OnlyFans, the website where DIY porn stars rub shoulders with chefs, fitness instructors and celebrities to charge fans for personal videos is hunting investors in a raise which values the business at more than $1 billion, it was reported today.
Essex-born founder Tim Stokely, the son of an ex-Barclays investment banker, has been described as “the king of homemade porn” but is keen to find backers to fund a shift away from adult content into more mainstream media.
Bloomberg reported that the company was particularly seeking to put more athletes and celebrities on the site, enabling it to bring in more ad revenue.
Currently, the 18+ nature of much of its content is putting off big-name brands, the reports said.
It has made some progress with rapper Cardi B and boxer Floyd Mayweather both starring while model Lottie Moss and actress Bella Thorne also host accounts.
West Ham fan Stokely said: “Athletes are a creator genre we’re seeing a lot of growth in,”
The OnlyFans platform is said to have handled revenues for its stars of more than $2 billion last year , with more than $400 million of that dropping down to the company in fees.
Based in London, it is now growing at a rate of 100% a year, Bloomberg reported.
Stokely founded OnlyFans in 2016 and has more than 100 million users.
He told GQ earlier this year that he had they idea for the site when he saw influencers creating “great content” but only getting paid for it through product endorsements or ad campaigns.
He decided to try offering them a platform allowing them to post similar content than on other social media but with the benefit of a payment button so they could earn from the content.
Users have to over 18, but Stokely claims that is for payment reasons rather than a desire to attract porn stars.
However, he acknowledged to GQ: “that allowed us to have more progressive and liberal content policies than other social media platforms.”
His ex-banker father is currently the chief financial officer of the group.
One breakthrough moment for the business was when Beyonce namechecked it on a remix of Megan Thee Stallion’s hit Savage. “Hips TikTok when I dance/On that demon time, she might start an OnlyFans” she raps.