If there is such a thing as an It Girl in venture capital these days, Ms. Jin, 31, would fill the bill. She sits at the intersection of start-up investing and the fast-growing ecosystem of online creators, both of which are red hot. And while she formed her own venture firm, Atelier Ventures, just last year and has raised a relatively small $13 million for a fund, Ms. Jin was among the first investors in Silicon Valley to take influencers seriously and has written about and backed creators for years.
A Harvard graduate who was inspired by the ideas of Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx, Ms. Jin is also aggressively pro-worker. She has made it clear in podcasts and her Substack newsletter that creators should get the same rights as other workers. Among the ideas she has championed is a “universal creative income,” which would guarantee creators a base amount of money to live on.
Now as large venture capital firms flock to influencer start-ups, and as Facebook, YouTube and others introduce $1 billion creator funds, Ms. Jin’s track record has made her a go-to business guru for many digital stars who are trying to navigate the fast-changing landscape.
Her credibility has been enhanced because she also operates as a creator. Ms. Jin posts frequently on her Substack newsletter, leads an online course teaching creators how to invest in start-ups and has created Side Hustle Stack, a free resource to help influencers find and evaluate platforms to leverage.
Ms. Jin became fascinated with how different marketplaces worked and wrote prolifically about them for the Andreessen Horowitz blog. She also began thinking about how different marketplace systems could evolve to help people build businesses on the internet. That led Ms. Jin to champion the influencer industry. Watching creators struggle to earn a living online felt personal, she said, while she also saw big potential in online work and creators as a business.