MrBeast takes on the challenge of being YouTube’s first billionaire
The Future. Jimmy Donaldson (MrBeast on YouTube) controls a sprawling empire both online and offline — an empire that could soon become a unicorn. Starting as a normal kid who crafted a unique money-giveaway YouTube business model (to rack up views that earned him even more money), Donaldson’s induction into the billionaire club could be a watershed moment for the creator economy.
Give to receive
MrBeast — the most-followed YouTube in the world with 112 million subscribers — could break a billion.
- According to Forbes, Donaldson earned $54 million last year, including $32 million from ads on his videos and $9 million from sponsored content.
- Forbes predicts that his earnings may hit $110 million and estimates that he’s worth at least $500 million.
- Donaldson also does the majority of his work out of a sprawling studio in North Carolina, which he fully owns. He hopes to sell a 10% stake for $150 million.
That deal would value the studio at $1.5 billion, with Donald’s 90% stake worth $1.4 billion. There you have it, a billionaire.
Return on influence
While Donaldson could coast on his immense YouTube fame, he’s working hard to branch out into offline businesses… and they’re already paying off.
- His MrBeast Burger brand launched in December 2020. It posted $70 million in sales last year and may hit $100 million in 2022. Donaldson has a minority stake in the brand.
- But he’s expanding quickly — after a wildly successful brick-and-mortar launch in New Jersey, he’s planning to open at least a dozen more locations next year.
- His Feastables chocolate bar brand sold 4 million units in three months after launching in January (it’s available online and in 4,700 Walmarts). He owns 80% of the company.
- Donaldson plans on expanding into protein bars and frozen food.
And with Donaldson co-founding an investment firm, Night Capital, to inject money into the businesses of other creators, it doesn’t look like his influence is going to stop anytime soon.