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Secret weapon to scale up your business, CreatorDB helps you find the perfect match in a sea of YouTube, Instagram influencers

Winnie Wu 2021/10/27

Clayton Jacobs, who used to work at Microsoft headquarters at a fairly young age of 18, founded an influencer discovery platform, CreatorDB, in Taiwan. Joined with him is the cofounder Noah Hynam, an Australian former IBM team lead. After around one and a half years, CreatorDB has become a team with eight different nationalities which the sun never sets on, generating with a 141% average MoM rate. It has just been selected in 500 Global Accelerator in early September.

“The reason I left school was to start my own business... I started in 2019 when I was 22. I have found success, have found failures, but just kept learning and been trying to push this business to expand internationally,” said Clayton Jacobs, the CEO and co-founder of CreatorDB.

Clayton’s goal of creating a startup started young. Unlike other typical high school students in the US, he joined a research lab at the University of California San Diego at the age of 17, doing computer and cognitive science research. Afterward, he started his bachelor's degree, went over to Microsoft, moved to San Francisco, and then after several twists and turns, he got to Taiwan in 2018 where he became the product manager of the Taiwanese tech company, ULSee.

CEO Clayton Jacobs (middle), cofounder Noah Hynam (left).

Always having the idea of starting a company in mind, he met his co-founder Noah Hynam on Reddit -- to play Dungeons and Dragons together. Noah Hynam was a former IBM team lead for four years before he came to Taiwan. Soon the two became close friends. Clayton believed Noah had more talent he could be using, so he shared his startup idea with him and persuaded him to join.

“I'm like hey, do you want to do this business with me? I had saved up enough money to bootstrap this company myself. If you quit your job, I'll pay you more than what you make right now out of my own pocket.” Clayton recalled.

Eventually, in the spring of 2020, Noah became the first full-time employee of CreatorDB, followed by Clayton six months later. And the problem they are trying to solve? The difficulties of discovering small and medium content creators, whom keyword searching algorithms do not favor.

The soaring marketing landscape dominated by Instagram, Youtube influencers

The social media marketing landscape has expanded dramatically.

The social media marketing landscape has expanded dramatically, from around 56,000 million to estimated 233,000 million worldwide, with an annual growth rate of 10.93% between 2021 to 2025. Among tens of thousands of influencers, it can be hard for businesses to find the right partner, especially small and medium content creators. Although they are more affordable, they create content for specific niches, they have much better engagement rates than larger ones, keyword searching algorithms do not favor them. Fortunately, new businesses around influencer marketing are also on the rise, such as influencer matching platforms and influencer agencies. For them, the goal is to help customers to find a suitable partner amid a sea of influencers. With these mediums, professional agents or software can present customers with some presumably best choices.

Yet as long as these mediums exist, there will always be one problem: the misalignment between interests. The matching platform and the agency tend to recommend the influencers that they have contracts with. Namely, even if the customers seem to be choosing of their own will, they are actually choosing within a predetermined list of choices. Now, how can customers get the best of both worlds? Here’s how CreatorDB creates the solution: build an easy-to-use database for all influencers and provide it as a self-service SaaS tool for customers, especially SMBs.

A self-service database to find small and medium influencers

CreatorDB collects massive amounts of data, categorizes them, filters them extensively, and finally presents them to customers by a visualized and intuitive user interface. There are a wide array of indicators to choose from, including country, audience demographics, topics, views, engagement rate, and more. Customers can find influencers’ contact information and even group them together as a campaign.

“Since we are a data-based company, our data collection and evaluation at scale allows us to more easily identify a large number of influencers which fit the requirements of any given client.” Clayton pointed out.

As for its business model, CreatorDB offers annual and monthly subscription plans, depending on the data required, features needed, and API access permission. They also offer an end-to-end agency service as another option. Their customers include companies like NordVPN, Wildlife Studios, Disney official partners among many others.

Taiwan, with an international mindset yet traditional bureaucracy

Clayton has been staying or living in Asia for more than four years, including Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Toyko, and Seoul. When asked about why choosing Taiwan to start a company, he concluded into three main reasons: Taiwanese talents, international mindset, and simply, a good place to live for foreigners.

“I think that Taipei has one of the most overlooked talent pools in Asia. There is a ridiculous amount of very smart engineers who are not getting paid enough money,” Clayton noted. In addition, Taiwan is built-in with a more international culture comparing to other countries. For instance, foreigners can only own 49% of a company in China, while Korea and Japan are more insular countries where a lot of products only targeted domestic markets. Whereas in Taiwan, a lot of startups have an international idea from day one, according to Clayton’s observation. Lastly, on top of everything else in terms of business, Clayton sees Taipei as a very livable city.

Clayton sees Taipei as a very livable city.

“It's very comfortable for a foreigner to live here. In other places, It's been great to visit; but living as a foreigner, especially in East Asian countries … I don't really blend in with the crowd. But in Taiwan, I have found that there's a bit more than baseline respect for foreign talents and for foreign workers,” Clayton explained.

Still, there is room for improvement. Comparing to other international big cities with a more mature startup environment, Taiwan still has a lot of red tape that may get in the way of fast-growing businesses. Government administration and banking services will have to evolve faster so as to foster a more friendly foreign entrepreneurial environment.

CreatorDB joins 500 Startups and plans to expand the database

CreatorDB has announced to join 500 Startups in early September with its seed round fundraising expected to close this year. Currently, their main focus is on Youtube and Instagram. In the future, in order to provide a more holistic influencer marketing management solution, they hope to integrate more functions from agency services into their platform and plan to add other mainstream social media platforms into their database.

TAGS: mdi-pound AI
About the Author
Winnie Wu
Author >

Winnie Wu is a journalist covering news about technology, business strategies, and startups -- inside and outside Taiwan, in Chinese and in English. She has also cooperated with Advantech and Scientific American.

Deeply drawn to discovering and sharing interesting stories and ideas, she plans to pursue a Master’s degree in Media and Communication overseas next year.

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