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Curastory

The first platform where NCAA student athletes make money from video content

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Highlights

1
We have had over 100 sign ups in 5 months from users with the NBA, NFL, Olympics, and many more!
2
We are among the first platforms allowing NCAA student-athletes to monetize their own media, a new market worth $1.1B.
3
We are growing by 50% month-over-month in site visits and sign-ups.
4
We are made up of sports and entertainment experts from previous brands such as ESPN, NBA, NFL, NCAA, USOC, and MLS.

Our Founder

Founder & CEO
Built the ESPN College Football Fan Happiness Index, an index quantifying an intangible trait throughout college football programming.

Athletes and creators have historically been taken advantage of by traditional media publishers embellishing their storylines for profit, but social media has almost eliminated this entirely. I quit ESPN because I observed this and decided to create a company that allows influential creators to monetize and distribute their own media.


The Genesis of Curastory

We started this journey in the summer of 2019 and have made waves in just a short amount of time.

We noticed at ESPN there needed to be a change 

As a content data scientist at ESPN, I began to notice our original programming plummet because athletes and entertainers I was connected to were posting content to their social media channels and breaking news on their own. 

Influential creators, like athletes, now have as large of an audience as publishers like ESPN throughout their social media accounts online. Because of this, they in turn want to create, own, monetize, and distribute their own media where they can tell their own stories.

The Undefeated article showing tense relations between athletes and the media written by Domonique Foxworth

A law change sprung us into action

One of the most powerful institutions in all of sports and entertainment has decided to allow its members to monetize their content. On May 14, 2019, the NCAA announced its change of heart in allowing student athletes to monetize their name, image, and likeness individually in their 109-year history. From this news, Curastory was born. 

Starting in 2021, NCAA student athletes are now added to the mix of content monetization that we have exclusive access to. This new market is worth $1.1 billion. In addition to student athletes, we believe all content creators should have freedom of monetization for their individual stories and not have their stories told for them, so we decided to do something about it. We silent launched our website in August 2019 and are growing in visits by 50% month over month and sign-ups totaling 250. Woah! 📈

Quotes from industry experts

"I think going forward [name, image, likeness monetization] will be a really good thing. Just being able to sponsor [our] name because of talent. [We] could be the face of a program say, for instance, Nissan North Carolina. I think it's great for [us]. I'd rather have [a platform] help me with content creation then put it out myself [for monetization]."

Garrison Brooks, NCAA DI Basketball Player

How our product works (a real example)

If any of you follow sports, specifically the NBA, you may have recently noticed Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers being a leading voice around mental health issues and speaking on his own personal journey with anxiety.

Currently, these videos are continuously streamed on YouTube. A few of these videos are monetized by media networks like the Today Show, but a lot of them aren't. To make matters worse, Kevin Love has no control over other channels profiting from the unmonetized video without his consent.

Headspace, Calm, and TalkSpace are all companies focused on alleviating the difficulties surrounding mental health and anxiety through meditation or therapy. All of these brands want to align with thought leaders like Kevin Love given the relevance of their product matching with what is being talked about in the video.

Using the Curastory platform, Kevin Love would upload a video to be monetized where he might be speaking on a specific panic attack incident and how he copes. From this upload, our technology generates the video listing below where Headspace, Calm, and TalkSpace can bid to co-brand the video having their logo watermarked for the entire video along with Kevin Love's Foundation or media logo. 

Brands can verify they are a match with the tags at the bottom of the bid page below. If Calm wins the bid, we ingest Calm's logo on the video and send it back to Kevin where he then posts it to YouTube, Instagram TV, and / or Facebook Watch from our marketplace so we can track engagements.

Video content listing bid page that brands see

 The example above is our actual product, but instead with an interview video uploaded by media publisher Uninterrupted | Kneading Dough. In this video, Maverick Carter is sitting down with Emmitt Smith talking about financial literacy, investing, and life after sports. This video was monetized by Chase.

Check what more of the world’s favorite creators are saying at curastory.co!

Our edge: tech!

I know what you might be thinking. Why can't Headspace, Calm, or TalkSpace just reach out to Kevin Love directly to monetize his mental health videos? 

Short answer, they can. 

But, there are a couple things currently plaguing influencer marketing and paid advertising channels that brands want changed. 

First with influencer marketing, there is literally no way to track ROI with influencer campaigns outside of impressions from the Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube APIs. But, not anymore (cheers)!

Second with paid advertising channels, about 70% of pre-roll advertisements are skipped on YouTube. There is also no way of ensuring the same advertisement be displayed on the video across channels as these platforms are competing with one another.

Through video tracking technology and individual user demographics data, our tech is able to assign unique identifiers for consumers that stream, download, like, share, or comment on videos. From that unique pixel, we are able to connect the engagement to code snippets on media buyers' websites or apps and calculate return on content spend from visits, purchases, and conversions as one of the many offerings within our analytics dashboard. The consumer's identity is never known unless they sign up for Calm's website, allowing us to pass FTC policies on consumer privacy. In short, we are doing exactly what Chartable is doing with SmartAds, but for video.

That's not even the cherry on top. Before Headspace, Calm, or TalkSpace bid to co-brand the video, they are able to see how many engagements we project on the video for each platform Kevin will post it to. Brands worry a lot about campaign underperformance, so we try to alleviate that hesitance through our projections. This in turn fuels our pricing model of about $30 cost per mille (CPM) in the first 30 days of the video being posted.

Projected engagements for Uninterrupted to post the Chase video to YouTube

We began onboarding the best team in the business

In order to take on the behemoth that is sports, media, and entertainment, we needed the perfect team. 

Our tech leaders, Tiffany, Shane, & Thomas, are some of the best algorithm developers but need help in the marketing department. Our design experts, Austin & Frankie, can bring any idea to life but need assistance in forming other connections needed to get our company to run. Our go-to person for all things public policy, D'Bria, stands in some of the most powerful rooms to strike deals for our content creators, but her experience is mostly legal affairs. And our intern, Addie, understands the problem to her core being our first target market, but just starting her career. Because each of us understands our strengths and weaknesses, we form a team with founder- / team- market fit being advised by some incredible industry experts.

Oh, we also understand that diversity of thought produces some of the greatest products, so we wanted to make sure our founding team matched that. Over 70% of our founding team is either African-American or female. How's that for diversity and inclusion! 

Our phenomenal founding team

We are first starting with athlete content creators, then...

Because it's what we know best, we are first starting with athletes that create content from engaging topics. Some of the most successful companies historically have started with solving a distinct problem for an extremely small segmentation of users. Don't believe me? Let's list a few to see.

  • Facebook: Harvard students --> College students --> Everyone
  • Tesla: Clean tech / High-end electric sports cars --> Luxury electric sedan market
  • PayPal: eBay auctions --> eBay "PowerSellers" --> All online payments
  • Amazon: Books --> CDs, video, software... --> EVERYTHING
  • Curastory: Athletes --> Entertainers / Educational Creatives --> All creators

Why so small? Quoting one of my favorite books that I read in 2019 directly...

Every startup is small at the start. Every monopoly dominates a large share of its market. Therefore, every startup should start with a very small market. Always err on the side of starting too small. The reason is simple: it's easier to dominate a small market than a large one. 

- Zero to One, Peter Thiel
Segmentation of our video supply


We are sticking to what we know best with the unique network our founding team has created over the years within sports and entertainment. Everyday content creators, we will soon get to helping you own, monetize, and distribute your content!

Curastory product demo

Now, we need your help to launch successfully

Our founding team is currently building the product you see above in their free time because we all care so deeply about content creators owning, monetizing, and distributing their own stories.

We are sharing our progress with you all - our friends, family, future content creators, and future customers because we want to bring you along for the ride. Our team would not share our funding goals publicly if we have not already invested our personal capital in time and money. Since silent launch, our team has invested over $5,000 of our own capital into building Curastory thus far.

Your support would not only assist us in building Curastory full-time, but give you an equity stake in the company that will increase over time as our valuation increases! 💸

We are incredibly excited to bring you along this amazing journey to give power back to content creators while assisting content buyers in being connected with the right stories. With that being said, welcome to the CS community and thank you for choosing us! 🧡

Use of pre-seed funds from Wefunder

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