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Former Employees Spill: The Truth About Jellysmack’s Failed $500M Creator Buyout Plan

Creator economy startup Jellysmack has sold its JellyFi catalog licensing business unit to Copyright Capital, spokespeople from both companies confirmed for Business Insider. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

JellyFi was an investment arm that Jellysmack launched in early 2022, setting aside $500 million to pay creators upfront for the rights to future ad revenue from their content. However, the business faced challenges in convincing top influencers to hand over their valuable YouTube channels.

Two other former Jellysmack employees told Business Insider that creators were reluctant to “rock the boat” on their YouTube revenue streams. The employees said Jellysmack’s offers were often less lucrative than those of competitor Spotter.

“One of the things Jellysmack found out really quickly is that creators do not want to do anything to rock the boat on their YouTube revenue,” said one former staffer, who requested anonymity.

The Jellysmack spokesperson told BI the company was prudent with offers based on profitability projections. They said JellyFi generated revenue but was deprioritized as other initiatives proved more profitable.

Originally founded as Keli Network in 2016, Jellysmack gained prominence by helping top YouTubers like MrBeast and PewDiePie post content across platforms. After a $500 million SoftBank investment in 2021, it explored new business lines beyond its core multi-platform distribution model.

In addition to JellyFi, these included a production arm called JellySmash Productions, an AI assistant named Jelly X, and the acquisitions of content businesses like Network Media LLC and The Law&Crime Network.

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David Adler is an entrepreneur and freelance blog post writer who enjoys writing about business, entrepreneurship, travel and the influencer marketing space.

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