The creator economy will have to learn to live with less this year.

Headed into 2023, startups that support online influencers don’t have the cash bulwark they did a year ago. Venture capital investors sank $2.5 billion into global creator economy startups last year, down 50% from 2021, according to an analysis of The Information’s Creator Economy Database. That’s worse than the 33% drop in venture funding for U.S. startups, according to PitchBook’s annual data as of mid-December.

What’s more, five creator startups, including merchandise provider Spring, agreed last year to sell to other companies, according to the database. At least two shut down. “There’s already a broader slowdown, but it’s impacted the creator economy more dramatically,” said Brian O’Malley, managing partner at consumer-focused VC firm Forerunner Ventures.

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