Newnes, a startup founded by former Twitch employees, has raised $ 3.5 million in a Sequoia-led seed round for its live-streaming platform aimed at beauty creators and their fan communities. Although today’s creators are not without options when it comes to livestreaming – Twitch, YouTube, TickTock, Instagram, and Facebook are all popular choices – Newness focuses on building differentiated devices and features specifically tailored to the beauty stream market Work well. This includes offering options for both public and private streams, engagement mechanisms that reward positive contributions, moderation facilities, and the ability of fans to gain access to free beauty products by community participation.
In the new phase, Jess Lee invested on behalf of Sequoia Capital. Other investors in Newnes include Cowboy Ventures (Aileen Lee), Upside Partnership (Kent Goldman), Dream Machine (former ClearTips editor Alexia Bonatos), Index Ventures (Nina Achadjian), Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin, former Twitch Jonathan Shipman and John Has been included. Sutton, eventbright’s founders Kevin and Julia Hertz, Incredible Health co-founder and CEO Iman Abujid, and Twitch’s other angel investors.
The idea for Newnes comes from CEO Jenny Qian, an early Twitch employee who has held several roles on the game-streaming site over the years, most recently as senior director of business strategy for Twitch’s video platform. She joined CTO Yuri Park, having previously worked at Twitch as well as Blizzard and Facebook Gaming.
However, Kian, who is always an avid herself, says she started going into skincare after she turned 30. She soon realized the potential in the live-streaming beauty space.
“I was used to twitch format. And, in some ways, I think I was spoiled with live-streaming, ”she explains. Being able to hang around with streamers, ask questions and learn from them was something that made the live format so compelling, she admits.
“It made me scratch my head and think: Why has nothing happened to the beauty community? This is a community that is just as passionate, if not more so… and it is a content category that is so incredibly popular. How is there not a living medium available ?, ”he thought.
But at the same time, Qian admitted that she did not feel comfortable living on twitch.
“It’s one thing to be made fun of for my gameplay. But I think if I take off my makeup, it is another, and people are making fun of me for how I look. It just cuts it to a whole new level, ”she says.
With Newnes, the goal is to build anti-twitch in a way. It aspires to be an entire, positive community for beauty creators and fans, where moderation is a major focus and fans are rewarded for quality participation, not trolling.
When the producers come alive, Newnes will pair them with an in-house moderator to help them feel more comfortable and keep the content flowing. Once they become a more established streamer, Newnes will work with producers to find and elevate a moderator from their own fan community to help with future streams.
Meanwhile, fans are awarded virtual items called crystals for positive participation and good behavior – for example, for watching their favorite streams and engaging in chat. In Newnes, there is also a little heart next to every chat message. And the longer you earn a heart for high quality comments, the more crystals you earn.
These crystals can be redeemed for full-size beauty products, which will be the source of newness through brand deals. Because intermediaries spend more time on the platform, they will also earn more crystals – and this means more opportunities for products.
The positive testing system has proved successful so far during beta testing, says Qian, as about 66% of Nussens viewers are chatting during a live stream.
Another distinguishing feature for Newnes is the ability for creators to host both public and private streams. The latter is not only meant to be the equivalent of certain types of only ones, but instead focuses on allowing creators to host more professional and exclusive live events. With private streams, manufacturers can sell both general admission and even pricier VIP tickets that can come with some sort of reward – such as a nice bag of beauty supplies.
In addition to events, Newnes supports an in-app tipping mechanism called “gifting” on everyday streams.
Ultimately, the startup plans to take a portion of the revenue these transactions generate, but has not yet rolled over as it is still beta testing.
Currently, the Newnes community is smaller. And it still chooses which creators are allowed to live stream.
“We hand over the creators that we let come to our stage and invite it only because we want to make sure that our early creators are helping to create and create the tone of the community’s culture.” The startup wants to ensure that there are enough community members to sustain themselves, while not allowing the community to be toxic because it scales.
“We really care about cultivating an incredible nutritious community. So for us, safety, moderation – all that is really important to us, ”Qian notes.
The producers produce a range of materials, including more expert advice and more casual “get ready with me” videos and product reviews including vlogs.
The newness will, of course, face stiff competition for streamers from larger, existing platforms such as YouTube and Instagram, as well as more focused on beauty videos such as Supercreat.
The startup has been in beta testing since last year, and is currently only available on the web. With seed funding, Newnes hopes to build its iOS consumer app in 2021, to complement its dedicated streaming app for creators. (Producers can choose to stream from their DSLR if desired.)
It aims to hire engineering talent and build its 14-man team that has now spread to San Francisco, New York (thanks to some pre-glacier fares) and LA