Lumanu makes it easier for creators to turn passion into profit. Founded in Oakland, California in 2017, Lumanu clients include TikTok megastar Addison Rae, Jessica Alba, Snoop Dogg and more.
And, following its $12 million Series A, led by Origin Ventures, Lumanu has launched a new suite of features, allowing creators to streamline their business process and focus on creating.
To learn more about Lumanu's offering and why it selected Checkout.com as its payment provider, Zack Levine, VP US Sales at Checkout.com, spoke with Lumanu Head of Operations and Co-Founder, Paul Johnson.
Zack: Paul, where did the idea for Lumanu come from?
Paul: While working at a marketing start-up, my co-founder Tony Tran and I saw firsthand the power of creators in delivering content that influenced consumers. We realized that this was a growing market — but one with a lot of unsolved pain points for creators in getting paid and managing their businesses and finances.
On a personal level, Tony's mother, a Vietnamese immigrant, struggled to find content in her native language from her home in South Carolina. Then Tony gave her an iPad, and she discovered YouTube. It opened up a world of content that she could understand and enjoy. And it was all made by creators.
That experience showed Tony the power of creators and inspired him to help them live life on their terms. We quit our jobs to start Lumanu to make it simple, fun and collaborative for creators to do business.
Zack: Why did you select Checkout.com as your payments partner?
Paul: We provide card processing to thousands of solopreneurs for free. So, we were looking for a processing partner that fully integrated into our solution and didn't charge high processing fees. Checkout.com ticked the box in this department.
We also didn't want creators to wait days between accepting a card payment and accessing their funds. Again, Checkout.com's settlement process checked all the boxes, allowing us to offer creators same-day funding.
The team was also extremely collaborative during the sales process — if we can call it that. They took the time to listen to us and understand our ambitions and tailored the conversation around how they would help us meet these goals.
Zack: Has Checkout.com lived up to expectations since going live?
Absolutely. When our engineering and product teams reviewed the Checkout.com documentation and APIs, they felt confident in being able to implement the solution quickly. And integration took a fraction of the time versus what other providers quoted.
The integration was straightforward. Checkout.com offers ready-to-use components that we simply dropped into our app. And its test environment allowed us to troubleshoot all the error scenarios we might run into. And the team was there to support us with documentation and in-person every step of the way.
That support has continued since going live. It's early days, but the Checkout.com team is already having a significant impact by helping us better understand our payments flows to minimize fraud and chargebacks.
Zack: Let's get back to your customers. What challenges do creators face, especially when monetizing their offerings?
Paul: Creators make money in various ways, from client work, brand sponsorships and revenue shares with big platforms to delivering digital courses. But the evolution from a hobbyist to running a business generating potentially millions of dollars in revenue can be challenging.
Creators come up against problems like cash flow, managing their finances and getting paid. This takes them away from their core purpose and passion: creating content. So, the main challenge for creators is balancing their creativity with running and growing their businesses.
That's where Lumanu comes in. We help creators take care of business by putting the administrative aspects of running their business on autopilot, all from an app on their phone.
Zack: Can you talk more about how exactly Lumanu does this?
Paul: Lumanu simplifies getting paid and managing a 'back office'. In practical terms, that's everything around being paid on time, accepting different payment methods, and collaborating with clients, brands and other creators on projects.
For our solution to work, we had to make it easy for payers – typically brands and agencies, but sometimes individuals – to pay. Lumanu accepts ACH, wire, cards and PayPal, among others.
Our EarlyPay offering lets creators get paid upfront once they complete a job. And our Creator Protection program guarantees payment up to $10,000 if a client's payment is late or doesn't arrive at all.
For our brand and agency clients, Lumanu makes it easy to pay creators without the hassle of vendor onboarding and tax payment. Managing relationships, sharing files and collaboration is easy, all from one place.
That's important because forward-thinking brands realize that creators are loyal customers. But also, brand ambassadors and even an extension of their marketing team. Lumanu helps brands acquire new customers cost-effectively and build brand equity by getting more from their creator collaborations.
Zack: What's next for Lumanu?
Paul: We’re focused on supporting international creators, meaning we must facilitate more local payment methods and currencies. Checkout.com can help us accept APMs as well as 150+ global currencies. We’re also expanding our partnership with Checkout.com to support our brand and agency clients to make payouts directly to creators.
Checkout.com has become a solid and integral partner to Lumanu. We look forward to collaborating closely in the future. As Lumanu reimagines payments for creators, we expect Checkout.com to be there every step of the way.