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Mighty Networks raises $50M to build a creator economy for the masses – TechCrunch

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Mighty Networks, a platform designed to give creators and brands a dedicated place to start and grow communities, has closed on $50 million in a Series B funding round led by Owl Ventures.

Ziff Capital Partners and LionTree Partners also participated in the financing, along with existing backers, Intel Capital, Marie Forleo, Gretchen Rubin, Dan Rosensweig, Reid Hoffman, BBG Ventures, and Lucas Venture Group. The investment brings Palo Alto-based Mighty Networks’ total raised since its 2017 inception to $67 million. 

Mighty Networks founder and CEO Gina Bianchini — who started the company with Tim Herby and Thomas Aaron — is no stranger to building nurturing environments for community building. Previously, she was the CEO, and co-founder of Ning, where she led the company’s rapid growth to three million Ning Networks created and about 100 million users around the world in three years. 

With Mighty Networks, Bianchini’s goal is to build “a creator middle class” founded on community memberships, events, and live online courses.   “We have a platform for people to create communities the way that they would create e-commerce stores,” she told TechCrunch. “So what Shopify has done for e-commerce, we’re doing for digital subscriptions and digital payments where the value is around a community that is mastering something interesting or important together and not just content alone.”

The company’s flagship Business Plan product is aimed at new creators to give them an easy way to get started with digital subscriptions, Bianchini said. Established brands, organizations, and successful creators use its Mighty Pro plan to get everything Mighty Networks offers on their own branded iOS, iPad, and Android apps

Mighty Networks — which operates as a SaaS business — has seen impressive growth. In 2020, ARR climbed by “2.5x” while annual customer growth climbed by 200%. Customers are defined as paying creators who host their community, courses, and events on their own Mighty Network. The company also saw a 400% annual growth in payments, or instead in subscriptions and fees where a creator or brand will sell a membership or an online course.

The pandemic was a boon to the business and the fact that it launched live events last year. “We were able to help many businesses quickly move online — from yoga studios to leadership speakers and consultants — and now that the world is coming back, they’ll be able to use the features that we’ve built into the platform from day one around finding members, events and groups near them, as well as making everything via not just the web but for mobile apps,” Bianchini said.

One of the startup’s goals is to help people understand that they don’t need massive followers (such as 1 million followers on TikTok) to be successful creators. For example, a creator charging 30 people for a subscription worth around $1,000 a year can still pull in $30,000 a year. So while it’s not huge, it’s undoubtedly still substantial — hence the company’s intent to build a “creator middle class.”

Mighty Networks has more than 10,000 paying creators, brands, and coaches today. Users include established creators and brands such as YouTube star Adriene Mishler, Xprize and Singularity University founder Peter Diamandis, author Luvvie Ajayi Jones, comedian Amanda Seales, Girlboss founder Sophia Amoruso and brands such as the TED conference and wellness scheduling platform MINDBODY.

“Content alone will kill the creator economy,” Bianchini said. “We can’t build a thriving creator movement on an exhausting, unfair dynamic where content creators rent audiences from big tech platforms, are required to produce a never-ending stream of content, and get paid pennies for it, if they get paid at all. Creators need to own their community on the internet, where members meet each other and get results and transformation.”  Owl Ventures Managing Director Amit Patel said his firm was impressed by Mighty Networks before meeting the company.

“No company in this space has more loyal, passionate believers, and when we saw firsthand that creator could successfully build paid communities and online courses on a Mighty Network with as few as 30 members, we wanted to be a part of unlocking this creator middle class for a million more creators,” Patel said in a written statement.

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Tristan McCue is a 26-year-old junior programmer who enjoys reading, binge-watching boxed sets, and appearing in the background on TV. He is smart and friendly, but can also be very evil and a bit lazy.He is an Australian Christian. He has a post-graduate degree in computing.
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