Several current and former members of the TikTok creator collective Sway LA have joined social media app Triller — which bills itself as a TikTok competitor — in both a creative and corporate capacity.
Josh Richards, who recently departed the hearthrobby Sway House to pursue music and other entrepreneurial ventures, has joined Triller as its chief strategy officer. In addition to 18-year-old Richards (pictured above, 20.4 million TikTok followers), two other Sway LA members — Griffin Johnson (8.6 million followers) and Noah Beck (8.3 million followers) — have also joined Triller as advisors. As part of these appointments, each of the guys has become an equity shareholder in Triller, which already counts Snoop Dogg and Lil Wayne as celebrity investors.
In terms of content creation, The Los Angeles Times reports that Richards, Johnson, Beck, and another creator named Anthony Reeves are all departing TikTok — the platform that turned them into social media sensations — in favor of Triller. That said, sources tell Tubefilter that the guys will continue to post on TikTok, though their primary focus going forward will be on Triller.
In citing his reasoning for the shift, Richards called out the security concerns that have long followed Chinese-owned TikTok.
“After seeing the U.S. and other countries’ governments’ concerns over TikTok — and given my responsibility to protect and lead my followers and other influencers — I followed my instincts as an entrepreneur and made it my mission to find a solution,” Richards said in a statement. “Throughout my career as an influencer and entrepreneur, my goal has always been to protect my peers from the dangers of the industry and to be a mentor and friend.”
Triller is an A.I.-powered social media app that provides a similar service to TikTok, enabling users to create content set to popular songs — thanks to licensing deals in place with Warner, Sony, and Universal. Last year, Triller raised $28 million in venture funding, and the company says it surpassed 50 million monthly active users in June. Triller, which will host Jake Paul‘s next boxing match, also says it garnered significant traction after TikTok was banned in India, where it counted 120 million users.
In his new role at Triller, Richards will oversee the implementation of a livestreaming functionality and the addition of monetization tools.
This is far from Richards’ first entrepreneurial foray. He is also the co-founder of TalentX Entertainment — a digital talent management firm that represents several of TikTok’s biggest stars, including the Sway fleet.