Is TrillerNet set for a different kind of IPO?

TrillerNet runs an app, Triller, that rivals Tik-Tok and a pay-per-view boxing broadcaster. It also has plans to go public, but the devil, as ever, is in the detail. Read on to find out more.

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What does TrillerNet do?

TrillerNet owns Triller, an app that allows people to create and share videos which are automatically synchronised to music. Triller was released for iOS and Android in 2015, meaning it predates its hugely popular rival TikTok. It initially functioned as a video editing app before social networking features were added.

Based in Los Angeles, California, TrillerNet has raised over $100 million to develop and market its app, with that money garnered mostly from investment banks, angel investors, and Hollywood studios.

In mid-2020, Triller gained prominence after TikTok was banned in India, and faced the threat of a ban in the United States.

But in November of the same, Triller expanded into something completely different, distributing a pay-per-view boxing event between Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. The broadcast incorporated appearances by internet, sports, music, and entertainment personalities and paved the way for a potential change of focus for TrillerNet.

The following month, Triller announced a partnership with veteran rapper Snoop Dogg to promote further boxing events.

How does TrillerNet make money?

Unlike TikTok, which pushes its own ads business to drive revenue, Triller’s commercial model revolves around working directly with social media influencers. It allows them to raise money from fans, advertisers and partnerships with music labels.

According to Timothy Armoo, CEO of influencer marketing agency FanBytes: “It’s very easy to grow an audience on Triller and you can actually leverage that following to grow elsewhere. We’ve seen great results with people growing a presence on there and then moving over [to] Instagram or Twitter.”

In other words, rather than the established social media norm of charging brands to advertise posts directly onto users’ feeds, it operates a more nuanced “middle-man” arrangement by serving as a platform directly committed to facilitating influencers.

Its live streaming services across sport, gaming and music provide a new income stream, whether through subscriptions or one-off payments.

What is TrillerNet's business strategy?

Unlike TikTok, Triller is committed to serving music fans more than just being a host of viral social media content.

People can film multiple takes of themselves rapping to songs and then use the app’s artificial intelligence to automatically pull the best content from those clips to make professional-looking music videos.

It has raised investment from star rappers including Snoop Dogg, which is a sign that many in the music industry believe Triller has a decent chance of being a lasting success.

Triller is focused on bridging the gap between viral video and music streams, allowing users to pull full songs — not just 15 seconds as on TikTok — from their Apple Music or Spotify playlists.

TikTok, on the other hand, seems to want to disrupt the music industry; that theory has been given credence by the fact ByteDance wants to launch a music streaming service. 

With all this said, there is a growing school of though that suggests TrillerNet’s route to becoming a major worldwide brand with long-term scope for growth may not even lie in social media at all.

There is potentially more scope for it to focus on hosting live events, mobile gaming and pay-per-view streaming.

It has more than 300 million users worldwide across its platforms. It has been on an acquisition spree in recent months, snapping up live-streaming music platform Verzuz, combat sports game streaming service Fite TV and marketing platform Amplify.ai.

Amplify.ai's co-founder and CEO Mahi de Silva was named TrillerNet's CEO in April. TrillerNet also owns Triller Fight Club, a live-event platform, and operates TrillerTV, a long-form content streaming platform with more than 65 original shows.

Is TrillerNet profitable?

TrillerNet is not yet profitable though in a best-case scenario it could report green numbers this year for the first time. Its projected revenue for 2021 is more than $250 million, CFO Paul Kahn told Reuters in April. If it rakes in that amount, it’s been reported that it could report a profit.

What do we know about TrillerNet’s IPO plans?

According to a June 14 bulletin from Reuters, TrillerNet had explored going public in 2020 through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). Those efforts dwindled, however, as investors began to lose faith in SPAC deals involving companies that were not already posting profits.

Far from a typical initial public offering, TrillerNet’s is not intending to sell any shares in its direct listing, which could come as early as September.

Instead, it is seeking to line up investors to raise $500 million by selling a 10% stake in the run-up to the direct listing through a private fundraising round.

Quoting an unnamed source, Reuters says TrillerNet plans to register its direct listing confidentially with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in July, hoping stock market investors will value it at more than $5 billion.

Who owns TrillerNet?

Hollywood financier Proxima Media, owned by Relativity Media co-founder Ryan Kavanaugh, is the biggest single stakeholder in TrillerNet.

Marshmello, The Weeknd and Lil Wayne are among the celebrity artists with financial interest in the company.

Pegasus Tech Ventures, a global venture capital firm based in Silicon Valley, also has a significant holding.

Who are the senior staff at TrillerNet?

  • Mahi de Silva, chief executive officer
  • Mike Lu, co-founder + President
  • David Leiberman, co-founder + EVP Growth
  • Claude Crevelle, GM f Europe
  • B. Bonin Bough, chief growth officer
  • Jay Moore, VP, digital marketing
  • Mark Dru, chief revenue officer
  • Paul Kahn, chief financial officer

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