The creator economy has boomed significantly in recent years. As per a 2018 SignalFire report, over 2 million creators around the globe are earning 6-figure incomes. The current pandemic has only helped spur that momentum further. However, some of the most widely popular platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Instagram, often get between creators and their audience with ads or by changing their algorithms.
$6M for Disciple Media
There are multiple new social media platforms cropping up, but the London-based startup Disciple Media offers something unique. The startup promises to let creators build independent community platforms where the company doesn’t get in their way.
This means no intrusive ads or getting lost in a sea of content creators because of algorithmic changes. The company’s idea has garnered notable interest as it has now secured $6 million (£4 million approx.) in its series A funding round, as it approaches 2 million members on its platform. The investment was led by all previous investors including several private investors – Nick Mason, the drummer from Pink Floyd; Sir Peter Michael, CEO of cray computers, founder of classic FM, Quantel, and Cosworth Engineering; Rob Pierre, founder and CEO of Jellyfish; and Keith Morris, the former chairman at Sabre Insurance.
The funding will be used to bolster their position in the creator economy with the company already having posted a 200% YoY growth, with its recurring revenue growing by over 160% in 2020. If anything, these numbers suggest that the current platforms aren’t meeting creators’ needs and better alternatives are in demand. Disciple is touted to be a ‘Community Growth Platform’ that enables brands and creators to build owned, independent community platforms. In a conversation with UKTN, the company’s CEO, Benji Vaughan, reveals what that actually entails, and more.
“By having a community platform, creators can engage with their network on a deeper level, freely sharing content and creating exclusive feeds for their members,” Vaughan says. “Community members can benefit from tailored content and messaging features, without being slaves to the algorithm or getting distracted by the noise of low-quality content on these mainstream social networking platforms.”
A unique community-building experience
Disciple’s unique take on the community experience has helped the company garner 2 million members on their platform. The startup hosts over 500 communities from around the world, which include the likes of American country star and American idol judge Luke Bryan, alongside other smaller communities like NHS GPs and numerous other creators. As for their revenue model, the company earns money by charging creators to host their communities on their platform.
We asked Vaughan how exactly the startup pulled off such high growth metrics. He reveals it is because of the independence their platform delivers to its creators. “Unlike Facebook and Instagram, power and the ownership is in the hands of Disciple’s community hosts, not us,” he notes. A creator can post messages to their community as per their needs and drive high engagement. This is possible as there aren’t hundreds of ‘attention-sapping ads’ in the way.
New chairman, new endeavours
Alongside its funding round and the 2 million user milestone announcement, Disciple Media is also announcing Eirik Svendsen as their new chairman. Svenderson’s expertise is said to span across online marketplaces, SaaS and the publishing and media industry. They will leverage his knowledge of creating network effects and building product and engineering led, high growth companies to focus on the community hosts and their communities.
Svendsen joins the company’s suite of investors, which include Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, Sir Peter Michael, CEO of cray computers, Rob Pierre, founder and CEO of Jellyfish and Keith Morris, ex. chairman Sabre Insurance. The startup is quite hushed on what its current valuation is and how it plans to use the freshly acquired funds.
The startup currently consists of 30 people and is always on the lookout for fresh talent.
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