Bounty, an online service that helps TikTok creators monetize brand reviews and recommendations, has announced the closing of a $4.7 million seed round led by early-stage consumer tech VC firm M13.
The new service, currently in beta, is designed for everyday TikTok users — not just professional creators — who want to earn money by reviewing brands’ products.
To sign up, customers enter their phone number on Bounty’s website and are sent a list of instructions. Reward users must first purchase an eligible product from one of the partner brands. After the order is processed and delivered, the customer will receive a unique text link to receive a “Bounty” to get paid when they post their video review to TikTok. Content tagged with the creator and #giveaway will be uploaded in the description. Bounty finds the post and notifies the client that it is being tracked. The videos must be properly labeled as “sponsored” per FTC guidelines. Bonus notes.
Reviewers can earn up to $10 for every 1,000 views their TikTok content receives and keep 100% of their earnings. You are paid for organic views generated in the first 48 hours. The company explains that the cost per view will gradually decrease as views are added to ensure a fair return for the creator and brand. So, the better the video performs in the first two days, the more the creator gets paid.
Anyone with a Tik Tok account who is 18 years or older can use Bounty.
The funds will be used for brands from the company’s waiting list of 750+ brands. Bounty currently works with 30 brands including Jones Road Beauty, BlendJet, Olipop and Do Lashes.
During beta testing, Bounty worked with 14,000 creators. The company reported that its top creators earned $3,000 a month, but did not share details on how many videos they posted or what an average user earns.
However, Addy Neri, a TikTok user (@addingtoneri) with a modest 19.4K followers, told Fast Company that she was able to earn more than $560 per Bounty video. In the year Since May 2022, she has earned a total of over $3,000 from posts about Jones Street Beauty products with the help of Bounty.
In addition to earning money from views, the creator gets paid when the brand uses their video in other ways. Brands can view the content created through Bounty’s website and license it to run as an ad on TikTok Spark – allowing advertisers to run ads on user-generated content to grow more audiences. They can also use the video in their other paid marketing efforts.
This is possible because creators are licensing Bounty as part of their agreements, allowing Bounty to sublicense the content to the brand on their behalf. The creator retains the license to the content.
Brands pay a monthly fee for Bounty, which varies based on platform usage, but starts at $99 per month.
Investors in the new round include Sugar Capital, Interlace Ventures, as well as the founders and executives of Rotis, Fabletics, and Stack Commerce, bringing the total raised to $6.7 million. The funding will help fuel hiring plans for Bounty’s engineering, design and marketing departments. Early hires are from Google, Sezzle and Dharma.
The Miami-based company was founded in 2021 by Abe Wolke. The product “hopes to democratize the influencer economy by giving customers the ability to reward if their content is used by the brand and helps the brand grow,” he said.
The old way to do this was to pay an agency to send influencers free products in hopes of a post. However, this is less effective as it feels like an advertisement. When a real customer posts content, it comes across as more genuine. Of course, customers who get paid for a positive review of a product are no more genuine than the creator who gets the item for free. And the company tells creators that negative reviews don’t qualify for payment.
“Celebrities and famous creators are not our focus,” explains Wolke. “To unlock the long tail of creative marketing, we focus on serving micro and nano creatives – everyday consumers and creatives who don’t have an agent or a large audience and might not otherwise be paying attention to their favorite brands. That said, any real customer can participate.
The startup is showing brands’ willingness to work with small creators. As Insider Intelligence recently reported, “nano” influencer spending (influencers with 1,000-5,000 followers) will increase by 220.5% by 2022, while “mega” influencer spending (creators with 1M+ followers) will grow only 8.0%. In a separate report, the firm expects TikTok’s ad revenue to triple to $12 billion this year.
Bounty launched into beta this March, and “growth has been huge,” according to head of engineering Aaron Decker. “Two weeks ago, we only had 800 subscribers a week. Before that, it was only 500 a week,” he said.
Now, 1,000 creators sign up a week, the company says.
The startup is set to officially launch the service to a wider audience in the coming weeks. Bounty currently only works with TikTok users, but plans to expand to Instagram Reels in the next 12 months. YouTube shorts and other video platforms will count more down the road.