Read the pitch deck a startup helping creators get paid and manage their businesses used to raise $12 million

Tony Tran headshot, Lumanu
  • Lumanu is a startup that says it wants to make business easier for creators. 
  • It offers tools for invoicing, payment processing, and managing expenses. 
  • Read 8 slides from the pitch deck it used to secure its recent $12 million Series A round. 

Lumanu is one of many startups attracting the attention of influencers and investors as competition in the creator economy heats up.

Lumanu offers ways for creators to create invoices, manage expenses, get paid by brands or clients, and collaborate with brands. All of these tools, besides early payment, are free for creators to use, according to the company.

“At the end of the day, we think creators are business people who have business problems,” Tony Tran, cofounder and CEO of Lumanu, told Insider. “But they want to focus on being creators.”

The startup wants to compete with companies like PayPal and Quickbooks as the go-to software for creators and freelancers trying to manage their businesses, Tran said. 

One selling point that Lumanu hones in on is helping creators get paid on time. 

“When someone doesn’t pay you on time, that could mean rent money – especially for smaller folks,” Tran said.

Using Lumanu, creators can send invoices with automatic reminders and can also use a feature named “Creator Protection,” which guarantees payment of up to $10,000 if the collaboration is coordinated from start to finish through Lumanu, according to the company’s website.

Lumanu offers “EarlyPay” too, an option to fast-track some payments. Creators can get paid directly by Lumanu ahead of the common net 30-, 60-, or 90-day payout terms included in contracts. Lumanu fronts these payments and charges a 2.9% processing fee.

“EarlyPay is our attempt at making sure that everyone can get cash whenever they need it,” Tran said.

Beyond creators, Lumanu also offers services to brands, such as connecting brands with influencers for collaborations, and a way to handle mass payments to influencers.


@itsblakemichael made the switch to Lumanu. Here’s why:📸Collaborate with other creators🚀Send deliverables💸Get paid early by brandsStart doing what you love. We’ll take care of the rest. Link in bio to learn more.#contentcreators ##learnontiktok ##creator ##businesstiktok ##smallb#usiness

♬ original sound – Lumanu

When Tran and his cofounders, Nhan Nguyen and Paul Johnson, set out to build Lumanu in 2016, the “creator economy” wasn’t a concrete concept, he said.

Today, the creator economy has become an industry buzzword. Big-tech moguls like Mark Zuckerberg are talking about creators, and executives across companies and various industries are investing in influencer marketing with spending expected to exceed $3 billion this year, according to Insider Intelligence. 

In July 2021, Lumanu announced a $12 million Series A round led by Origin Ventures, bringing Lumanu’s total funding to $15.8 million, according to Crunchbase. The funding round formally began in February 2021.

At the end of 2020, Tran started taking casual conversations as Lumanu built out its pitch deck for investors and planned for its Series A, he said. Just months earlier, Patreon (a popular subscription and content platform for creators) raised $90 million — pushing it to a unicorn valuation.  

“People know that this space was hot,” Tran said.

When investors ask Lumau how they plan to make money, Tran has two answers: processing fees for EarlyPay and subscriptions. Brands and agencies pay a monthly subscription fee to use Lumanu’s payment tools and advertising services like whitelisting creator content as ads.

Read through 8 pages of Lumanu’s pitch deck it sent to investors to raise its recent $12 million Series A round:

Note: Lumanu redacted a few pages from its pitch deck, which usually ranges from 10-12 pages, according to Tran.


Lumanu uses a simple pitch deck that is more of a “conversation guider” than a slideshow, Tran said.

“I’m a first-time founder,” said Tran, who left a job as a product manager to build Lumanu between 2016 and 2017. Most of the advice he received about fundraising came from articles and other founders online, Tran said.

Typically, Lumanu will send their deck to prospective investors after an initial introduction call, he added.

Lumanu gives its mission statement: “Empower creators to thrive on their own terms”


“My pitch is always why, what, how, and why now?” Tran said. 

The deck starts with Lumanu’s mission statement and he stays on this page to talk to investors about the history of Luman and why they started the company, Tran said. 


Then, Lumanu breaks down its mission statement word by word. 

  • Empower: “Tools, automation, knowledge, community”
  • Creators: “We center creators and everything we do”
  • Thrive: “Help creators thrive, not just survive”
  • Own terms: “Break the status quo for a better tomorrow”

Getting to “the why”


Then, Lumanu identifies what industry problems it is going to help address:

“A whole generation of creators are experiencing difficult business problems: getting paid, managing cash flow, and growing their business.

Lumanu helps creators so they can focus on being creative and building the content and community that we all love.”


Lumanu outlines what it offers to its user base: getting paid, managing cashflow, and helping growth


The slide reads: 

Get paid without the hassle

  • Invoicing and payment processing
  • Instant pay out via early pay
  • Automated vendor set up and tax paperwork

Manage cash flow in one app

  • Income and expense management
  • Automatic business deductions and tax calculations
  • Business checking account and debit card

Grow with a community

  • Networking and knowledge sharing with other creators
  • Access to professional accountants and lawyers
  • Expensive merchant network for projects and discounts

Breaking down the data and numbers behind Lumanu


Lumanu shares where it is in terms of users and clients.

Lumanu had 30,000 total creators, with 4 billion total fans, according to its pitch deck. It then goes on to list some creators using the startup, including: 

  • @madelane
  • @victoriajustic
  • @theestallion
  • @ritaora
  • @anacheri
  • @blakegriffin23

It has 200 total brands and about 2 million creator payouts each month, according to the deck. Lumanu lists brands “behind” their mission, including:

  • Revolve
  • Fashion Nova
  • Cameo
  • Everlane
  • Poshmark

“More creators are making more money in more ways than ever before”


Lumanu outlines a handful of the ways influencers and creators are making money, including platforms like Instagram, YouTube, Substack, Cameo, and Patreon. 

This slide helps Lumanu articulate the urgency and the “why now?” question while they’re pitching investors.


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