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YouTuber-turned-entrepreneur Caspar Lee on why he quit; tips for aspiring creators

Lee quit YouTube at the peak of his career leaving millions of subscribers surprised.
PUBLISHED JUL 2, 2024
Cover image source: Caspar lee attends the UK Premiere of "Joe & Casper Hit The Road USA" | Getty Images | Photo by Fred Duval
Cover image source: Caspar lee attends the UK Premiere of "Joe & Casper Hit The Road USA" | Getty Images | Photo by Fred Duval

Caspar Lee, former YouTuber and serial entrepreneur, has created a career path that very few could follow. At his peak, the British-South African creator had millions of subscribers and the potential to earn millions of dollars through the YouTube partner program and sponsorships. However, in 2019, Lee chose to quit YouTube and forge a career as an entrepreneur. And just like YouTube, he found tremendous success with his ventures as well. Lee recently shared his experience and tips for budding entrepreneurs.

Caspar Lee and KSI attend the
Caspar Lee and KSI attend the "Laid In America" World Premiere at Cineworld | Getty Images | Photo by Dave J Hogan/Dave J Hogan

At the height of his YouTube success, Caspar Lee collaborated with a host of celebrities Ed Sheeran, Dwayne Johnson, Chris Pratt, Kevin Hart, and more for videos. He even starred in the film, “Spud”, and executive-produced the “Joe and Caspar Hit The Road,” show for the BBC. However, his sudden disappearance from the platform left his fans wondering.



 

“It’s really hard to maintain an audience of that level,” Lee told CNBC.  “It probably comes across [as] easy, but as YouTube progressed, it became more and more competitive,” he added.

Lee mentioned that he wanted to do something outside of YouTube, as he did not want to rely on his content and the platform in his my 30s and 40s. Thus, Lee started his entrepreneurial journey.

“Just like when I started YouTube, when there weren’t that many doing it, I wanted to start this next thing before too many people were doing it,” Lee said.



 

Lee started his first venture in 2017, the influencer marketing company Influencer.com. Alongside Ben Jeffries, Lee serves as the chief vision officer at the social media influencer marketing platform. At the time of its inception, the company raised £3 million (~$3.6 million at the time) in the Series A round led by Puma Private Equity, as per Tech Crunch.



 

Lee then partnered with fellow YouTuber Joe Suggs to establish the talent management company MVE in 2018. The company was formed in partnership with IMG and Endeavor Group, and today it provides management services to a global roster of creatives across its London and LA offices.

After MVE, Lee co-founded Proper Living, a Cape Town-based accommodation platform for students and young professionals.

By 2020, he made it to the Forbes “30 Under 30” list in Europe for his work with Influencer.com.

His most successful venture so far is the London-based venture capital firm Creator Ventures. Lee co-founded the company in 2022 along with his cousin Sasha Kaletsky, a former private equity investment professional.

The firm is on its first $20 million fund within months to invest in several consumer-internet startups. The firm’s portfolio includes the artificial intelligence language learning app Praktika,  a newsletter platform for creators Beehiiv, and Eleven Labs, a text-to-speech, AI voice generator.



 

Lee feels creators are natural entrepreneurs. However, he also feels that creators who want to become successful entrepreneurs need to stand out on their own without relying on their fame.



 

“It can only go so far with that kind of leg up it gets from the creator,” Lee said. Thus, he recommends building businesses that rely on delivering amazing services. 

He also wants those who want to be content creators to do YouTube for fun rather than focusing on making money because the chances of financial success are low. He advises aspiring YouTubers to find a way to be successful without relying on followers or fame.

“When you’re creating content about yourself, you do rely on your own relevancy. Whereas if you can figure out how to make content, maybe about a specific subject, you can rely on the relevancy of that subject,” he told CNBC.

“Something I also encourage creators to think about is, how can you rely less on your own relevancy while being able to continuously create content?”

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