December 31, 2021
Whether you believe it or not, this year was history in the making. Anyone (or any business) who uses the brilliance of the Internet, and particularly the creator economy, to grow is living through the very beginnings of web3.
Needless to say, as a creator-first company, our 2021 proved to be a blur.
DYT – the products and the company – grew. If we were toddlers taking baby steps in 2020, we’re now preschoolers running helter-skelter in our eagerness to explore the creator economy.
We embraced the power of AI.
DYT is and always will be creator-first, but it’s tech that’s driving the car now. We introduced AI capability to our brand product: a web-based, self-serve platform to execute and manage influencer campaigns.
Instead of the run-of-the-mill keyword-based search, our algorithm uses personality-based search to discover creators. Not even a year after its launch, brands have fallen in love with it.
Brand campaigns got bigger. And better.
Influencer marketing is still young in India. The cement hasn’t hardened. So, convincing marketers of the value of at-scale campaigns with nano and micro-influencers has been an unceasing effort.
But 2021 proved to be an inflexion point. From FinTechs to Lifestyle, brands accepted that it’s more effective to work with 100 small creators simultaneously rather than one big celebrity.
We had Jim Beam working with 277 creators, Tata Sampann with 280+ and PassPass Pulse with 250+. For just one campaign. And the engagements were through the roof.
We expanded. And expanded some more.
Our HR manager (that’s another change of 2021) insists more verticals and more people is a true sign of growth. By that measure, we became a giant this year.
In January, we were a tiny team of barely 20 where everyone knew everyone else by name, designation, and face. Today, we are more than 40 strong and show no sign of slowing down. Thanks to a hybrid work environment, some of us know each other by voice or tone of Slack messages rather than face.
Another big change for the team was bidding a poignant farewell to Adesh Pardeshi, after watching his journey from a test engineer to assistant product manager. As a founder, it is gratifying to observe the passion with which people embrace your brainchild and make it their own.
The right team and the right community genuinely matter in a startup. Build yours and hang on to it. Fortunately, ours also includes creators, and it’s crossed the 70,000-mark.
This year, we partnered with the likes of Sameera Reddy and Anita Hassanandani. However, the feather in our cap was when the food blogger and true creator, Shivesh Bhatia, signed up for our app.
We got more social. And more inclusive.
For a good chunk of 2021, we worked on revamping our website and quietly released it into the wild in October, along with our podcast. At the same time, our Instagram account essentially became a meme account, because if a picture conveys a thousand words, a meme says ten thousand.
We also wanted to move beyond the mile-wide but only inch-deep strategy that excludes regional content creators. So, we localised the DYT app in 9 languages, with more in the pipeline. A creator can choose the language they’re comfortable with and use the app in it.
We honoured our responsibility towards creators.
From day 0, we’ve been clear that our responsibility isn’t just to the internal team, brands, or creators who use the app. It’s also to anyone hoping to become a full-time content creator, an incredibly difficult job that merely seems easy.
DYT Academy, an initiative by the creators and for the creators, was our answer to it. We banked on the best of creators to teach the nitty-gritty of content creation. Because learning is something most of us run from (just a bit), we made it fun.
Each of the 75+ courses available on DYT Academy is broken down into bite-sized pieces. Since they’re snackable, the learning becomes sticky (and the reason why we have 5000+ enrolments already).
Do what you love, and the rest will follow.
The essence of the creator economy is that if you passionately keep doing what you love, the fanbase (and moolah) will follow. But life often bleeds in, leaving dreams tattered in its wake.
It’s essentially why I built DYT: to help creators so they don’t face a litany of quotidian challenges. Although I can’t predict exactly what 2022 will hold for DYT, the vision is to head deeper into this path of supporting creators. In all facets possible.
For one, DYT is investing in making pay-outs easier and more transparent. The biggest issue creators face during brand collaborations, by far. For another, we’re working towards data security and have started the process of getting the ISO 27001 certification.
Rewinding DYT’s 2021
There was much 2021 brought with it, from sobering realities to raising bars on revenue generated, which crossed $ 2 million. But the most meaningful moment was a very personal one. The surprise and delight on my mother’s face when she saw the app was available in Hindi.
Here’s hoping the new year brings many more of them.
Upwards & onwards,