A Giveaway Gone Wrong
Kai Cenat's fan meetup causes a riot
Good morning. If TikTok chose the food of the summer, it’d be Connecticut-born Pop Up Bagels. They’ve tallied over 3 million views on the TikTok hashtag #popupbagels and won approval from creators like Wishbone Kitchen and Jack’s Dining Room while collabing with popular food reviewers Sistersnacking. Northeastern readers, let us know: Are the bagels worth the hype?
Kai Cenat’s NYC Giveaway Goes Off The Rails
Eyewitness News ABC7NY / YouTube
On Friday, Kai Cenat and Roberto “Fanum” Gonzalez, gaming streamers and members of YouTube creator group AMP, hosted a giveaway in downtown New York City. It quickly gave way to chaos with people throwing rocks, climbing atop cars, sustaining injuries, and blocking traffic.
The details: Less than 24 hours before the event, Cenat and Fanum told their 17+ million collective followers across Twitch, Instagram, and Twitter that they’d be giving away PlayStation 5 consoles and $100 gift cards in NYC’s Union Square Park at 4pm Friday.
By 3pm, the park was full of people banging on vehicles and throwing objects, creating enough mayhem to force the city to divert subway trains from the busy Union Square stop.
By the time things settled down around 6pm, police had arrested around 65 people—including Cenat, who was charged with inciting a riot and unlawful assembly. It’s unknown whether Fanum was also arrested.
Cenat was released from custody early Saturday morning. According to the Associated Press, he’s due to appear in court on August 18.
Zoom out: Cenat is currently one of the most subscribed to streamers on Twitch, with over 86,000 paying supporters. The New York native was named one of the most influential creators of the year by Rolling Stone and has over 10 million followers across all social channels.
“Hopefully, this is a learning experience for Kai,” read one comment on Cenat’s YouTube video about the giveaway. “His influence on people is a double-edged sword. The chaos can be entertaining content, but the chaos can also affect him negatively.”
How Epic Gardening Will Make Almost $30M This Year
Epic Gardening / YouTube
Kevin Espiritu’s gardening brand and YouTube channel Epic Gardening has been growing (dare we say blossoming?) over the last year following a timely acquisition.
Context: Epic Gardening acquired seed packet company Botanical Interests earlier this year, nearly doubling the size of its team to 60 in the process.
The business snapshot on Epic Gardening:
“This year we’ll get close to $30 million in revenue and I’d say that maybe $1–1.5 million is from anything that’s not selling a product,” Espiritu told us.
He said that Epic rarely takes brand deals, and that most of the business’s revenue comes from products sold on its site.
Epic is hoping online sales expand to IRL sales with its acquisition: Botanical Interest has been in business for almost 30 years and has 4,500 stores across the U.S.
“We took investment and we have big goals,” Espiritu said. “We think we can change the gardening industry as a whole because it’s antiquated and not up to the times of the modern gardener.”
How Epic uses content to fuel its growth: “I think TikTok is the top of the funnel for content and the bottom of the funnel is actually converting them to the other forms of content because it’s such a fleeting audience,” Espiritu said. “I want them all to basically end up on YouTube, the blog, or email list.”
As far as Espiritu is concerned, converting casual fans of Epic’s content into participants in the brand and business might become par for the course in the creator world.
“I think you’re gonna start to see more creators [apart from the MrBeasts and the Logan Pauls] get a sense of how equity, cap tables, and business ops work, so they can build businesses themselves without partners,” Espiritu said. “We have the most rare currency—attention. Consider what you’re giving up when you raise equity.”
NFL Cornerback Joins Snapback Sports
The details: Humphrey signed a multi-year partnership with Snapback that gives him equity in the company in exchange for producing content for the brand.
Humphrey’s first project, debuting August 24, is the Punch Line podcast, which will share behind-the-scenes details of Humphrey’s life in the NFL.
Zoom out: Snapback Sports cofounder Alex Sheinman told us that Humphrey was the ideal partner—the cornerback is friends with Baltimore native Settleman, but he’s also interested in building his brand outside of the NFL.
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