OnlyFans, an online platform where adult film actors, influencers and celebrities share video clips, photos and messages directly with subscribers for a monthly fee, is reportedly seeking new funding at a valuation above $1bn.
According to Bloomberg, the British startup is working with an adviser who can help it widen its pool of investors and take support from them to become a more mainstream media platform, moving away from its reputation as a place to find pornography in the process.
The website also wants to expand its celebrity base from adult film stars to include a broad range of celebrities and athletes who connect with their fans using the platform.
Among the most popular stars already on the platform are professional boxer Floyd Mayweather, English rugby player Chris Robshaw, rapper Cardi B and the actor Bella Thorne. In fact, Thorne, who has an estimated net worth of between $5m and $12m, claimed to have made $2m within days of joining the site in August 2020.
The popularity of the website particularly exploded during the coronavirus lockdowns, taking its user base from 20 million before the pandemic to over 120 million, reported the Financial Times.
“Once the pandemic came around and strip clubs started shutting, [OnlyFans] became so oversaturated because it was just every single sex worker, or just anyone in general, realising there was money to be made,” content creator Brooklyn Rose was quoted as saying by the Guardian.
Founded by Tim Stokely in 2016, OnlyFan allows creators to sell their videos, messages and articles to fans at a subscription price anywhere between $5 and $50 a month, with the platform taking a share of 20 per cent from the payment made.
With more celebrities and athletes joining the platform, OnlyFans aims not only to offer a glimpse into the personal lives of the rich and famous but also to attract new advertisers who would previously have been sceptical of its reputation for adult content.