It was in 2014 that Kit Chilvers started his first Instagram page, ‘@football.newz’, on which he was posting game scores and astonishingly grew an audience of over one million followers in just 12 months. This was only the beginning. Fast forward to 2021 and 22-year-old Kit and his team had built several more social media accounts including ‘@pubity’, ‘@dadsaysjokes’, and ‘memezar’, among others, with a combined following of over 100 million people.
CEO Monthly has recognised Kit’s extraordinary success in the world of social media by crowning him Entertainment News CEO of the Year 2022 – Northern England, so we got in touch with him and his business partner, Iyrah Williams to learn more about Pubity Group and their plans for world domination.
Having fast become Instagram influencers at just 14-years-old, Kit Chilvers and Iyrah Williams went from focusing on just sports and memes on their football page to expanding to an array of social media accounts that are diversely themed around humour, travel, social commentary, gaming, and even pets. In the beginning, Kit certainly wasn’t expecting it to become such a goliath, saying, “I just started it as a hobby, from school here in Worcester. It was like a game to see how many followers I could get. At the time, there wasn’t as much money as there is now in social media, and it’s still so new.”
He encouraged his friend, Iyrah to create his own page, too, and by the age of 16, they had gained over two million followers between them and caught the attention of British digital news publisher, LADbible. Rather than going to college, they were snapped up as apprentices by the news outlet, with it supporting them in their move to Manchester to take on their new roles. The pair found themselves overseeing LADbible’s main Instagram account and discovering popular memes such as Big Shaq’s ‘Man’s Not Hot’.
Kit and Iyrah enjoyed working for LADbible, having grown its Instagram account from two million followers to around seven million, showing their ability to keep on top of all the trends and taking part in a range of exciting projects. In fact, they soon spotted a “niche in the market for pictures and posts that weren’t being posted anywhere”, including Reddit and Twitter content that was “edgier” and “not as brand friendly” for LADbible’s audience.
Knowing there would be an audience that would resonate with that content, they decided to go on their own venture, launching the ‘@pubity’ and ‘@memezar’ pages. These pages were fast gaining traction not only in the UK but also the US, with the duo using the same techniques to promote their pages since the beginning in form of shoutouts from other popular pages. They continued to curate popular content by gaining permission from the copyright holder or by purchasing content from licensing agencies.
Kit and the team know exactly what their audiences want, with him saying, “It’s being able to stick to what people really want to see overall. We say for people that want to grow themselves, stick to a niche. It’s really hard to achieve that top line straight away. You have to go through a certain point of being a niche audience, whether it be, for example Francis Bourgeois, the guy that did the trains. He really knew what he wanted, and that’s when you can expand.”
And their journey hadn’t ended with LADbible, either. By the end of 2019, Pubity Group had grown a huge international audience, the majority of which is in the US, and Kit saw the opportunity to collaborate with LADbible. So, he reached out to co-founder and CEO, Solly Solomou who agreed that he wanted Pubity Group to help LADbible reach the US.
Speaking about catering for an American audience, Kit says, “We’re around 50% US and about 25% UK. Just because of the numbers that we have, we just changed our terminology to work with the US audience because we know that if we want more followers, the numbers are over there with the US and Canada. In terms of taking on the US, it’s really where the money is – I mean, the majority of the budgets in the US are so much bigger, and the deals that we can achieve are so much bigger in the US. For us, it’s where we really see ourselves in the next 12 months.”
Iyrah adds, “We’re building a team over in the US, as well. As of now, we’ve got 15 full-time staff and one of those is in America. We’re looking to build a bit more of a presence over there, in New York and LA.
“We’ve got team members out in India, too, so it’s not just UK or America. We’re looking to hire globally because nowadays people can work from anywhere.”
Kit elaborates, “Being in different time zones, it really helps us to get everything out whenever it happens, so for example, if we’re asleep over here in the UK, we have someone, whether it be in India or LA, that can get content out.”
Pubity Group soon found itself partnering with TikTok, promoting, and using the platform months before it gained huge popularity during the pandemic. The Pubity Group team were posting videos on TikTok and also sharing these to Instagram to urge people to download TikTok. And that’s not all in terms of collaborations for the company. It has worked with the likes of dating app, Hinge and fitness brand, Gymshark, as well as been working on a new project called No Brainer TV, a platform for original content.
Now, Pubity Group has 15 main pages that people might not know are all owned by the same company. Kit and Iyrah are really pushing creating their own content, with Iyrah saying, “We’re making videos with our own inhouse creators who have their own big followings on TikTok, and we’re using them to create cool brands together and make our own content instead of using other people’s.”
He continues, “We’ve done some really good stuff. We’ve got the biggest dad jokes brand in the world, and for that, we’ve done a best-selling Amazon book. We’ve done a lot of sports stuff, too. In all these niche areas, we’re trying to create as much original content as we can.”
So, what’s next for the behemoth that is Pubity Group? Iyrah shares, “Our next step going into 2023 is to really double down at creating our own original content because we’ve seen really good success over the last six months from creating our own stuff. For example, our video went super viral on TikTok and we gained over 200,000 followers on a brand new page in just two weeks.”
There really is no signs of stopping for Kit, Iyrah, and the team, who are well on their way to becoming one of the biggest youth/gen z publishers, and we at CEO Monthly are truly rooting for their continued success.