A group of celebrity YouTubers whose online antics have amassed millions of fans have embarked on a whole new real-world challenge: starting a VC fund, Sifted has learned.
Known as the Sidemen, the seven-strong group publishes viral content on a YouTube channel with more than 20m followers. The members are involved in multiple business ventures, including clothing lines and food and beverage brands.
Sources have told Sifted that the VC firm is called Upside VC; Companies House filings reveal that two members of the Sidemen, Joshua Bradley, known as Zerkaa, and Vikram Singh Barn, known as Vikkstar, were directors of Upside VC until recently.
All seven members of the Sidemen are also registered at Companies House as directors of Sidemen Ventures, incorporated in 2021.
A spokesperson for the Sidemen declined to comment about a fund, but said the group is looking into a couple of different investment vehicles. The spokesperson said: “We can see that startups can gain massively from engaging with creators, and similarly creators are increasingly willing to engage more deeply with relevant startups.
“Once fans can also benefit from these types of arrangements, it's win-win-win.”
The Sidemen are not the first celebrities to throw their hats into the VC ring — they are not even the first YouTubers. YouTuber Caspar Lee launched the $20m Creator Ventures with former private equity investor Sasha Kaletsky last year.
Investors say that celebrity investors have value for founders beyond “a shiny sticker on a press release” that attracts media attention: they can lend their “incredible black books” to connect portfolio companies to potential clients or partners, and offer insights into building brands and running media and entertainment companies based on their own experiences.
Sources have told Sifted that the group has been speaking to companies in the social media and creator economy space, as well as inviting some founders to its charity football match, held in early September.