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This Filmmaker Launched “Airbnb Of Brand Deals” To Let Creators List Dream Projects For Brands To Discover

Actor-director & entrepreneur Wes Elder is aiming to reshape the influencer marketing industry with his new platform, Creatorspace. His background in traditional film and TV led him to found the site he calls “the Airbnb of Brand Deals.”

Creatorspace lets creators list any type of sponsored content opportunity, from standard branded posts to ambitious creative projects like web series or reality shows. Brands can then browse these listings and book deals directly, paying the creator’s stated rate plus a service fee. A key innovation is allowing creators to pitch bigger creative visions to brands upfront rather than just individual posts or videos.

This Filmmaker Launched “Airbnb Of Brand Deals” To Let Creators List Dream Projects For Brands To Discover

How Creatorspace Came About

Wes’s path to founding Creatorspace, a marketplace connecting brands with online creators, began with his work in traditional film and video production. His pivotal project was the 2016 romantic comedy “The Matchbreaker,” which starred popular internet personalities like Christina Grimmie and Olan Rogers. “We were one of the early movies to do this,” the director notes, referring to casting digital creators in leading roles.

This Filmmaker Launched “Airbnb Of Brand Deals” To Let Creators List Dream Projects For Brands To Discover

After producing a branded TV series, Wes realized, “I really wish I just had a place where I could make this opportunity available to brands.” Finding no suitable platform, he decided to create his own solution: Creatorspace.

On the platform, creators can list specific sponsored content opportunities or trips they want a brand partner for. Brands then browse the listings and can directly book deals that interest them, paying the creator’s stated rate plus a service fee.

“If the influencer’s deal is $1,000, then the brand pays $1,000 plus [a fee] on top of that,” Wes says, comparing the model to the service fees charged by Airbnb.

While currently involved in deal communications to ensure smooth transactions, Wes envisions Creatorspace eventually operating as “just the platform that facilitates the relationship” between creators and brands. After an initial alpha testing period, the official public launch was in early January. Wes says he’s currently focused on “getting as many creators as we can on board and talking to brands and agencies.”

Explaining Creatorspace’s Mission

At its core, Creatorspace’s mission is “to help creators and brands collaborate in more meaningful ways that audiences actually enjoy,” Wes explains. This aspiration stems from his previous work producing branded content, such as a TV series that resonated with viewers.

“Usually, when you start the conversation with the creator’s compensation, they’re usually more excited to partner with you, which leads to a better result for everybody. It’s a win-win-win,” he says of paying creators fairly upfront.

This Filmmaker Launched “Airbnb Of Brand Deals” To Let Creators List Dream Projects For Brands To Discover

A key advantage of the platform, according to Wes, is that it allows brands to discover specific creative project ideas from creators they may never have learned about otherwise. “On our platform, they’re able to see his sponsoring video cost…Oh, he’s also starting a racing team. Do we want to be involved with that?”

Similarly, Wes cites one creator’s pitch for sponsorship of “a reality TV show, dating TV show.” He argues this visibility into pre-baked creative ideas “ultimately saves the brands money” compared to developing their own concepts from scratch.

The entrepreneur’s overarching goal is “to just like, make cool stuff that people like”—compelling branded content delights audiences because creators are enthusiastic about the partnerships. While the platform is currently open for any creator or brand to join, Wes reveals plans to implement tiers requiring approval for listings above certain budget thresholds.

Facilitating Seamless Creator-Brand Collaborations Through Innovation

To facilitate brand-creator partnerships more efficiently, Wes has prioritized technological innovation and an open, user-friendly approach with Creatorspace.

From a technical standpoint, he cites the platform’s use of the Svelte coding language as the key to allowing rapid iteration. “It’s kind of a newer code language that is becoming really popular. And so we’ve done everything through that, and it has allowed us to make updates really fast.”

Wes provides an example of swiftly adding a new feature after someone requested the ability to embed media kits on their own website. “I was able to go back and reply to her five minutes later.”

Another core differentiator is Creatorspace’s lack of barriers like mandatory demos that are common on competitor platforms. “We don’t do that. But we [want users to] just use [the platform], and then I’ll decide if I actually want to do it.”

Wes also credits AI technology like ChatGPT as an invaluable development aid, stating, “We’ve saved hundreds, thousands of hours, maybe through AI tech at this point.”

The founder outlines the platform’s flexibility to accommodate diverse creative scenarios. In addition to standard branded content formats like videos and posts, Creatorspace enables listings for major creative projects like web series, reality shows, and even business ventures creators are pursuing.

This versatility stems in part from Wes’s previous experience producing a branded TV renovation competition series called “Gutted,” where brand integrations took various forms – including creator sponsorships, product placement, and production costs.

Gaining Traction Through Successful Campaigns

One of Creatorspace’s biggest successes so far has been enabling a creator with 500,000 TikTok followers to land multiple five-figure brand deals for his self-produced reality TV dating show. “He was pitching the show to traditional networks to pick it up, and that just that process moves so slow,” Wes explains. “And so for him to be like, you know what? I just want to do it myself and get partners. He’s been able to do that.”

While the movie industry vet cannot share full details yet, he cites this as “a huge win.” He indicates more similar large-scale creator projects facilitated through Creatorspace will be announced publicly soon.

This Filmmaker Launched “Airbnb Of Brand Deals” To Let Creators List Dream Projects For Brands To Discover

“Gutted” crew

Wes is currently focused on implementing “boring stuff” like email marketing rather than paid ads to ensure sustainable growth, taking an organic approach. “The North Star gets somebody a brand deal and then have them tell, you know, ten other creators that need to be on board,” he says of pursuing viral, word-of-mouth acquisition.

For brands, providing a consistent supply of compelling creative concepts is critical to keeping them engaged and shopping on the platform. Wes plans to start curating monthly roundups spotlighting unique new listings like short films, web series, events, and other non-standard creative projects.

User feedback is also instrumental in shaping the roadmap. Potential upcoming features include enabling talent agencies to upload full creator rosters and adding functionality for creators to request free products or services rather than cash sponsorships.

Future Roadmap

Among Creatorspace’s key upcoming features, Wes cites plans to allow creators to request free products or services rather than cash payments for brand collaborations. “To be able to go somewhere and find creators that are willingly excited to do that is very valuable,” he notes.

Another major initiative is developing an API integration with “link in bio” services like Linktree, which would enable creators’ Creatorspace listings to automatically populate mobile bio links directly from social platforms.

This Filmmaker Launched “Airbnb Of Brand Deals” To Let Creators List Dream Projects For Brands To Discover

Wes advises creators to “be creative” and take an unconventional approach to branded content ideas rather than a conventional approach. “Brands want that stuff, too,” he says. His guidance for brands is to “come with an open mind” and not dismiss opportunities that may initially seem non-obvious. Citing Scrub Daddy’s successful TikTok, the actor-turned-entrepreneur encourages brands to “actually, hey, at the end of the day, we’re creatives…come with those creative and open minds.”

Overall, Wes remains “bullish” on the creator economy’s future, believing it will reshape entertainment and distribution and empower individual creators in a monumental way thanks to technological democratization. “I think it’s still just great. I think it’s still the perfect timing to get started in it,” he states.

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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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