Ryan Kavanaugh has experienced his share of defeats in business. The bottom fell out of one of his main companies, Relativity Media, in 2016. He had to file bankruptcy twice on behalf of the business over the next few years after having spent $100 million in capital. While some in the entertainment industry did not want him to come back from the downfall of Relativity, that is exactly what he did.
Free Publicity for Kavanaugh’s New Video Sharing App
On July 31, 2020, President Donald Trump announced to reporters aboard Air Force One that he wanted to shut down TikTok, the world’s leading video-sharing app that originated in China. Trump cited concerns about the privacy of the app’s 800 million users as his reason for wanting to ban it. His announcement caused executives back at Triller’s home office in Los Angeles to pay close attention. Ryan Kavanaugh is a majority shareholder in Triller and one of the company’s co-founders.
Triller is currently the second-largest music and digital entertainment platform. The company had 26 million users when Kavanaugh infused $28 million into it and became a majority shareholder nearly three years ago. The company’s estimated value was $130 million at that time. Thanks to Trump’s threat to ban TikTok from the United States, people immediately began looking for alternatives and found Triller.
How a Threat That Never Materialized Prompted Ryan Kavanaugh’s Comeback
People began flooding Triller’s inbox and phone lines with inquiries about the service as early as August 1, 2020. The entertainment company heard from advertisers, creators, and users looking for new partnerships and forms of entertainment. Many of the inquiries came from current TikTok users and those who had a partnership with the Chinese social media app and influencer site.
After becoming majority shareholder the year before Trump’s announcement, Kavanaugh raised more than $14 million for Triller with help from his executive team. The second most popular video-sharing app has already attracted top performers to its site, including:
- Kendrick Lamar
- Lil’ Wayne
- Snoop Dog
- the Weeknd
Triller raised an additional $100 million within six months of Donald Trump calling for the stateside ban of TikTok. By early 2021, the social media app had a valuation of $1.25 billion.
Triller is Not Another TikTok
Influencers, reporters, and users inevitably compared Triller to TikTok, but Kavanaugh states that the two apps operate on a different business model. He likens Triller’s business approach to Facebook or Google because it helps content creators promote their material in multiple venues across the web. Triller makes money with every new success point its content creators achieve.
Kavanaugh wasted no time booking events that would get people to sign up for Triller in mass numbers. The April 17, 2021, boxing match between Jake Paul and Ben Asken is a prime example. Triller users paid $49.99 per download to watch the fight sponsored by Triller Fight Club. Recognizing that the interest in traditional boxing has decreased, Kavanaugh also invited some contemporary singers to provide entertainment between breaks in the live action. He is happy to be back and ready to keep disrupting the industry.