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Passes: the $9.5M/year softcore OnlyFans growing 1166% year-over-year

Jan-Erik Asplund

TL;DR: Passes, founded by departed Scale AI co-founder Lucy Guo, is closing in on a $10M net revenue run rate as the safe-for-work version of OnlyFans just 14 months after launch. For more, check out our Passes dataset.


Key points from our research:

  • OnlyFans’ 100x growth from $56M gross revenue in 2019 to $5.6B in 2022 gave rise to a wave of companies counter-positioned as safe-for-work (SFW) creator storefronts like Stan and Fanhouse (both founded in 2020). Lucy Guo, departed co-founder of Scale AI and New York Post “number one party girl”, founded and launched Passes in 2022 using connections with Miami-based entertainment agencies to seed its early creator base.
  • Between the NC-17 OnlyFans and the PG-13 Fanhouse, Passes launched as a “soft R”, banning nudity but allowing creators like Instagram fitness influencer Michela Arbocco and chess personality Andrea Botez to sell membership access to risque thirst traps, live streams with implied nudity, and direct messaging. Passes undercuts OnlyFans with a 10% take rate on gross merchandise value (GMV) plus $0.30 per transaction versus OnlyFans’s 20%, plus its no nudity policy classifies them as a lower-risk merchant which benefits their cost structure with lower transaction fees from payment processors.
  • Sacra estimates that Passes is closing in on a $10M net revenue run rate within 14 months of launch, with $95M in GMV and an average revenue per creator (ARPC) of $6,666 across 900 creators. Compare to Stan which hit $14.7M of annual recurring revenue (ARR) in 2023, up 765% year-over-year from $1.7M in 2022 with 300K stores ($491 ARPC), and Linktree at a $49M of ARR at the end of 2023, up 46% from $34M at the end of 2022 with 340K customers ($144 ARPC)
  • Passes’s strategy of paying prominent creators like Blac Chyna (beauty influencer) to switch to its platform creates downside risk to the extent that earnings are guaranteed—with Blac Chyna’s Passes engagement sitting at only ~3% that of the platform’s top creators. While Substack became the most prestigious newsletter brand by paying heritage brand writers like Bari Weiss and Matthew Yglesias $250K+ to quit their jobs and write for them, those up-front contracts led to Substack reporting $5.2M in negative revenue on $12M in top-line for 2021.
  • Up for grabs is OnlyFans’ 2.1 million non-traditional sex workers, who are plagued by content leaks and burnout. Passes provides creators an alternative way to monetize their sex appeal with no pressure to create explicit content and built-in screenshot digital rights management (DRM) to prevent leaks.

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