc.”
When asked about the vision presented to investors, Dylan explained that he started by discussing their true purpose with building Glewee. They went over the many pain points they saw in the market, followed by the solution they provided.
He highlighted the importance of Glewee’s timing, how the whirlwind of TikTok’s explosive growth and the global pandemic created a surge of aspiring creators. The total market size of the creator economy was growing at an exponential rate and they planned to capitalize on it.
Christian shares, “From an economic standpoint, the global influencer market size has grown $14.7B in the past 6 years from $1.7B to $16.4B. If you look at social commerce on a global scale, social commerce is set to go to $2 trillion over the next three years.”
He adds that they shared this with investors and looked at Glewee’s ability to capitalize and help brands spend their creator marketing dollars more wisely.
Christian explains, “That allows for all of these brands to spend the millions and millions and millions of dollars with ease in a way that they feel comfortable about.”
The Creator Marketplace
Christian shares that he is excited to introduce more creator-to-creator interaction when asked about what they would like to see in the creator marketplace over the next few years,
“I think that the concept of creator-to-creator engagement on a humanized scale is drastically missing. If we look at Instagram’s introduction of Reels… The feeds themselves are just starting to promote the popular videos, and you’re starting to lose a lot of that actual user-to-user interaction.”
Christian adds that he wants to see social media be less about putting the most popular videos on stage and more about the everyday experience and finding creators you relate to, who may not necessarily be the most popular creators on the platform.
Dylan shares that he would like to see creators have access to a central hub to manage their personal brands with opportunities for different revenue streams, knowledge, networking, etc.
He notes, “We aim to create an all-inclusive ecosystem that doesn’t just box ourselves into the celebrity or top influencer realm. It truly encompasses everyone that wants to be a content creator.”
Future Plans & Closing Thoughts
Christian shares, “I think we’re pretty proud of the fact that since launching 10 months ago, we’ve had over 20,000 downloads from creators applying to our community. I think that’s very telling of where the space is at and how many creators are looking for new tools to enhance their ability to be the best creator they can be. I’m elated to share that we’re building tools specifically for creators that will expand their knowledge and offerings in the industry.
Glewee is working on fully redesigning its iOS and Android applications, focused on improving their capabilities and possibility of utilization for creators.
Dylan shares, “One of our upcoming goals that we’re excited about completing is significantly increasing our confidence in the success each collaboration will have. We plan on doing this using AI, specifically our recommendation engine that will make the right suggestions at the right time between our user types for optimal platform success. We’ve essentially been building a data warehouse where we gather insights on our creators and their audience to ensure that brands’ ability to reach their metrics of success is dramatically increased.”
He adds that Glewee will continue to focus heavily on pushing authenticity and transparency within their platform by helping creators collaborate with brands that share similar values, interests, and most importantly, audience. The more organic and genuine the partnership is, the more impactful the results become.