As the creator economy continues to grow, expand, and evolve, we've curated a list of 50 exciting leaders to watch in this space. Influencers. Journalists. Operators at prominent creator-related platforms. Founders. These are the players—seen and unseen—who underpin the global creator ecosystem.
Ollie leads our global community with a focus on making Antler the best ecosystem for founders on the planet. He was previously at Molten Ventures (formerly known as Draper Esprit). In his spare time, he loves traveling and meeting new people. Contact him at email@example.com.
March 29, 2023
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As the creator economy continues to grow, expand, and evolve, we've curated a list of 50 exciting leaders to watch in this space.
Creators. Journalists. Operators at prominent creator-related platforms. Founders. These are the players—seen and unseen—who underpin the global creator ecosystem.
They document the sector’s evolution, catapult ideas to millions of followers in a flash, have a profound impact on how creators are able to create, and are constructing the infrastructure upon which creators can keep innovating.
Our list of 50 creators to watch includes influencers across the following roles:
Operators: Heads of creators, creator partnerships, or community who are at the forefront of allowing creators to monetize via their platforms.
Founders: Founders of rising platforms that a number of creators are starting to use and recommend to fellow creators.
Investors: The early investors in the creator space, many of whom are also creators themselves.
Creators: People who have either: 1. Shot to fame in a very short period of time (separate from the size of their following); or 2. Become notable creators in their country or subject matter.
Journalists: Reporters who are broadcasting the evolution of the sector in real time—and are influencers in their own right.
Meet the 50 creator economy players who caught our attention this year.
*Disclaimer: We acknowledge there are many other leaders who could have been featured. We have not excluded influencers based on gender, religion, race, or any other demographics. To submit a nomination for next year’s 50 Creators to Watch list, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why you should watch them this year: Sandy Lin is an influential creator who frequently shares thoughts and predictions on the creator economy on social media, including her 546K followers on TikTok. She is also the founder of Creobase, which is helping creators scale their creative business.
Why you should watch them this year: Julius Dein is a magician creator, mixing together interactive magic with comedy and travel culture, with over 11M followers on TikTok and 43M on Facebook. As a prominent voice in this space, he will often share challenges he faces as a creator.
Why you should watch them this year: Dylan Lemay is a TikToker who started making ice cream videos and turned his videos into an ice cream parlor. He now has over 11M followers on TikTok. He has proven that you can become an entrepreneur by focusing on a niche and using your audiences to build a global brand.
Why you should watch them this year: Kaya Yurieff is one of the most forward-thinking journalists in the creator space. She spearheads the daily creator economy newsletter by The Information, which tells readers everything they need to know about the new economy—from the platforms to the people to the deals.
Platform/Organization: Huge, If True Creator (TikTok: 1.2M, YouTube: 364K), Former Vox Journalist
Why you should watch them this year: Cleo Abraham (Creator) was previously a journalist at Vox before turning her creativity into a full time creator-career. She now works on a series of optimistic explainers called Huge, If True and has over 1M followers on TikTok.
Why you should watch them this year: Stephanie Smith is the host of VC Andreesen Horowitz’s a16z podcast, an influential show that discusses tech and culture trends, news, and the future—especially as "software eats the world." In her spare time, Stephanie also co-hosts a podcast called, Sh*t You Didn’t Learn in School.
Why you should watch them this year: Pplpleasr is one of the most prominent digital artists whose work has been featured in feature films (Batman vs. Superman, Wonder Woman, Star Trek Beyond), commercials, and Blizzard game cinematics. She also recently co-founded Shibuya, a Web3 native content studio and decentralized storytelling platform.
Why you should watch them this year: Max Fosh is one of the most notable British YouTube creators. At just 27, he now has amassed over 1.7 million YouTube subscribers. He recently hosted his first in-person comedy show.
Why you should watch them this year: Toba Courage is a UK-based YouTuber who is often seen filming money hacks and providing tips on how we can save money. His YouTube channel has reached over 860K subscribers in just a few years.
Why you should watch them this year: The former GM of VidCon, Jim Louderback is another OG creator economy thought leader known for his newsletter, Inside The Creator Economy (20K+ subscribers), which covers news, strategy, and analysis on the creator economy, as well as Web3 and the metaverse.
Why you should watch them this year: Monica Khan is the head of creator community at Spotter, the leading finance solution for content creators. Spotter provides creators with up-front cash and through licensing, deals, and investments, allows creators to stay in control of their financial futures.
Why you should watch them this year: Taylor Lorenz is a prolific creator and journalist for The Washington Post, who actively covers this space. In late 2022, she was permanently suspended from Twitter when she asked Elon Musk for comment on a story. Taylor has now amassed a community of 517K followers on TikTok.
Why you should watch them this year: Simon Wilson is often seen producing content focused on travel and entertainment. He began his creator career with a phone that he filmed and edited all his videos on. He has now grown his channel to 1M subscribers on YouTube and 5.8M subscribers on Facebook.
Why you should watch them this year: Josh Pieters is one of the most active YouTubers with 1.5M subscribers. He is often found playing practical pranks, ranging from flying a spy balloon over Chinese airspace and pranking Spiderman actor, Tom Holland, alongside his YouTube partner, Archie Manners.
Why you should watch them this year: Silvia Oviedo Lopez is the head of content, discovery and print at Canva—the largest online design platform for creators. Before joining Canva, Silvia was the head of global creators at Pinterest.
Why you should watch them this year: Ayumi Nakaima is the head of content and creators at Pinterest for the APAC region. In this role, not only does Ayumi lead the content and growth business, but she also develops Pinterest’s strategy for APAC creators, with the goal of helping them thrive on the platform.
Why you should watch them this year: Zac is a popular British comedy YouTuber with over 1.2M subscribers. He has done some of the world’s most bizarre things, such as pickpocketing a pickpocket and testing pet-friendly hotels with farm animals. His primary goal is to create stories that he can tell to his grandkids.
Why you should watch them this year: Jim Shepherd is the global head of creator and talent partnerships at Snapchat, where he leads relationships with celebrities and digital creators. He oversaw the Snap Stars program, which offers best-in-class services to members of Snap’s creative community. Highlights include launching permanent shopping destinations with the likes of Taylor Swift and Serena Williams.
Why you should watch them this year: Callie Schweitzer is the head of creator programs at LinkedIn. In her role, she oversees its Creator Accelerator Program, which is part of the platform’s $25 million commitment to support creators.
Why you should watch them this year: TaeYong Kim is one of the most forward-thinking entrepreneurial leaders in South Korea, creating regular content with global leaders to inspire the next generation of founders. Kim's show has become one of the most watched in the region.
Why you should watch them this year: Joshua Cohen is a journalist at Tubefilter, an influential daily newsletter covering the creator economy. Through its content, events, and creator advocacy programs, Tubefilter has supported the growth of a new, independent entertainment industry.
Why you should watch them this year: Marc Hustvedt is the President at MrBeast, one of most notable YouTubers on the platform. In his role as President, he is responsible for new initiatives, as well as the strategy and the success of MrBeast.
Why you should watch them this year: The duo are the hosts of the Colin and Samir Show—an ongoing series covering the creator economy, “about creators, for creators.” They have now amassed over 1.1M subscribers on YouTube and have collaborated with YouTubers big and small, including the likes of Will Smith.
Why you should watch them this year: Li Jin is a regular contributor to the creator economy, often sharing her views on the latest trends through her thought leadership pieces. She was the founder of creator economy focused fund Atelier Ventures, before joining forces with Variant Fund.
Why you should watch them this year: Catherine Yeo is a senior at Harvard. She is also the author of The Creator Revolution: How Today’s Creative Talents Are Shaping Our Tomorrow, one of the first books written about this space. The Creator Revolution examines the historic rise of digital content creators and their impact on transforming our world. In her spare time, she is a Venture Partner for Contrary VC.
Why you should watch them this year: Lewis Crosbie is the co-founder and CEO of Komi, the ultimate creator hub. Komi’s vision is to empower creators to build deeper and more direct relationships with their audiences. Their first product is the world’s best landing page for the creator economy.
Platform/Organization: Creator and YouTuber (137M)
Why you should watch them this year: With over 137M YouTube subscribers, MrBeast is one of the most notable creators globally, known for creating a genre of YouTube videos that focuses on expensive stunts.
Why you should watch them this year: Emma Chamberlain is one of the early adopters and most prominent names on YouTube. She won the 2018 Streamy Award for Breakout Creator. Emma is also the founder of Chamberlains Coffee.
Why you should watch them this year: Roberto Blake is a YouTuber and a forward-thinking leader who highlights the latest and most pressing challenges of the creator economy. With over 580K subscribers on YouTube, Roberto also publishes weekly context on how you can turn your passion into an income.
Why you should watch them this year: Ryan Wyatt is the former global head of gaming at YouTube where he led the overall strategy before shifting gears to become President at Polygon Labs, which develops Ethereum scaling solutions.
Why you should watch them this year: Chloe Shih is a social media influencer known for her “day in the life” of a tech worker videos. She is also a product manager at Discord enabling creators to build global communities.
Why you should watch them this year: Derek Yang works as the group product manager at Discord where he oversees creator products. Derek also runs an email subscription called Advance the Creator Economy, where he reflects on the future of the creator economy.
Why you should watch them this year: Emily Lakin is the head of creator community at Patreon. Emily leads a team that has oversight across Patreon’s online community and community programs. Their goal is to enable the success of creators using the platform.
Why you should watch them this year: Sara Snyder is the head of creator partnerships at YouTube where she is responsible for engaging and growing public figures on YouTube. Sara and her team provide strategic 1:1 support, content idea generation, and helps foster partner collaborations.
Platform/Organization: Night Media, Influencer (Instagram: 99K)
Why you should watch them this year: Reed Duchscher is another thought leader in the creator economy, often sharing his views on the space. He is also the manager to MrBeast, as well as Karl Jacobs, Arun Maini, and Michelle Chin to name a few.
Why you should watch them this year: Marques Brownlee is an influential YouTuber and podcaster with over 16.7M subscribers, who reviews the latest technology products and gadgets. Marques has been called "the best technology reviewer on the planet right now" by Vic Gundotra, former SVP of Google.
Why you should watch them this year: Cherie Luo is a creator, product builder, and MBA candidate at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. She shares her thoughts on the creator economy through her social channels and her substack, Last Week Today with Cherie.
Why you should watch them this year: Jeff Olson is the head of global creator partnerships and sales at Jellysmack, a global creator company that uses technology and data to help creators scale their business. In Jeff’s role, he is responsible for growing existing partnerships and fostering new creator opportunities.
Why you should watch them this year: Prajakta Koli is one of the most notable YouTubers from India. She is known for her channel, MostlySane, where she makes comedic videos and has now amassed over 7.5M followers on Instagram and 6.8M on YouTube. In 2022, she became the United Nations Development Programme India’s first Youth Climate Champion.
Why you should watch them this year: Hyram Yarbro is one of the most popular creators talking about all things skincare on TikTok and YouTube. Hyram’s videos include product reviews, advice on skincare, as well as reaction videos to skincare routines. He recently launched Justaposition, a podcast on “vulnerability, social commentary, and (of course), skincare.”
Why you should watch them this year: Addison Rae is a global creator with over 88M followers on TikTok. Addison started dancing competitively at age six and began posting dancing videos on TikTok in 2019. Now, she is one of the most followed individuals on the platform.
Why you should watch them this year: Archie Manners runs the “Josh & Archie” YouTube channel alongside Josh Pieters. Separately, Archie is also a television personality, known for hosting MTV’s The Royal World and Comedy Central’s Trickheads.
Why you should watch them this year: Barrie Segal is the head of creators at Reddit—the largest online platform forum for discussing topical conversations. Previously, she was head of content and community at Dubsmash.
Why you should watch them this year: Connie Chan is an investor at Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), one of the most active creator economy investors. Connie is well-known for her deep knowledge of the Chinese consumer technology landscape and is often tapped as an expert to translate how trends move from Asia to the West. She also sits on the board of Cider, Whatnot, and KoBold.
Why you should watch them this year: Moritz Baier-Lentz is a Partner and Head of Gaming at Lightspeed, one of the most active creator economy investors, with over 500+ investments across the US, Europe, and Asia—including Epic Games, Stability AI, and Snap. Moritz loves to partner with exceptional entrepreneurs, many of whom have been leading the creation of games like Fortnite, Call of Duty, League of Legends, and more.
Why you should watch them this year: Talia Goldberg is an investor at Bessemer Venture Partners, one of the most active creator economy investors. Talia joined Bessemer in 2013 and later became the youngest elected partner in firm history. She was featured in Forbes 30 Under 30 and is especially passionate about platforms that create new categories or help improve the way we live and work.
Why you should watch them this year: Caspar Lee is a YouTuber with over 6M subscribers and is the co-founder of Influencer.com, a data-led, global influencer marketing business, named one of the Top 50 fastest growing tech companies in 2022 by Deloitte. Their end-to-end influencer marketing platform and impact studio turns creators’ audiences into brands' consumers—at scale.
Why you should watch them this year: Joe Sugg is a YouTuber who has been posting content for the last 11 years and has now amassed over 7M YouTube subscribers. In 2018, he co-founded the Margravine Talent Agency and in 2022, launched Final Straw Productions, a production studio backed by the BBC to develop factual entertainment content.
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