In its quest to win back the love of influencers and stay alive in Facebook’s world, Snap has created an incubator for content creators called Yellow (aka the color of Snapchat).
Snap described Yellow as a “launchpad for creative minds and entrepreneurs who are looking to build the next generation of great media companies” in its May 23 blog post. The program lasts for three months, with the first group running from Sept. 10 to Dec. 7. Snap will provide funding; mentorship; networking events; workspace in Venice, California; and distribution through Snapchat.
The program could be an opportunity for a recent college grad, someone currently working inside a media company, a homegrown Snapchat influencer or anyone interested in creating mobile-first content. The publishers we spoke with had questions on what exactly Yellow requires.
Why is Snapchat doing this?
Snap hasn’t always been the most welcoming to even the homegrown stars of its platform. The company also angered some high-profile celebrities, including Rihanna and Chrissy Teigen, due to an insensitive ad about Rihanna. Meanwhile, average users are upset with the app’s redesign.
Those problems, among others, have potential applicants concerned about “being taken advantage of. Business insight doesn’t always come naturally to creators, despite how successful they may be as a creator,” said one interested applicant who runs a content studio.
One reason Snap created in Yellow is that it follows the company’s point of view that mobile is a new medium that requires custom content, according to a Snap spokesperson. A Snap spokesperson said Yellow also was inspired by the company’s media partners in Discover. It’s similar to Snap launching Truffle Pig with WPP to help advertisers create vertical video ads.
How much equity are they taking?
Snap said it’s investing $150,000 in funding for each company accepted to Yellow, but it did not share any additional information on the terms of the investments.
“‘Investment for equity’ is so shady,” said Joshua Kozak, a fitness creator. “How much equity? Legit accelerators are upfront with their terms. This reads: ‘investment for as much equity as we can squeeze out of you.’”
A Snap spokesperson declined to give a specific equity percentage, but said it should be in line with other accelerators.
It would be quite ironic if Snap tried to screw with founder’s equity given the bad terms Evan Spiegel received from initial investor Jeremy Liew from Lightspeed Venture Partners.
Do I have to make content for Snapchat?
Snap said it’s looking for people with expertise in augmented reality (within phones, headsets, glasses or other devices), interactive storytelling and narrative storytelling. Each storyteller should be focused on mobile.
Yellow also isn’t just a direct pipeline into Snapchat Discover. Participants may have an opportunity to be a part of that, but regardless, Yellow participants can make content for other platforms such Facebook, YouTube or Twitter (cc: Vine co-founder Dom Hofmann for V2).
How competitive is Yellow?
It depends on how many people apply. Snap is accepting 10 participants into Yellow. Participants can mean one person or a team of people.
In regard to background or experience, Snap is interested in filmmakers, editors, producers, writers, influencers, founders of early-stage companies, college graduates or anyone with a good idea in the mobile-first content space, a Snap spokesperson said.
Snapchat listed content themes on its website: beauty and style, business and entrepreneurship, design, esports, gaming, health and fitness, humor and comedy, journalism, news and politics, music, pets and animals, science and technology, social causes and activism, sports travel culture, youth and student life.
Will Snap pay for my moving costs?
No. Snap is requiring all participants to live in Venice, California, for the duration of Yellow, but it isn’t directly covering those costs. The $150,000 participants get could apply to that, of course.
Participants can be from outside the United States, but Snap won’t cover visa costs.
A Snap spokesperson said the company could direct participants to rental agents or other service providers. Snap also will allow people to keep earning an income, if they already do, whether it’s their old job or branded content. All participants just need to be committed to the full-time program.