Some investors have started moving away from Dispo, a rapidly growing photo-sharing app, after its co-founder, David Dobrik, the founder of YouTube, dragged into controversy.
Dispo, launched in 2019, is a photo-based social platform similar to Instagram that mimics the experience of using a disposable camera. Photos taken through the Dispo app take 24 hours to “grow” and appear on user feeds.
In October, Dispo raised $ 4 million in a funding round led by Seven Seven Six, the company of Alexis Ohanian, the co-founder of Reddit. In February, the company raised an additional $ 20 million in funding led by Spark Capital; Dispo worth of funding is $ 200 million.
But in an Insider investigation published last week, Mr. Dobrik was accused of playing a role in the sexual assault scandal involving a former member of his “Vlog Squad”. He then told The Information that he would leave Dispo and resign its board. And some of Dispo’s investors have also started to step back.
On Sunday, Spark Capital said it would “sever all ties” with Dispo. “We have given up our board position and we are in the process of arranging to make sure we don’t get a return on our recent investment in Dispo,” said the joint venture. posted on Twitter.
On Monday, Mr. Ohanian and Seven Seven Six also released a statement calling the charges against Mr. Dobrik “extremely disturbing” and “directly in conflict with the Seven Seven Six core values”. Mr. Ohanian posted on Instagram that he and Seven Seven Six both support Mr. Dobrik’s choice to resign from the company.
Seven Seven Six is also mentioned above Twitter that they would donate any profits from their investment “to an organization that works with sexual assault survivors”.
Unshackled Ventures, another early investor at Dispo, said on Monday it would also donate any return on its investment to institutions focused on survivors. Sex workers, including Maitri, are organizations focused on helping South Asians survive domestic violence.
“We’re a mostly female team, so don’t take this lightly. We fully support their decision to break up with David, ”Unshackled Ventures said in a statement.
Dispo and Mr. Dobrik did not respond to a request for comment.
Over the past year, many investors have become infatuated with the influencer world. “I feel like something has clearly changed over the past year among investors and it seems people are talking about the creative economy and investing in innovator tools,” said Li. Jin, the founder of Atelier, a venture firm that invests in the creator space, said The New York Times in December.
But a number of YouTube celebrities have been fired over the past year for racism-related scandals and sexual assault.
Mr. Dobrik is one of YouTube’s most popular creators with more than 18.7 million subscribers on his main channel. After gaining popularity on Vine, the short video app, he and a group of friends called “Vlog Squad” began creating short, humorous content, often involving stunts for sites like YouTube, TikTok and Instagram.