Will Keenan, Former Digital Exec at Endemol Shine, Joins Talent-Focused Startup COY Creator as Chief Revenue Officer

Will Keenan - COY Creator
Courtesy of Will Keenan/COY Creator

Will Keenan has returned to the entertainment industry, joining COY Creator, a startup touting a full-service “business-in-a-box” platform for digital creators, as chief revenue officer.

Keenan had joined Endemol Shine North America in 2013, where he launched the company’s Endemol Beyond division. While there, Keenan cultivated a talent and creator roster that included global music star Pitbull, online lifestyle guru Michelle Phan, musician and comedian Andy Milonakis, viral sensation Brittany Furlan and rock icon Courtney Love.

Keenan exited Endemol Shine in 2015 and took a sabbatical from the industry to start a not-for-profit in New Jersey, private religious facility St. Babs Grande Retreat, and raise his first child. Prior to joining Endemol in November 2013, Keenan was VP of vertical development and programming at Maker Studios (which was acquired by Disney), where he signed, launched and developed YouTube channels for the likes of Margaret Cho, James Gunn and Adrian Grenier.

Matt Silk, COY Creator’s CEO, said Keenan will lead the company’s overall business, strategic partnerships and talent relations efforts. According to Silk, COY Creator is officially launching its new platform this month with Keenan’s arrival and after a beta-development phase. The company says the platform allows talent to host exclusive content experience on their own URL with “no brand competition, 100% data ownership and complete control of their fan engagement.” (“COY” stands for “Capitalize on You.”)

“I can’t wait to work side-by-side with Will as we help launch the businesses of some of the top creators and talent in the world,” Silk said in a statement. “I don’t think we could write a job requirements list as good as his background is for our company. Our mission is to help creators set themselves up for long-term success and now we have the right person to help us accomplish just that.”

To date, Keenan and Silk have signed actor Caylee Cowan (“Divinity,” “Willy’s Wonderland”), Bollywood singer-actor Shweta Pandit, and YouTube prankster Ed Bassmaster. Keenan is currently in final negotiations with actor-comedian King Bach (who has more than 100 million social followers) and for COY Creator to power Ultrafree, a clothing brand started by Drea de Matteo (“The Sopranos”) and her partner, musician-artist Robby Staebler (UVWAYS).

Keenan commented, “COY Creator is the perfect place at the perfect time for me to make a return to the entertainment industry. For a while now, I’ve been perplexed at why no person, company or startup had established itself to be creator-first, to provide the obvious features and services that talent has been telling me for years they want the most. What Matt and his team have developed at COY Creator is exactly what is missing from this space or as our colleague Drea de Matteo recently said, ‘COY Creator’s business model is the future of Hollywood.’”

Added Keenan, “COY Creator is focused exclusively on ‘B2B2C’ (business-to-business-to-creator) rather than the company focusing on building out its own brand. We are truly going to give star talent the power to engage their fans like never before possible.”

Keenan started his career starring in and producing indie films including “Tromeo & Juliet” (co-written by James Gunn, now co-head of DC Studios); “Terror Firmer”; and “Good Machine’s Love God” (the producing debut of Anthony Bregman). He produced Bollywood films in the late 2000s and segued into the digital space as an executive in 2011. A documentary focused on Keenan’s life and career, “Do You Know Who I Think I Am?”, has been in production over the past year and will be released by Red Cup Films with director Brian Wild and producer Scott Boyle.