Alfie Deyes is hugely popular on YouTube, building up a
following of 5.4 million subscribers over the last decade with
videos of his day-to-day life.
Deyes earns an estimated £500,000-to-£1 million
annually from advertising, plus book and merchandising sales,
and income from his properties.
Speaking to Business Insider at Lisbon’s Web Summit,
Deyes said he’s building a new company to strike collaborations
with early stage companies with “cool” ideas.
Deyes said he isn’t necessarily interested in investing
lots of money into startups, but wants to partner with projects
which will play well with his millions of followers.
On the day Alfie Deyes is due to speak at Web Summit in Lisbon,
there’s a gaggle of teenagers waiting outside the VIP area.
A Portuguese security guard explains to baffled guests trying to
enter the conference: “They wait for YouTuber.”
Deyes — better known online as PointlessBlog — is 24 years old
and probably unknown to anyone born before 1990. He has more than
5 million subscribers on YouTube, 5 million followers on Twitter,
and gets 16 million views on average for his
He is a superstar in his own right for his video blogs, or vlogs,
about his day-to-day life. that fame is enhanced by the fact he
is dating Britain’s most popular YouTuber, the fashion and beauty
vlogger Zoe Suggs, also known as Zoella.
Deyes doesn’t disclose his earnings, but makes money from
advertising against his YouTube videos, brand partnerships,
merchandise, rent from his properties, and sales of his books.
Estimates for his annual earnings range from £500,000 to £1
million, according to YouTube analytics site
Now he wants to harness his young audience, and everything he’s
learnt from making popular videos on YouTube, to help launch
Business Insider was given 10 minutes to catch up with Deyes at
Web Summit in Lisbon, where he was meeting with startups that
pitch him through the conference app, or in-person at the busy
Deyes said he’s in the process of building up a team for an
as-yet unnamed new company, through which he’ll strike
partnerships with other early stage ventures. A spokeswoman
wouldn’t confirm a name for the new company, but said it would be
open for business in the new year. So far, Deyes said, he’s been
hiring for a project manager, brands manager, operations staff,
legal and finance, and sales staff.
He told Business Insider: “I’m all about still doing YouTube and
making videos, but it’s also about teaming up and working with
really interesting people, great partnerships, and making cool
new stuff that’s never been done before.
“And using my audience — having those guys all brought on board,
because they follow my life every single day. It’s about doing
bigger picture things, working on new companies and investing in
cool new stuff that will benefit myself and my audience.”
Deyes doesn’t seem to have specific ideas in mind but, when
pressed, says one investment he’d “love to make” would be to buy
shares in a gin company.
“Or I’d love to work on a restaurant — something like that,” he
said. He’s also willing to work with tech startups.
“It won’t be ‘Alfie Deyes’ [branded], just things I’ve helped
shape,” he added.
All of this lends some credence to the rumours that Deyes has quit
Gleam, the powerful talent management company which put
Zoella, her brother Joe Sugg, Deyes, and many others on the path
to YouTube stardom. Deyes’ spokeswoman wouldn’t comment on his
status with Gleam. Gleam did not immediately respond to a request
for comment. Fans have spotted, however, that Deyes does not
appear on the front page of Gleam’s site alongside its other
Deyes said that he had been in a “bubble” over the last decade,
building up PointlessBlog on YouTube and striking the occasional
brand deal, but rarely thinking more ambitiously.
“Everything I’ve experienced in the last nine years has almost
been like a bubble,” he said. “And I’ve done extremely well in
this bubble, and I’ve had so much fun, but I haven’t seen what is
“It’s not that I want to hit any particular thing.”
With six minutes of the interview left, it’s difficult to wring
precise details out of Deyes beyond the fact he wants to meet
people with ideas.
We establish that Deyes doesn’t really want to invest lots of
money into startups.
“If someone needs £1 million, there are people who can get £1
million more easily than me. I’m not that person to be chucking
in big money early stage,” he said.
Business Insider explained the concept of Seedrs to Deyes, the
crowdfunding platform which lets people invest in early stage
startups. One of its most famous users is the tennis star Andy
Seedrs is a new concept to Deyes, but he said he would only
invest or collaborate with startups or projects where there was a
“It would be hard, I don’t know if I would be feel comfortable
investing in something without meeting the team and getting to
know what I can bring to them and what they want to get back,” he
said. “I feel like if it’s just monetary, someone else can
provide that bit.”
Asked why he isn’t simply launching his own startup, Deyes said:
“I’ve done that. I’ve got an ecommerce store called The Creator
Store where we do merchandising for different talent,
predominantly YouTubers, we do pop-up shops in London. We’ve done
that and it’s great … But there are endless opportunities. I
want to see what other people are up to.”
Alfie Deyes needs to diversify beyond YouTube
It makes sense that Deyes wants to diversify.
YouTube stardom probably isn’t a long-term career option and, if
Social Blade’s metrics are correct, Deyes’ followers on his main
PointlessBlog YouTube channel are strong but plateauing.
Deyes didn’t talk about his metrics with Business Insider, but
here are two graphs from Social Blade that shows his subscribers
growing quickly, then flattening out:
Once a YouTuber hits a plateau, it may make sense to prioritise
loyal, engaged subscribers over chasing new ones.
And an estimated maximum salary of £1 million a year, while out
of reach of most British 24-year-olds, actually isn’t that much
considering Deyes’ comparative fame. It’s not enough to put him
on any rich lists, and it’s less than the BBC’s highest paid
Finally, there’s the risk of depending solely on a medium which
is still popular with advertisers, but is increasingly running into
trouble over inappropriate content, a magnet for predators,
and terrorist videos.