This Gen Z founder made an OnlyFans rival that has no nudity and sold it for $65 million

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From left: Harry Gestetner and Simon Pompan, the cofounders of Fanfix.

Harry Gestetner, 22, runs Fanfix, a platform where fans can subscribe to content.
He said it sold for $65 million after sites including TikTok “failed” to help creators make money.
He said the platform is “strictly clean” — though it’s not all safe for work.

Harry Gestetner is keen to reassure people that he doesn’t live with his parents.

He’s sitting in front of a model airplane in his dad’s home office as he speaks to Insider over Zoom from Los Angeles.

“I’m at my parents’ house now because I had a family dinner last night, but I did actually move out,” he said.

The 22-year-old certainly doesn’t need to live with his folks: He became a millionaire last year after his company, Fanfix, sold for $65 million, according to Crunchbase. Fanfix wouldn’t confirm the amount beyond saying it was an eight-figure sum.

Gestetner is the co-CEO of the platform, which he cofounded in 2020, that lets social-media creators and influencers monetize their fan bases by offering a monthly paid subscription for content such as day-in-the-life vlogs, DMs, and unpublished first-draft TikToks.

It’s a model broadly similar to OnlyFans, but with a major difference: it doesn’t allow nudity.

Gestetner calls FanFix: “Gen Z-first, TikTok-first, mobile-first.”

Unlike OnlyFans, which is known for its adult content, and Patreon, which allows nudity in some contexts, Fanfix markets itself as offering an income stream for Gen Z influencers who want to make money from their fans, but who don’t want to be associated with explicit content. They also need at least 10,000 followers across their social-media profiles to be eligible for joining Fanfix.

Gestetner believes most famous creators on OnlyFans are “not actually doing any nudity for the most part — but they’re associated with the extreme pornography that’s going on” meaning they “lose out on brand deals.”

Avi Gandhi, the founder of Partner with Creators and the former head of creator partnerships at Patreon, told Insider that companies doing brand marketing are “very unlikely to invest in partnering with creators on OnlyFans because of the brand association.”

Some heralded the sale of Fanfix to SuperOrdinary, a “brand accelerator” that helps companies market themselves through influencer partnerships, as signaling that “the creator economy is here to stay.”

Fanfix said in April that it had over 10 million users and expects to have paid out $50 million in total to its 3,000 creators by the end of the year. 

Data seen by TechCrunch showed that a creator’s average annual income on the platform is $70,000.

Gestetner doesn’t hold back on criticizing competitors, calling Patreon an “outdated, bulky desktop-first platform catered to our parents’ generation” and OnlyFans a “porn site” with a “massive stigma surrounding it.”

But Fanfix is tiny compared to OnlyFans, which told Insider in 2021 that it had 180 million registered users — about 18 times the number of Fanfix users today.

An entrepreneurial family

Gestetner grew up in London and has a background of wealth and innovation.

His great-great grandfather, David Gestetner — who he counts as an inspiration — invented an early photocopying machine in 1879. Ricoh bought the business in 1996 for $226 million, The Guardian reported. The publication also reported that Harry’s father, Daniel, was one of the UK’s richest young entrepreneurs in 2000.

He attended Highgate School, which currently has fees of $29,000 a year, before moving to Los Angeles for high school.

It was there, studying at Harvard-Westlake School — whose alumni include Lily Collins and Jake Gyllenhaal — that he met his cofounder, Simon Pompan.

The pair studied business while in college and launched a charity called Fuel Our Heroes during the pandemic, using social media to raise over $350,000 for healthcare workers.

From left: Simon Pompan, Tana Mongeau, Harry Gestetner, and Rory Noenan attend the Dizzy red-wine launch party.

During that time, Gestetner’s cousin posted a TikTok, which got millions of views. Gestetner was frustrated that his cousin “couldn’t make a penny” from it.

Working from their dorm rooms, Gestetner and Pompan raised $1.3 million from the venture-capital firms Antler, Rough Draft Ventures, and Day One Ventures, to found Fanfix.

The former Vine star Cameron Dallas also came on board as a cofounder and raised the platform’s profile.

‘We don’t venture into any of the more explicit areas’

Fanfix’s content guidelines define nudity as “photos, videos, and some digitally-created content that show sexual intercourse, genitals, and close-ups of fully-nude buttocks.”

But though Gestetner described it as a “strictly clean platform,” a look through some of the most popular creators’ accounts shows it’s not all safe for work. 

There are close-ups of bikini-clad buttocks, pictures of feet, and videos of creators spitting. In DMs, there are images users can unlock for $25, captioned with the peach emoji. 

Clips of girls dancing in bikinis that creators claim TikTok took down under its ambiguous moderation policy on semi-nude videos often get re-uploaded to Fanfix.

An illustration of Brooke Monk’s Fanfix page and messages with fans.

“We allow what’s the societal norm, and we don’t venture into any of the more explicit areas,” Gestetner said. “The most lewd stuff on our platform will be similar to the most lewd stuff on TikTok or Instagram.”

Savannah Demers, a 22-year-old with 2.2 million TikTok followers, said the no-nudity rule was the main draw for her to join Fanfix, explaining that she wanted “an outlet that is at a calmer level and reputation than other platforms might give” to let her create content she is “comfortable with.”

‘Not a team of middle-aged men’

From left: Cameron Dallas, Harry Gestetner, and Simon Pompan.

Gestetner calls Fanfix: “Gen Z-first, TikTok-first, mobile-first.” 

It has over 50 staff who are mostly in their early 20s. “We’re not sitting in a room with a whiteboard, theorizing what Gen Z might want, as a team of middle-aged men. We talk about what we want, and then we build that,” he said.

The finance category on the site’s “explore” page is playfully labeled with the “Stonks” meme, and Fanfix’s desktop interface is designed with the proportions of a phone screen, but it doesn’t have an app in app stores. 

Gestetner told a Spotify podcast in 2022 that applying Apple’s 30% fees on in-app purchases would mean creators’ earnings would drop dramatically, which he said would be “an absolutely ludicrous concept.” Fanfix takes a 20% commission on creators’ earnings — the same rate as OnlyFans.

When SuperOrdinary bought Fanfix, Insider’s Geoff Weiss reported that there were plans for product collaborations with the platform’s creators.

Gestetner said he is open with Fanfix creators on that he thinks they would always make more money on OnlyFans than Fanfix on a “per-creator basis,” because of the expectation that fans will be able to see nudity on OnlyFans.

Gandhi told Insider he doesn’t think the two platforms are really competitors because they target different audiences. 

“Both of these platforms are building brands for very specific creator demographics and psychographics. Expanding outside of those once established will be challenging,” Gandhi said.

Gestetner said he feels the booming subscriptions market is up for grabs and that Fanfix could even “eclipse” OnlyFans in a few years, though he admits this is an ambition rather than a projection. 

“The reality is, the creator economy itself shouldn’t have existed in the first place, because Instagram, Facebook, and then eventually, TikTok, should have taken care of monetization, as well as discovery,” Gestetner said. 

“They failed at that. And they took advantage of the creators, and so a massive gap opened up for platforms like Patreon, platforms like us.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

​Tech Insider, Media, Longreads BI UK, Creators, Influencers, OnlyFans, Subscriptions, TikTok, Cameron Dallas, Wealth, gen z, Startups, Apps, Patreon, Louise Ridley  

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