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Niche, the NY startup that shares the secrets of megastar social media creators with brands and advertisers

New York social media start­up Niche, which has just raised $2.5 mil­lion in ven­ture fund­ing, has some valu­able secrets to share. But what are they? The more per­spic­u­ous con­tent man­ag­er will be aware that there’s a new breed of celebri­ty out there: these peo­ple may not be house­hold names in meat­space, but on Tum­blr, Insta­gram, Vine and YouTube, they’re megas­tars wield­ing enor­mous influence.

Going native with social media stars

Enter Niche, a com­mu­ni­ty of tal­ent­ed social media influ­encers (known as “cre­ators”) who the start­up links with pub­lish­ers in need of the secrets of their reach and fol­low­ing. Niche’s star cre­ators now num­ber 2,500 (it was launched last Fall by for­mer Buz­zFeed, YouTube and Huff Post exec­u­tives) and it has accrued a stag­ger­ing 507 mil­lion fol­low­ers in less than a year.

So how, the inquir­ing con­tent man­ag­er will be won­der­ing, does it work? When adver­tis­ers sign up to Niche’s plat­form, they get access to between 5 and 50 of the startup’s cre­ators, who between them are dab hands at mak­ing Insta­gram pho­tos, Vines, YouTube videos and a host of oth­er types of con­tent. That con­tent then gets mas­sive­ly shared with their hordes of fol­low­ers (these peo­ple are social media megas­tars, don’t for­get). Need­less to say, brands get approval pri­or to shar­ing and they’re care­ful­ly matched with cre­ators who are rel­e­vant to their prod­uct or message.

A start­up to watch

The result? An engag­ing and high­ly influ­en­tial piece of brand­ed con­tent that reach­es seri­ous­ly big audi­ences. No won­der Niche co-founder Rob Fish­man calls the start­up a “native adver­tis­ing fac­to­ry”: it helps adver­tis­ers reach social media plat­forms in a style that is seam­less­ly native to those very plat­forms, cour­tesy of the care­ful­ly matched cre­ators. The lat­ter get paid for their efforts, too: 500 of them were paid over $650,000 in the last four months alone.

Niche ensures that brands don’t end up with the all-too-com­mon social media fail­ures that arise from a cor­po­rate inabil­i­ty to under­stand the nuances of the dif­fer­ent plat­forms as fine­ly as the cre­ators do.

It’s been oper­at­ing prof­itably since launch and was named this month by Time Inc as one of the “10 NYC Star­tups to Watch.” The new fund­ing will go into build­ing out the plat­form and grow­ing the startup’s 15-strong team.

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