YouTube’s reputation is usually calculated in hours, days, weeks, or possibly months if all goes well. It often doesn’t go much further – for years to come. What makes the comedians of Rhett and Link running for nine years are having daily show “Good Mythical Morning” drops 17.1 million subscribers, which is surprising even to them.

“It was all so unknown when we first started,” says Rhett, 43. “We focused very much just on,‘ How can we do this and take care of our families? “

“If you had told us about our current situation 15 years ago, I would have been proud and very relieved,” says Link, also 43. “It’s been scary. Would we have wanted more support? Definitely. Would we have wanted someone we could imitate? Definitely.”

Rhett, aka Rhett James McLaughlin and Link, aka Charles Lincoln Neal III, have already established themselves as YouTube’s grand old men and two of the platform’s most ever lucrative stars, Forbes the most deserving YouTube list. (They’ve made it every year since we started investing in 2015, the last time we landed last place No. 4 at $ 20 million last year.) In recent years, they’ve shown an increasing desire to think bigger than their variety. , and in 2019, they dipped their toes into an area that is still largely uncharted for YouTube: M&A. , with 25.1 million subscribers today.

For the next act, they also want to be investors, and they’ve set aside $ 5 million to start their mighty Mythical Accelerator fund, using the money to acquire stakes in other social media star companies. “We’ve always been interested in building ourselves outside, building significant companies, hopefully something that looks like a studio with other people who have managed to build a fandom on the Internet,” Brian Flanagan says. He is the Chief Operating Officer of Mythical Entertainment, a role he previously held at Demarest Media, which produced e.g. 2016 Oscar nominees Jigsaw ridge. “We believe we can then invest and then use a lot of expertise, advice and growth guidance for people,” he says. “They have developed a great fandom, and their fandom is loyal, highly committed and growing.”

With the help of Flanagan, Rhett and Link aim to be similar to venture capitalists who have urgently pushed money into the flu industry – the creator’s economy, if you will call it that – towards the end of the year. The recent focus on space is a clear change several years ago, when Instagram and Facebook seemed to dominate social media, and influencers were seen as irrelevant cousins ​​to Hollywood.

Rhett and Link have already made their first investment: in the upcoming YouTuber Jarvis Johnson, by taking a minority stake in the company they set up as an umbrella for their various income streams. Additional terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Johnson, 29, is exemplary of the types of stars Rhett and Link associate with funding. First, like Rhett and Link, Johnson is advertiser-friendly. (This matters a lot: Almost every social media star still generates most of their revenue through ads displayed on their videos or other types of corporate sponsorship.) “I make comedy videos,” he says. “Well, I hope they are comedy Videos. “He ‘s funny enough to watch 1.6 million subscribers his comments on Internet culture and other YouTubes, a discussion of “what other people do and what other people talk about,” he says. His most popular video, with nearly 10 million views, criticizes a YouTube channel called “Five Minute Crafts.” A series that Johnson rejects as a “ridiculous click.”

“Whenever I see a low stake opportunity go somewhere – but I also ask,‘ Hey, why does one exist? “- it’s a space I find myself in,” Johnson says.

Prior to searching for his own Internet reputation, Johnson worked as a software designer at Yelp and Patreon, providing content producers with an easy subscription model to use and generate more revenue. It was in Patreon where he first encountered Mythical Entertainment’s Flanagan at a meeting that was a real moment: Johnson didn’t have to be there and he had to ask a friend to sign up. (“I was like sneaking into meetings I didn’t have to be,” he admits.) At that point, Johnson was already wondering if he should set up his own YouTube channel, and he and Flanagan stayed in touch. (“I really appreciate his work for having a very bad sense of humor about what’s both good and bad with Internet entertainment,” Flanagan says.) Contract negotiations started late last year and were mostly held. via telephone and video calls; Johnson has not yet met Rhett in person and has only met Link once face to face.

Rhett and Link liked Johnson’s interest in expanding his brand in addition to his takeover. In addition to his main page, he has added five other YouTube channels, Twitch Stream and podcast he lives with a friend, Sad Boyz. He plans to mainly use Mythical’s money to hire a handful of staff for production. “For me, the goal of all of this is to build a healthy, sustainable business for myself and my employees,” Johnson says.

Rhett and Link have certainly made their own relationship last. The couple met at a first-grade Buies Creek elementary school in Harnett County, North Carolina, and later in one state in North Carolina, where Rhett studied civil engineering, Link Industrial Engineering. For a time, Rhett worked in the Kansas City design office for Black & Veatch, while Link joined IBM. They got bored and decided to play on YouTube in 2012, securing for themselves a place there in previous years, excited about pieces like food – seasoning fish bait one day, a game that guesses whether the product will come from Whole Foods or a dollar store on the other. They have since expanded several podcasts; subscription-based fan club (starting at $ 5 per month); and a range of products that includes Mythical branded shaving oil, aprons and combs among many other products.

The couple says they use the Mythical Accerlator fund to invest in influencers based on any social platform, not just YouTube. But they want to see potential recipients reach their goal on multiple sites – hopefully YouTube as well, which continues to offer content producers the best chance of making money through advertising revenue sharing agreements. They continue to consider exactly how large the audience and revenue of content producers should be in order to earn an investment.

“We want to find other creators who want to cross the same bridges as we’ve crossed, answer the same questions, build teams around them – and build a brand,” Rhett says.

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