- Pavel Dler is the founder and director of the Gen Z-focused media organization Culted.
- Culted has netted more than six figures in revenue this year and has 11 million monthly viewers on its Instagram account.
- This is part of Insider's entrepreneur series Star, Rising which highlights early entrepreneurs.
Name: Pavel Dler
Location: London, England
Business: Culted, an arts and culture media organization focused on Generation Z.
Backstory: Pavel Dler wanted to create a media organization targeting Gen Z customers, who have a spending power of $143 billion, according to TK. In 2019, he launched Culted, starting with short-form videos before expanding into editorial content during the pandemic. The platform has published content addressing Gucciaga — the collaboration between Gucci and Balenciaga— along with the rise of London street brand Corteiz.
"Young creatives, producing content and projects for other young creatives," Dler told Insider. "That's what we do."
Growth: Culted makes its revenue from advertising and white label clients—customers who purchase exclusive content from Culted and share it across their platforms under their brand names—and has netted more than six figures this year, placing it on track book nearly a million next year, the company projects. Its biggest advertisers and white label clients include luxury brand Moncler and fashion retailer Gant.
Culted receives 11 million views a month on its Instagram account alone and has nearly 1 million followers across its website, Instagram, and TikTok. Views of Culted's content are up 1,580% year-over-year with followers increasing 72.16% year-over-year, Dler said. He's since created a newsletter, is launching a podcast and plans on venturing into subscription video content next year.
"The objective is to always remain an early adopter of social platforms and innovations," said Dler, noting that he doesn't expect to launch a print product. "Especially now, with the Metaverse coming about, the possibilities are infinite in the digital world."
Before Culted: Dler studied fashion design and marketing at Central Saint Martins at the University of Arts, London before dropping out in 2016. He began working as a creative consultant for brands and entrepreneurs such as communication company Huawei and designer Matthew Needham before pivoting to Culted.
Challenges: Explaining to brands why short-form video is so important for Gen Zers. "Journalism doesn't need to just be written," Dler said, adding Gen Zers still have an appetite for short news content. "It can be video and people do engage with it."
Business advice: "When you're trying to deliver a message about the product you produce, it's extremely important to explore every single social media platform to see where you can find your audience and connect with them," he said.
Business mentor: Financier Toby Ross helps Dler ensure both the creative and financial needs of Culted is met. Ross also taught Dler the importance of setting boundaries and staying focused to achieve his goals.
Why now is the best time to start a business: The media industry always has its problems but there is a constant need for people seeking out new products, Dler said. This means there is always a demand for publications who can recommend such things, he added.
On hiring: There are six full-time people currently at the company and they work with six contractors to help produce editorial content. The goal is to double the number of employees within the next two years, Dler said.
Managing burnout: Dler reads books and recently finished "Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike" by Nike co-founder Phil Knight. He also goes on morning jogs and takes lunch breaks with no screen time. "Those kinds of breaks throughout the day are more important than anything to me," he said.