Adtech Startup Ryff Wants to Bring Product Placement to the Creator Economy

Ryff, whose digitized product placement service provides brands a tailored spot in films and television, is shifting its attention to the creator economy.

The stepping stone to L.A.-based company's newest effort to tap into the growing sphere — a service called Spheera — is being helped along by a $11.7 million Series A raise led by Audent Global Asset Management, announced this week.

Ryff CEO Roy Taylor described it in a statement as "the world's first platform for the creator economy aimed specifically for every type of entertainment."

What that exactly means is still a bit unclear; Ryff spokesperson Genine Fallon declined to disclose more information about what Spheera will be. She did, however, emphasize the importance of helping creators get paid.

"We love Creators - everyone loves Story telling - we believe it is time that they get paid what they are worth," Fallon said by email.

Established in 2018, Ryff uses a combination of artificial intelligence and computer visioning to assess opportunities for product placement in a television show, movie or other type of content and then insert images of products onto them. For example, an empty space on a counter or a table in a film could easily be occupied by a soda can or a cereal box.

From left: Ryff CEO & Founder Roy Taylor and Managing Partner and Audent Global Asset Management Chief Investment Officer Paul Feinstein.Photo by Jason C. Williams

Fallon said this has proven successful for brands, who, he said, see at least a 300% improvement over traditional advertising.

As viral content on the internet draws a bigger audience, it's easy to see the opportunities the creator economy offers Ryff. According to influencer marketing company NeoReach, 77% of the roughly 50 million creators in the world today make the majority of their income from brand deals, which could mean big returns for the creators as well.

"The entire process is executed semi-autonomously so the creators can just focus on what they do best, creating viral content, while getting paid for their art," said MaC Ventures Managing Partner Marlon Nichols, who participated in the raise. "And, brands now have another avenue to reach prospective consumers world wide in a way that doesn't interrupt their experience with their preferred social platform."

Neoreach also found that, as of June 2021, $800 million in venture capital investments have gone to creator economy startups since October 2020. Several of these, including L.A.-based Willa, are devoted specifically to paying creators.