Lindsey Lee Lurgin blazed a non-traditional path to becoming a founder, and it’s only fitting that her fundraising strategies are just as unique. Her company Fuck You Pay Me (FYPM), a Glassdoor-like platform for influencers, recently raised a seed extension of $275K solely through Instagram stories – completely devoid of a pitch deck.
“If you think of what a pitch deck is, it’s what you send to someone to get a meeting,” Lurgin explained to TechCrunch. But with her target audience already following her on Instagram, where she boasts a broad following in the creator economy industry, she saw no need for a traditional pitch.
Lurgin shared, “I would just post the numbers – here’s how we’re doing, here’s what we’re doing, here’s how much money I need, how much is left… Here are the terms, DM me if you’re interested.” She also admitted to throwing in a “thirst trap” now and then, as it generated more reach for her story – a somewhat sad but honest truth.
Some notable angel investors who participated in the fundraise include Derek Schlicker (CFO at Clearbit, recently acquired by Hubspot for $150 million), Jessica Lee (a former Wall Street managing director turned influencer), and Sophia Amoruso (founder of Nasty Gal turned investor).
Not every founder could pull off an Instagram-driven fundraising campaign, but for Lurgin, it made perfect sense. Her company is designed to support social media creators, allowing them to review brands, share data on payments and timelines, and more.
But FYPM wasn’t created solely as a business venture – it was born out of necessity. Back in 2015, Lurgin was working as a freelance model when she won a contest to be featured in a global campaign for Marc Jacobs. Despite the prestigious opportunity, she was only paid $1,000, a dismal amount for a massive fashion brand. At the time, she hoped the exposure would lead to more lucrative opportunities, but unfortunately, it didn’t pan out.
“On paper, I was deemed successful – I walked in New York Fashion Week, my images were on Vera Wang’s website, and my work was even sold as wall art in Urban Outfitters. Yet, I still couldn’t get paid for my work,” Lurgin shared with TechCrunch during VidCon last year. “I found myself in a frustrating position – I was good enough to do the work, but not good enough to be paid for it.”
So, Lurgin decided to pursue a master’s degree in finance and enter the corporate world. On the side, she used her Instagram account, @MsYoungProfessional, to speak out about sexism in the workplace. Over time, she amassed enough followers to start receiving brand deals. However, she continued to face the issue of companies not wanting to pay, and there was no reliable source for finding out how much these brands were even offering.
Thus, the idea for FYPM was born. Originally launched in 2021, the platform served as a searchable database for influencers. However, the website’s structure posed challenges for scaling, so Lurgin and her team decided to rebuild from the ground up.
The new and improved FYPM will still serve influencers but will now cater to talent managers and brand representatives as well. This update allows these individuals to advertise opportunities on the platform, as long as they are transparent about the payment amount.
“Through our research, we’ve discovered a vast disparity in payment amounts for similar work,” Lurgin explained. “Some individuals are paid nothing, while others receive six-figure sums. Often, the difference comes down to knowing the right amount to ask for and understanding your value.”
Of course, FYPM’s success ultimately relies on the accuracy and quality of its data. To ensure legitimacy, Lurgin and her team have manually reviewed all 38,000 creators who have signed up on the platform. However, this process is time-consuming, and with the recent funding, Lurgin hopes to remove technical barriers to scale without sacrificing data quality.
Lurgin reiterates, “At the end of the day, the most significant impact we can make in this space is through creating a scalable data business.” She envisions a future where creators and talent managers can access this information for free as long as they provide verified reviews. Ultimately, she hopes to hire data scientists to analyze the wealth of payment data across the creator economy and create reports. She also plans to develop an API, allowing talent companies to directly upload their data to the platform.
“It’s incredible how democratizing information can change people’s lives,” Lurgin reflects. “It’s all about achieving financial freedom.”