About Phil Ranta
Phil Ranta began his career in digital content in 2006 when he sold his comedy show to Turner’s broadband channel, SuperDeluxe.com, and acted as director, producer, and editor for the series. This opportunity led him to see what digital media could be. Over the years, he pursued different avenues within the space, including cell phone media pre-smartphone and becoming the Chief Operating Officer at Studio 71.
Eventually, he joined Wormhole, a metaverse startup that he has spent the last few years at as Chief Executive Officer, before joining We Are Verified as their Chief Operating Officer. We Are Verified is a digital talent management company designed to help creators build stable businesses around their content.
Phil shares, “It’s really about building businesses around creators. So, where my interest lies as an entrepreneur. That’s where I’ve spent most of my time, so now that we’re seeing creator investments and Web3 starting to really explode and people expanding their content mix in new and exciting ways.”
He adds that We Are Verified helps creators optimize their content in new ways and take advantage of the new chapters and aspects of the creator economy, such as Web3.
How Web3 Will Disrupt The Creator Economy
Phil shares that one of the most thrilling things about Web3 is not knowing exactly how it will change the creator economy. However, he’s excited to see a lot of new talent and investments in the space.
“We saw Web3 last year be about speculation and how do I buy this and then sell it for more money. It was essentially like a little stock market, but with pictures of monkeys… Now, we’re starting to see it reach its potential, which is how does this become about owning important digital assets that are meaningful to own, that can evolve, that carries with it metadata.”
He adds that he believes we will see disruptions in other industries, such as real estate and medical, with Web3.
“It’s going to be about the true ownership of community, right? People who are building audiences on Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok. They don’t own those communities, right?”
Creators on social media platforms may own their branding and content, but they can be kicked off of the platform anytime and don’t truly own their community. Web3 provides different outlets for creators to connect and own their community.
“It’s good to look at it [Web3] kind of like a little bit of crowdfunding, a little bit of Patreon, a little bit of content accessibility.”
As Web3 becomes more common, Phil explains that he’s excited to see what digital identities and creator businesses can do with these new elements.
“What I’m trying to do to a lot of creators is educate them on what the metaverse will look like, what digital identity is going to look like, what digital fashion is going to look like, what token gating is, how this can be easy.”
He adds, “It’s all the very boring stuff for creators that gets me up in the morning and gets me revved. So, getting them [creators] introduced into these worlds and ecosystems is interesting, and if Web3’s not right [for them], then great. Do you want to make a fashion line? Maybe we start going through that. Let’s put together an investment deck.”
Phil shares that he is excited about the potential creators have with Web3 because they already have substantial built-in marketing potential with their audience, which many business founders don’t have. This advantage can give them a shortcut to becoming the next big company.
Creator Success Stories
One of We Are Verified’s biggest success stories is twins Lauren and Julia Burch, who started the brand Gloom-E-Girl. Lauren and Julia are fashion icons in the e-girl and gaming space, with over 10 million followers on TikTok cumulatively.
Phil shares, “They’re starting to bring on a lot of their friends who also share their values and share their style. Lots of collaborations, and they’re all growing really quickly as a factor of them collaborating a lot. They just launched a merchandise side of their business. They already have an NFT side.”
He adds that the We Are Verified team is continuing to help them expand and own their audience even more, using Web3.
What’s Missing in the Creator Marketplace
When asked what he sees missing in the creator marketplace, Phil shares that he sees a lack of ownership from creators.
“Platforms just wield way too much power in a creator’s life, right?”
He explains that he’s seen creators lose their accounts overnight, even when they aren’t breaking any policies from the platform. For example, he’s seen creators lose their TikTok accounts for having a link in their bio to OnlyFans, even though the OnlyFans account wasn’t risque.
“The more that creators can start really owning their audience, and I am the boring old guy that’s been telling creators since I’ve started working with them, start a mailing list… start getting like a community in those text message apps… You want to be able to say to your audience; I just lost my TikTok page, you need to subscribe to this one, or this is what’s going on in my life. This is my new merch campaign.”
Ultimately, Phil believes that the less control platforms have over a creator’s audience and business, the better.
“You need to be able to find new and interesting ways to address your audience. That might be Patreon. It might be OnlyFans. It might be Community. You’ve got to continue building out horizontally, so you clearly own it.”
We Are Verified’s Future Plans
We Are Verified has over a hundred creators under direct management, which Phil is thrilled about. He shares that they have many more creators on the creator service side, which includes deals like helping creators launch podcasts, fashion lines, and more.
“We are already starting to see ourselves have more of a B2B relationship where companies who want to feed this next generation of creators and our IP builders and our company builders are starting to say, “where can I invest?”
He adds that We Are Verified is already helping to develop business models for creators, particularly in the Web3 space and when it comes to building more prominent brands from a creator.
“We just want to find the right people who look at the world the same way that we do, and you know, we are now getting to a point where we’re going to rapidly expand. We’re going to continue creating more relationships with the investor community, the VC community, the PE community, the brand community, the platform community.”