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GetCraft pauses ops due to financial issues amidst influencer call out on payment

GetCraft pauses ops due to financial issues amidst influencer call out on payment

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The CEO of creator agency GetCraft, Patrick Searle has said that the company has paused operations in its Singapore, Malaysia and Philippines offices after a third-party investor with a controlling ownership stake in GetCraft ran into financial issues. This has resulted in creators not being paid for work they had done, an issue that was brought up this week by the likes of Singaporean influencer Chrysan Lee (pictured left) and Malaysian content creator Nadiah M.Din (pictured right). 

In an email to MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, Searle started by saying that it was never his intention for the current situation of content creators going unpaid to have come about. 

"[In] April 2022, we completed a deal with a third-party investor that gave them a controlling ownership stake in GetCraft. Only for them to delay the final transfer of money to the business despite all of the paperwork being completed," he wrote. 

"They explained that this was due to them running into financial issues [when it came to] onshoring their money into Singapore. They made it clear to us that they would still honour and complete this investment. Something that, if they hadn't told us, would have led to us simply cancelling the deal," he explained. 

Don't miss: SG and MY influencers call out agency for failure to compensate

Searle went on to add that today, despite "continual promises", payments would be completed by September 2022, November 2022, January 2023, March 2023, and then, finally, July 2023, nothing has since materialised. He said:

This in turn has wreaked havoc on our cash flow management.

He added that this has also resulted in frustration from its creative partners as they planned to use some of the investor funds to cover outstanding payments. 

"The investor has now guaranteed that they will complete the final transfer of money by late September 2023. We will instantly use [this money] to pay all creators who we owe money to." Searle said. 

"Given the ongoing uncertainty at the beginning of Q2, 2023, we decided to pause operations in our Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines which, in turn, has led to worsening or missed communications with creators regarding updated payment timelines - something that I deeply apologise for and am trying to fix as we speak," added Searle.

He added that he hoped this would give more clarity on the situation and said that they were hoping to be able to resolve the issuers in the coming weeks as soon as final payments from the investor and new owner of GetCraft are completed.

SG and MY influencers call out GetCraft

Searle's comments come after Singaporean Influencer Chrysan Lee took to TikTok to call out an unnamed creator agency for not paying her and other content creators for work done as well as for ignoring messages and emails sent regarding payment. 

Lee starts her video by saying that an unnamed 'P', who is the CEO of an agency that she refers to only with its first and last alphabets, 'G' and 'T' "really" need to pay their creators.

"I didn't want to do this but P, I have tried contacting you multiple times," she said. Lee went on to explain that the agency operates in Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia and the Philippines and that to her knowledge, the CEO owes creators and agencies money. 

She explains that she has worked with this agency on various projects since 2021 and that they paid her late. However, the last time they worked together was on 23 September 2022 and she finished the job in October 2022. She noted that two invoices were issued to the agency as there were more deliverables on the project that were initially cut. 

"Weeks passed and no payment, no news," she said. "My client actually emailed me and confirmed with me on 14 March 2023 that they had already paid [the agency] in December 2022," she said. Lee clarified that the agency is responsible for paying the creator. 

"I got his number and I WhatsApped him, he read my message, and he blocked me immediately," she said, adding that he blocked her on almost every other platform as well. Lee went on to say that the agency's finance team did try to help her sort out the payment initially, but eventually ignored her messages as well. She explained that all the employees that she personally worked with and new had also already left the agency. 

Comments on the video at the time saw many other Singaporean influencers and netizens such as TikToker Boblet and content creator Nadiah M.Din identifying the agency as GetCraft and its CEO as Patrick Searle.

When MARKETING-INTERACTIVE reached out to the content creators responding to Lee's video, M.Din said that GetCraft owes her money for a Blackmores and Burger King campaign. "The payment took so long that when my managers upfront the money first to me, I got shocked because I totally forgotten about it. That shows you how long the delay was," she said. 

"I executed the project on time and well. But when it comes to payment, they give many excuses," she said, adding that it was tiring and that to date, the agency still owes her managers money. 

M.Din also shared email screenshots between her and the company where Searle said that the company was negotiating with its investors as to when they would be releasing payment to them.

On 12 July 2022, Searle said that investors would be able to complete an infusion of money in August 2022 and that it was negotiating the release of a smaller amount to settle payments to influencers such as M.Din.

Searle wrote:

I'm sorry I can't give you a clearer update, but as soon as we have any available cash, [we] will pay you immediately.

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