Tulane business expert, alumnus discuss how social media influencers can now thrive

For years, creators and influencers have flocked to social media platforms to attract followers and promote specific brands. But turning likes and views into a reliable income stream is a steep climb for most aspiring social media stars.

That’s changing, thanks in part to entrepreneurs like Tulane alumnus Harry Gestetner, who not only saw a need but an opportunity to allow influencers to harness their reach and monetize their content and turn it into a viable career path.

As a student at Tulane, Gestetner launched Fanfix, a subscription-style service where users pay to see exclusive content from their favorite internet stars. Fanfix allows creators to earn money by charging fans whatever they want for membership, and fans can follow the creators, receive access to their exclusive content, and support their growth.

“These platforms have neglected creators for so long, and they were completely taken advantage of,” Gestetner said. “And I think our launch and approach of being creative first and treating the creator like God really clicked with the creators. And then, on top of that, brand deals, which were the No. 1 way creators were monetizing, underserved so many creators and their ads. Now, creators have a method of monetizing directly from their most loyal fans without relying on themselves, which really hit home. They thoroughly enjoyed it and doubled down on it, and it just kept growing.”

Two years later, and before he graduated from Tulane, Harry and his group sold Fanfix for eight figures. 

In the latest edition of On Good Authority, Rob Lalka, the Albert R. Lepage Professor in Business and executive director of the Albert Lepage Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, joins Gestetner to discuss Entrepreneurship in an influencer economy. The duo focuses on how Gestetner created a company that’s revolutionizing the influencer economy, and how the Lepage Center helped shape and guide Gestetner during his time as a Tulane student.

“Our job at the Lepage Center is to help people to build businesses and business models and, frankly, just to learn about startups. To learn about why entrepreneurship is not just a career path. It's a mindset. It's a way of solving problems,” Lalka said. “We must be able to meet any entrepreneur where they are, any student where they are and try and lead them forward in their journey. We try to be very personalized.”