OnlyFans, the online creator platform known for its adult content, is struggling to find outside investors, according to multiple sources.
Between the lines: Sex sells, based on company financials leaked to Axios, but it also scares off venture capitalists.
OnlyFans remains in market, seeking what a source close to the company refers to as a "strategic partner."vestment would partially cash out majority owner and porn mogul Leo Radivinsky, while providing management with what one venture capitalist calls "more legitimacy."s
- The Raine Group, a merchant bank focused on tech and telecom, this past spring began helping OnlyFans to solicit investors.
- Several deep-pocketed firms quickly passed, not even engaging in serious due diligence.
- OnlyFans remains in market, seeking what a source close to the company referred to as a "strategic partner."
- OnlyFans declined to comment for this story.
By the numbers: Any other company with growth like OnlyFans would be able to raise big money in a matter of minutes.
What follows is rounded data from a pitch-deck that was compiled at the end of March. The 2021 figures are based on run-rate through the end of Q1, while 2022 figures are OnlyFans projections:
Gross merchandise value (GMV):
- 2020: $2.2 billion
- 2021: $5.9 billion
- 2022: $12.5 billion
- 2020: $375 million
- 2021: $1.2 billion
- 2022: $2.5 billion
- Over 50% of OnlyFans revenue in March came from paid subscriptions, while more than 30% came via chats. The rest was a combination of tips/streams and paid posts for free accounts.
Free cash flow:
- 2020: $150 million
- 2021: $620 million
- 2022: $1.2 billion
Total amount paid to creators since inception: $3.2 billion
- More than 300 creators earn at least $1 million annually.
- Around 16,000 creators earn at least $50,000 annually.
- More than seven million "fans" spend on OnlyFans each month. It has even more users who only consume free content.
In short, OnlyFans has a porn problem, even though it never once mentions porn in its pitch-deck (something that multiple investors called "disingenuous.").
- Some VC funds are prohibited from investing in adult content, per limited partnership agreements.
- Several investors are concerned about minors creating subscription accounts, although the company says it has controls in place to prevent that.
- Some investors say they could get past the porn, but worry that the company's reputation would prevent it from attracting brand partners (despite this week announcing a "safe for work" product that features its growing number of clothed creators).
- A counterargument is that Snap is now plastered with advertising, and valued at $115 billion, even though it began as a way for teens to share nudes.
The bottom line: OnlyFans is one of the creator economy's largest and most successful platforms. And investors are content to watch its success from afar.