Couldn’t you have had that conversation with your financial partners before? You know, if they were all happy. Couldn’t you have gone to your financial partners and said we might have it changed?
Could we have handled it in a different way? Yes, of course we could. But we’re happy with where we ended up.
At the end of our interviews, the Stokelys took us to their office and there was another brother wearing a woolly jumper that looked like an early Christmas present. There were ducks wandering around the patio, cricket trinkets on the desks. It seemed just a setting for a charming family business, but for OnlyFans . . .
Within three weeks of us visiting, the Stokelys had left OnlyFans. Tim stepped down as chief executive and Guy and the rest of the family followed.
Just like that, the Stokelys had gone. We’ll admit it, we were confused. We called them to ask what happened, we didn’t get much of an answer. Now the story of the Stokelys and OnlyFans that you heard earlier, those are all true. The family business, the way OnlyFans democratised porn. But we later learned that was only one side of the story. Like looking at a movie set from a single camera. It didn’t explain why the Stokelys left OnlyFans or that crazy hokey cokey over banning porn or why they sold their company when it was doing so well in 2018? To figure out what was going on, we need to rewind and look out of shot.
And that starts with the current owner, the guy who bought OnlyFans from the Stokelys in 2018. Now, plenty of investors have been tempted to buy OnlyFans over the years – mainstream investors. But when the Stokelys sold, it was to a man called Leo Radvinsky, a 40-year-old Ukrainian-American who made his fortune in the porn industry. He’s not one for publicity. Here’s what Tim told us about Leo when we visited.
You know, he’s been absolutely a joy to how to find people near me on onlyfans work with and such a smart guy and is a huge reason we are where we are.
Remember in 2018, OnlyFans was a fast-growing business, but it hadn’t really caught fire. The good times were ahead. So why did the Stokelys give it all up to Leo Radvinsky. Tim was cagey with his reasons for selling OnlyFans, but he did give us a few clues.
I mean, what I can tell you is it’s one of the best decisions we made. He’s very kind of hands-on and adds so much value to the technical part of the business. And then he also works, you know, to an extent on the payments side.
We didn’t think much of it at the time. Leo knows tech. He made his career running a live video porn site called My About three Cameras. But when we listened back, we realised the intriguing part was the second half of that sentence. Tim said Leo also worked on the payments side.
Which raises one blindingly obvious question, why was Leo, the seasoned pornographer, helping a family of bankers with payments? So, you know, I’ve been looking for an explanation of why the Stokelys sold OnlyFans. I think I found something, but I have a little confession to make.
Nothing. Exactly. And it more or less stayed that way for a year and a half after OnlyFans launched, even though there was lots of porn on the site. I mean, this really transformed how I understood the whole OnlyFans venture. It may well have been crucial to the entire business model. It was claiming to be porn-free, and if you don’t have porn, you don’t have payment trouble. The Stokelys could benefit from easier, cheaper payment processing. They’d get like any mainstream platform.