Sphere launched on Y Combinator's "Launch YC" today.

Launch YC: 🔮 Sphere - Building a new monetization engine for content owners

Sphere is building a platform for content owners to secure, structure and monetize their content/data in the LLM era.

"Secure, structure and monetize your content in the AI era"

Founded by Nicholas Rudder and Adrian Sarstedt. Nicholas has a background in both Tech and Media. Adrian is experienced in Software Engineering and ML. They originally built the first iteration of Sphere (an edtech platform that allowed experts to run live courses for employees) as they felt that expert content should be available to all. However, they found that the traditional course format was limiting and saw the potential for AI/LLMs to become a huge content distribution channel for creators.

The team has first hand experience working with creators and have seen just how important it is to invest in high quality content (to create courses that people love!). The value of this content will only grow in a world of AI generated material and they strongly believe the correct incentive mechanisms need to be put in place.


Sphere's platform allows content owners to secure, structure and monetize their content in the LLM era. Sphere wants to ensure that there is a clear incentive for creators, publishers and media companies to continue producing high-quality content as language interfaces become the norm.

Image Credits: Sphere

In an age where people are increasingly using chat apps for quick content summaries rather than visiting websites directly, content creators and site owners face a growing challenge. Their traditional revenue streams, primarily from site ads, are at risk as fewer people visit their sites. This trend is discouraging the sharing of high-quality content online, as we've seen with O'Reilly's refusal to let OpenAI use its books, Newscorp demanding payment for their content, and Reddit seeking profit from user-generated content. We're at a crossroads, needing a solution that ensures content creators can still earn while maintaining the quality of content accessed through chat apps. This is where Sphere comes in, offering a promising solution to this pressing dilemma.

They've built an infrastructure that helps content owners and creators to:

🔒 Secure their content

Many LLMs (both third party providers and private LLMs) scrape content and data without proper authorization. For online publishers, Sphere provides a wrapper around publicly available content that stops unauthorized bots from extracting information without impacting SEO (think Robots.txt 2.0).

📚 Structure their content

Content owners have various content formats, including text, video, image, audio and more. Sphere structures and hosts content in a vector database so that it can be called at any time by LLMs via an API.

💳 Monetize their content

Sphere provides a licensing infrastructure that allows content owners and creators to charge a monthly fee to model end users for access to their content repository (like how substack allows authors to charge for access to newsletters). Sphere can support access across all major LLM providers via plugins (e.g. OpenAI, Cohere, Anthropic) as well as open source models via an SDK.

         Image Credits: Sphere
Who's it for?

✅  Any owner of authoritative, high value content.

✅  Initially targeting online and offline publishers - these companies have already seen significant ad revenue declines from social media platforms and are now hyper-aware of their content being used by LLM providers.

✅  The platform could be much broader and applicable to other institutions with valuable data assets that could be monetized through LLMs (e.g. universities, enterprise).

Image Credits: Sphere


🌐 Visit https://content.getsphere.com/ to learn more!

👍 Follow Sphere on Twitter & Linkedin

🤝 Know any leaders at content-focused businesses (publishers, media outlets, universities) - reach out and make the intro!

May 17, 2023
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