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Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

Venture capitalists are plowing money into startups that help content creators to directly monetize their work.

Driving the news: Patreon, a platform that connects creators with fans, today will announce $155 million in fresh funding at a $4 billion valuation.

  • Audio platform Clubhouse, which just launched a payments feature for creators, reportedly is raising new money at a $4 billion valuation.
  • Last week: Newsletter platform Substack snared $65 million at a $650 million valuation, celeb messaging app Cameo added $100 million at a valuation north of $1 billion and music distribution startup UnitedMasters secured $50 million in an Apple-led round.
  • Roblox, which paid more than $300 million to game creators last year, in January raised $520 million from VCs before going public.

Many of these platforms are seeking to both disintermediate and become the new intermediaries.

  • One loser in this new paradigm is the digital advertising model.
  • Marc Andreessen, whose venture capital firm has backed both Clubhouse and Substack, has argued that the internet is in a "third wave" of content monetization, where direct-to-creator spend will dominate.

The bottom line: This trend is only accelerating, including into burgeoning areas like NFTs. The more money that goes in, the more that may go out to creators.

Go deeper

Clubhouse teams up with Stripe for payments feature

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Clubhouse is rolling out the ability to send payments directly to other users, partnering with digital payment company Stripe to facilitate the feature.

Why it matters: Clubhouse has touted plans to help conversation hosts generate revenue on the app amid a growing push for creators of digital and social media content be better compensated. Hosts receiving money will get to keep the entire amount for now.

Health care ruling saves Republicans from themselves

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Supreme Court saved the health care system from imploding Thursday by dismissing a Republican challenge to the Affordable Care Act. But it also saved the GOP itself from another round of intraparty chaos.

Why it matters: Most GOP lawmakers privately admit (and some will even say publicly) they don't want to deal with health care again. The issue generally isn't a good one for them with voters — as they learned the hard way after they failed to repeal the ACA in 2017.

8 hours ago - Economy & Business

Fed chief's second-term audition

Jerome Powell during a virtual news conference. Photo: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell faces a long, hot summer audition for a second term, with senators watching and weighing his response to potential signs of inflation.

Why it matters: The financial system's chief is one of the most powerful in the world. President Biden hasn’t given any public indication whether he’ll renominate Powell, but Democrats close to the administration say there's a chance he'll make an announcement by Labor Day — well before Powell’s term ends next February.