Michelle Battersby and Lucy Mort are quickly redefining the global creator space. The co-founders are behind new creator app Sunroom, which is designed for women and non-binary people to make money (without being judged). The pair, used their past experiences in the tech space — Lucy, as a former Lead Designer at Hinge and Michelle, as Director of APAC marketing at Bumble — to bring the idea from concept to creation.
The app sees creators make money by charging their audiences a monthly subscription in exchange for exclusive content. Content that can be as open, shameless and unfiltered as they see fit. “We’re not a social network, we’re a vessel for creators to come along and use the platform they’ve amassed,” says Battersby.
In Episode 2 of The Flipside with Her Black Book, powered by Samsung Galaxy, presented by Popsugar Australia, Sali Sasi and Julie Stevanja share a candid chat with Mort and Battersby about the realities of bringing Sunroom to life. Here are four takeaways from the episode.
While Sunroom has only been live in the market for just seven months — launching in February 2022 — the product Mort and Battersby created has already evolved rapidly, something that has forced them to be unafraid to adapt.
“There’s been a lot of changes, and I think that’s been one of the most surprising things,” says Mort. “How much our product has evolved and how many assumptions we had at the beginning that were wrong and how many new insights and discoveries we’ve made after having real users on our app. The journey has been a whirlwind.”
“We need to be agile and stay on our toes,” Battersby adds. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s really like to build a start-up, Battersby likens it to a tweet Mort once shared with her in the early days of Sunroom:
“Founding a tech start-up is like getting slapped in the face with a fry-pan every single day and having to get used to it.”
While it might be a continuous journey of lows in the first few months, all jokes aside, Battersby admits that it’s important to stay laser focused on the business’ overall goal.
“The wins feel amazing, the losses hit you hard. You just have to stay laser focused,” she says. “Rise to the challenge and keep going.” The pair believe that what has made Sunroom successful, and what will continue the app’s success, is that they found the “earned secret” within the industry — that global creators needed a platform in which to monetise their content more affectively.
Mort says this is crucial for any business, especially when facing potential investors.
“You need to have uncovered some sort of insight into a market you’ve become familiar with — and be able to deliver that insight or earned secret with some conviction,” she notes. “You need to really believe yourself that there’s a big opportunity there. Be able to sell it to investors.”
Battersby adds it was the pair’s persistence to uncovering the true pain points of creators, and really getting to understand what they needed, that has lead to the app’s continued success.One of the most fascinating and viral features of the pair’s app was the introduction of its innovative feature, Sunblock, an anti-screenshot technology that ensures a creators content on Sunroom, stays on Sunroom.
While it’s a feature that has, as the pair explain, come with a lot of roadblocks (including the delay of the app’s initial launch), it was one that made their app so enticing to potential users, and was well worth the wait.
“We’re glad we persisted, and stayed with it,” says Battersby. “Our creators value it and feel so much more comfortable sharing whatever they want, expressing themselves how they want, without fear of it getting it all over the internet.”