Newness, a startup co-founded by former Twitch staff, has raised $3.5 million in a Sequoia-led seed spherical for its live-streaming platform aimed toward beauty creators and their fan communities. Though immediately’s creators usually are not with out choices in relation to livestreaming — Twitch, YouTube, TikTok, Instagram and Facebook are all in style decisions — Newness is concentrated on constructing differentiated instruments and options that work effectively for the beauty streamer market particularly. This consists of providing choices for each private and non-private streams, engagement mechanisms that reward optimistic contributions, moderation options, and the flexibility for followers to earn entry to free beauty merchandise by neighborhood participation.
In the brand new spherical, Jess Lee invested on behalf of Sequoia Capital. Other buyers in Newness embrace Cowboy Ventures (Aileen Lee), Upside Partnership (Kent Goldman), Dream Machine (former TechCrunch editor Alexia Bonatsos), Index Ventures (Nina Achadjian), Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin, former Twitch execs Jonathan Shipman and John Sutton, Eventbrite founders Kevin and Julia Hartz, Incredible Health co-founder and CEO Iman Abuzeid, and different angel buyers from Twitch.
The concept for Newness comes from CEO Jenny Qian, an early Twitch worker who held quite a lot of roles on the game-streaming web site through the years, most lately because the Senior Director of Business Strategy for Twitch’s video platform. She’s joined by CTO Youri Park, who additionally beforehand labored at Twitch, in addition to Blizzard and Facebook Gaming.
Though all the time an avid gamer herself, Qian says she started stepping into skincare after she turned 30. She then quickly realized the potential within the live-streaming beauty area.
“I was so used to the format from Twitch. And, in some ways, I feel like I was spoiled with live-streaming,” she explains. Being in a position to hang around with streamers, ask questions, and study from them was one thing that made the stay format so compelling, she believes.
“It made me scratch my head and think: why didn’t something like this exist for the beauty community? It’s a community that is just as passionate, if not more so…and it’s a content category that is so incredibly popular. How come there isn’t a live medium available?,” she questioned.
But on the similar time, Qian admits she didn’t really feel snug going stay on Twitch.
“It’s one thing to be made fun of for my gameplay. But I think it’s another if I take my makeup off, and people are making fun of me for how I look. It just cuts to a whole new level,” she says.
With Newness, the objective is to create a form of anti-Twitch, in a manner. It aspires to be a healthful, optimistic neighborhood for beauty creators and followers, the place moderation is a key focus and followers get rewarded for high quality participation, not trolling.
When creators go stay, Newness will pair them with an in-house moderator to assist them really feel extra snug and to maintain the content material flowing. Once they’re a extra established streamer, Newness will work with the creator to find and elevate a moderator from their very own fan neighborhood to assist out with future streams.
Meanwhile, followers are awarded digital objects referred to as crystals for optimistic participation and good conduct — for instance, for watching your favourite stream and interesting in chat. In Newness, each chat message additionally has a bit coronary heart subsequent to it. And the extra hearts you earn over time for higher-quality feedback, the extra crystals you additionally earn.
These crystals might be redeemed for full-size beauty merchandise, which Newness will supply by model offers. Because moderators spend extra time on the platform, they’ll additionally earn extra crystals — and meaning extra alternatives for merchandise.
The optimistic reward system has to date confirmed profitable throughout beta checks, as round 66% of Newness viewers, on common, find yourself chatting throughout stay streams, Qian says.
Another differentiating function for Newness is the flexibility for creators to host each private and non-private streams. The latter isn’t meant to be some form of OnlyFans equal, however is as a substitute centered on permitting creators to host extra skilled and unique stay occasions. With non-public streams, creators can promote each normal admission and even pricier VIP tickets that might include some form of reward — like a goodie bag of beauty provides.
In addition to occasions, Newness helps an in-app tipping mechanism referred to as “gifting” on on a regular basis streams.
Eventually, the startup plans to take a share of the income these transactions generate, however it hasn’t but rolled that out because it’s nonetheless beta testing.
At current, the Newness neighborhood its small. And it nonetheless chooses which creators are allowed to stay stream.
“We handpick the creators that we let on to our platform and keep it invite-only because we want to make sure that our earliest creators are helping to set the tone and building the culture of the community,” she says. The startup needs to make sure there are sufficient neighborhood members to maintain itself, whereas additionally not permitting the neighborhood to grow to be poisonous because it scales.
“We really care about cultivating an incredibly wholesome community. So for us, safety, moderation — all that is really important to us,” Qian notes.
The creators produce a spread of content material, together with extra skilled recommendation and product critiques to extra informal “get ready with me” movies and vlogs.
Newness, in fact, will face steep competitors from bigger, current platforms for streamers, like YouTube and Instagram, in addition to from newcomers extra centered on beauty movies, like Supergreat.
The startup has been in beta testing since final yr, and is barely accessible on the internet for the time being. With the seed funding, Newness expects to construct out its iOS client app in 2021, to enhance its devoted streaming app for creators. (Creators can even decide to stream from their DSLRs, if they like.)
It additionally goals to rent engineering expertise and construct out its 14-person staff that’s now unfold out throughout San Francisco, New York (because of some ex-Glossier hires), and L.A.