Dappier is building a marketplace for publishers to sell their content to LLM builders

When Napster emerged in the late 1990s, it made it easy for people to grab music files without compensating the content owners.The iPod and the iTunes music store changed that by allowing artists or publishers to get paid for reusing their content in a digital context. Fast forward to today, and there are companies scraping content to train large language models without permission.

Dappier, an early stage startup, wants to ensure that publishers get paid when their content gets used, and today, announced a $2 million seed, and the launch of a marketplace where publishers can set a price for using their content in model training.

Dappier co-founder and CEO Dan Goikhman, calls his company a monetization stack for the emerging AI internet, providing a new way for publishers and data owners to get compensated for reusing their content.

“Our goal is to help media companies and information providers monetize their content as it’s being leveraged by emerging AI agents and platforms all around the world,” Goikhman told TechCrunch. “The idea basically is, how do you create a payment infrastructure for content as it’s distributed?”

Goikhman and his co-founders saw an opportunity as media owners reacted to companies like OpenAI scraping their content without permission in a couple of ways: they would sue or they would negotiate an “open kimono licensing deal.”

“And we thought that there was perhaps a better path to give content creators and data providers for monetizing their content, which is to create a transactional marketplace where content can be licensed on a per query basis or monetized on an ad supported basis,” he said.

They do this by letting customers connect to a content store via an RSS feed, and use that content to build a model using RAG (Retrieval-Augmented Generation). A publication can sell access to the model through the marketplace by setting a price in the same way you would set a CPM ad rate, or they could find other ways to monetize the content such as making an AI-fueled search engine available as a premium offering, as one example.

The approach gives publishers a new way to monetize their content at a time when they are clearly struggling to make money through website advertising alone. This could also be a helpful step towards multi-pronged monetization for individuals and small group newsletter publishers, not just the bigger publications. Goikhman says the company has been in touch with the newsletter platforms to talk about partnering with them around this new way to monetize their content.

Today’s $2 million round was led by Silverton Partners in Austin Texas, where the company also is based.

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