Troy Carter, the music manager who launched the careers of Lady Gaga and Meghan Trainor, is joining the board of the Dutch file-sharing company and Dropbox rival WeTransfer.
Why is a music industry leader joining a data transfer company? The answer is that WeTransfer, founded in 2009, has been working hard to brand itself as the file-sharing platform of choice for those in the creative community, including musicians who are trying to send large music files. The platform sets itself apart from its competitors, which include Hightail and Dropbox, by having artistic photos and illustrations in the backdrop as files are uploading.
Over the course of his music industry career, Carter says he noticed that WeTransfer’s strategy of appealing to the creative set has been effective. The artists that he works with almost exclusively share their music files, album artwork, and creative direction through the platform. Carter says that he’s admired how the company turned what was essentially a boring service into a fun product, thanks to its design-centric approach. WeTransfer says that half of its global users work in creative industries.
“It’s a very unsexy business,” Carter says. “When you look at the space in general, it looks more like a utility. But they’ve done an incredible job of recognizing that creators have spent so much time creating a beautiful song or photograph or short film, and that you shouldn’t have to send it out through a shitty utility with an ugly banner ad.”
Carter is hoping to help the company continue to build inroads in the creative community and to find new ways to grow as a business. “More than a file-transfer company, I look at them as a media company,” he says. “With one billion files transferred a year, you’re looking at a high level of user engagement, meaning that they have the opportunity to put quality content in front of a captive audience.” Carter will be able to leverage his relationship with creators and advertisers to help WeTransfer continue to evolve.
Before joining WeTransfer’s board, Carter worked closely with the company; it was picked to be one of six startups in the accelerator program SMASHD Labs, run out of Carter’s company Atom Factory. Companies within the program must demonstrate how they can shape culture and influence the entertainment world.
This year, WeTransfer hit a new landmark of a billion transfers in a single year, and the company says it is on pace to double this figure next year. The service was cofounded by Bas Beerens and lifestyle blogger Nalden in the Netherlands in 2009. WeTransfer landed $25 million in series A funding in February of this year. While the platform has a strong presence in Europe, it is only beginning to gain traction in the U.S. and hopes to double its U.S. user base in the next year. Carter’s involvement with the company is designed to help them achieve this goal.