The Hustle

Meet Pex: the internet’s content guardian

Pex just raised $57m from Tencent and other investors to continue its business of regulating and licensing original content online.


February 19, 2021

Here’s an interesting stat: 58% of Instagram videos contain music.

Yet on Instagram and other platforms, who makes sure the original music creators (AKA “rights holders”) get paid or are given credit?

One startup — Pex — just closed a $57m round to be that industry’s white knight: It’s a royalty attribution company that scans social networks to ensure that rights holders’ are paid, can request takedowns, and can seek attribution data.

Pex started as Shazam for videos…

… only for CEO Rasty Turek to realize no one actually wanted that (awkward!). Fortunately, the backend tech was perfect for identifying the illegal use of copyrighted songs.

This time, market fit was there — Pex raised $7m and acquired Dubset, another startup that “fingerprints” over 45m tracks for 50k artists to make sure people get paid.

To date, Pex has a database of 20B+ audio and video tracks.

Pex’s crown jewel: its attribution engine

This technology creates a multi-sided marketplace for content regulation among the following parties:

Because Pex’s revenue is based on its brokered licensing deals, it is incentivized to help all parties in the marketplace.

So next time you see a Renegade dance rendition (or get Rick Roll’d), picture Pex’s bank account going cha-ching.

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