CJ Group makes strategic investment in global fandom business startup

By Lim Chang-won Posted : May 10, 2022, 15:56 Updated : May 10, 2022, 15:56

[Courtesy of bemyfriends]

SEOUL -- Two CJ Group units made a strategic investment in bemyfriends, a global fandom business startup in South Korea, to strengthen global direct-to-consumer marketing through non-fungible tokens and artificial intelligence technology. They will work together to maximize synergy and strengthen their leadership of the creator economy.

bemyfriends said that it has attracted 22.4 billion won ($17.6 million) from CJ, the holding company of CJ Group, and CJ OliveNetworks, an IT service management wing. The startup said that its bespoke platform builder, "b.stage," helps creators express themselves, share content, communicate with fans, and generate profits.

"Following the recent global launch of our bespoke platform builder, b.stage, the timing of CJ's investment in bemyfriends couldn’t be better," Steve Seo, co-CEO of bemyfriends, said in a statement on May 10. "We will lead the expansion of the creator economy by combining b.stage with CJ Group's diverse range of content, technology and infrastructure."

bemyfriends would work with CJ Group's business-to-consumer (B2C) brands and entertainment intellectual properties. Seo's company promised to be proactive in identifying opportunities to introduce its fandom platform-building global software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution to CJ Group's wide network of external partners.

The creator economy, which allows creators and brands to directly communicate with fans and generate profits, is growing rapidly as social media and media platforms continue to mature. Creator economy startups focused on paid services are growing fast.

CJ proposed alliances that will connect b.stage to potential customers across the group's vast network of entertainment IPs, brands and external partners, including influencers, music and video companies, which have the greatest need for bespoke fandom platforms. 

The startup said that b.stage makes it easy for any creator or brand to build their own platform, and complete the ownership of whatever they create. The solution includes differentiated functions ranging from exclusive content to limited-edition merchandise sales and subscription membership services, and also provides owners with the support they need to directly engage with fans and streamline monetization.

b.stage's creator ecosystem would be upgraded using CJ Group's technology and infrastructure. Specific areas of focus will include NFT planning and production, automatic clip creation, an AI-powered function for blocking harmful content, e-fulfillment-based logistics services, and connecting CJ’s b.stage-powered platforms to offline stores. 

NFT is a unit of data stored on a blockchain network of interlinked virtual ledgers. Each NFT is certified by a blockchain as a unique digital asset that is not interchangeable. The technology can be used in the content industry where proof of ownership is crucial.
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