Jun 21, 2022 - Economy & Business

Former OnlyFans CEO unveils his next act

Illustration of a leg stepping into a spotlight.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Tim Stokely knows this is a fraught moment to talk up his new web3 startup, a celebrity digital collectables platform called Zoop. And he doesn't particularly want to discuss OnlyFans, the pornographic social media juggernaut he built and led before abruptly leaving last December.

  • But when it comes to next acts, passion tops timing.

Why it matters: OnlyFans grew a multi-billion dollar business that not only leveraged sex, but also a keen understanding of how influencers and fans interact. Stokely and partner RJ Phillips, a onetime Morgan Stanley trader who later became an OnlyFans finance exec, believe they can apply those lessons to Zoop.

  • They also believe Zoop will be more amenable to outside investors, including a $4 million round that's expected to close imminently.
  • To date, the company has been funded by Phillips and Stokley, who says he no longer has an equity stake in OnlyFans (he declined to disclose details of his exit package).

What it does: Zoop will create digital avatar NFTs, beginning with a series of popular influencers and A-list celebrities, which users can buy, trade and use in third-party games. It will include a play-to-earn model, and plans to keep prices low so as to encourage large collections and for users to join relevant fan communities.

  • Avatars will be created in licensed collaboration with the celeb or influencer, who will receive 70% of primary sale proceeds. Moving forward, less "known" individuals (e.g., college athletes, etc.) can create Zoop avatars, using an authentication system that sounds pretty similar to how OnlyFans verifies its models.

Launch window: Stokely and Phillips say the app is ready and was scheduled to launch during this week's big NFT event in New York. But they've decided to push back at least a month, given the raging crypto blizzard.

  • "We're really not concerned about the drop in crypto asset values, or even what's happened to some other play-to-earn environments, because we'll always be a dollar exchange despite our tokens," Phillips says. "But we want to make sure there's some segregation from everything going on right now."

The bottom line: This isn't a team to sleep on, even if so many NFT projects go straight from grand ambition to the scrap heap. Stokely and Phillips claim to already have a bunch of top influencers and celebs signed and, if true, Zoop could be standing tall when the thaw arrives.

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