Patreon offers business infrastructure to independent content developers: people making videos, music, podcasts, paintings, comics, games, magazines and other forms of media for fans online. It assists them turn the little subset of superfans within their wider fan base into paying regular monthly clients and manage relationships with those clients throughout the web. Patreon is angling to become the dominant platform for developers to construct these membership organisations, a position from which it might expand into other services and products for developers.
In this area of the EC-1, I am digging into the structure, performance and health of Patreon as a company. The areas are arranged as follows:
- Company model
- User metrics
- New revenue streams
- Expenses and efficiencies
- Mergers and acquisitions
- Investors and fundraising
Patreon’s business model is uncomplicated, though it is ending up being more intricate. It charges developers 10 percent of their incomes through the platform, which is divided into a 5 percent platform cost and a 5 percent payment processing fee. Patreon has always had a flat 5 percent platform charge, however its payment processing costs have actually differed in the past.
Patreon has moved strategy, no longer functioning as a market connecting fans and creators but as a SaaS platform with a suite of tools for developers. Rather than seeing its charges as a market rake, a much better analogy is to the commission model comparable to that of a talent manager, representative or record label. Patreon’s incentives are straight aligned with its consumers’ goal of producing more earnings from their fans.
That basic design will get more complicated, as Patreon is poised to present extra commission fees in exchange for access to some brand-new performance and services. Plus, the business acquired 2 startups in 2015 (Memberful and Kit), which each featured their own company designs.
On January 23 rd, Patreon announced it expects to process more than $500 million in payments in 2019 That would put the business’s 2019 profits from its core Patreon platform at north of $50 million, given its 10 percent cut.
Back in May 2018, CEO Jack Conte stated in a video that they would process $300 million in payments that year, indicating roughly $30 million in earnings for2018 That was two times the $150 million they processed in 2017 (the payment fee was variable until 2018, so the 10 percent presumption does not hold for 2017, but I assume earnings was in the $12-15 million range).
None of these figures consist of profits from Memberful or Kit. Package’s profits is likely a rounding mistake by contrast, and there is no longer any team dealing with it or resources allocated to developing it even more.
In contrast, Conte informed me calling Memberful a rounding error would be “way off” and that it’s a product with “amazing product-market fit and unbelievable traction” whose income doesn’t look small beside Patreon’s. TechCrunch’s Josh Constine reported it had 500 paying clients and 7 employees at the time of the acquisition. I have not found valuable information to use in estimating Memberful’s earnings, so whether this is $3 million or $5 million or another quantity, I do not know.
Is Patreon successful? “Yeah, we have actually a ways to go there,” said Conte. After multiple years of trying to determine its long-lasting company design and role within the online developer ecosystem, Patreon has clarified that creators are its customers and it will create brand-new profits streams by using new products and services to them.
Patreon reports the total number of creators making at least $1 on its platform as “over 100,000,” however they have been using that fact considering that mid-2018 The independent website Graphtreon, which approximates Patreon information utilizing the company’s API, says the total number of developers with at least one customer is 132,500
Based Upon this exact same Graphtreon data set, the variety of creators increased 105 percent year-over-year in 2017 (to 92,500), but then only 39 percent in 2018 (to 129,000). Patreon’s Head of Communications said the appropriate 2018 growth rate for creators is “somewhat over 50 percent growth.”
Income nearly folded the in 2015, and earnings is tied to developer earnings. If revenue growth is holding consistent while creator growth is slowing, it indicates Patreon is including fewer small creators who don’t produce much income, but is still getting strong traction among more established creators who do.
Developer churn firmly associates to creator earnings on the platform. People don’t ignore a meaningful income source, but they will leave if they have actually been trying to gain clients for weeks and just have $10 to show for it. A a great deal of creators sign up with Patreon before they have a fan base– they see effective creators on Patreon and erroneously associate that success to joining Patreon instead of bringing a pre-existing fan base to it. They churn after a few months of gaining little to no monetary backing.
From the information Patreon consented to reveal me during my research study, I can tell you that the annual churn rate of Patreon developers drops under 1 percent for those creating $500 monthly in profits through the platform. The higher the income, the lower the churn, and after $1,000 each month in particular, it is extremely rare for developers to leave the platform at all.
$ 1K Developers
Offered those churn metrics, Patreon’s team now determines the business’s development by two KPIs: 1) the number of developers making $1,000 per month and 2) the total quantity of cash those developers are making through Patreon.
This concentrate on $1,000 monthly developers (which I’ll refer to as “$ 1K Developers”) most likely originates from their stickiness as customers, the disproportionate contribution they make to Patreon’s income and the tactical choice to narrow the platform’s scope to building tools for developers with existing fan bases (not trying to help developers without fan bases get discovered).
These $1K Developers receive 70 percent of the patronage and so create 70 percent of Patreon’s income (or ~$35 million in 2019). Offered the extent to which material is a hits service, in which the super stars in each field capture a massively out of proportion percentage of the economics, Patreon is less top-heavy than one might otherwise anticipate. While it has numerous $50,000 each month developers, and undoubtedly its single highest-earning creator– making roughly $400-500,000 monthly by my price quote— represent nearly 1 percent of all money streaming through the platform, Patreon’s dominant earnings source is creators making between $1,000 and $50,000 per month. This is the mid-tail of material developers that the company’s organisation thesis hinges on.
Patreon does not reveal how many $1K Developers there are, however CEO Jack Conte stated “It’s a small portion. Since it’s an open platform, we at one point had hundreds and hundreds of countless creators who were making $0.” By the estimates of Graphtreon developer Tom Boruta, there are currently more than 4,300 developers making at least $1,000 per month (and more than 9,200 developers making $500 per month). That small subset– 4,300 out of 132,500 active creators or about 3.2 percent of its consumers– is Patreon’s core focus nowadays.
In 2018, developers used Patreon to produce income from more than 3 million active customers. That is a 50 percent year-over-year increase from the 2 million customers Patreon had processed payments from in2017 Utilizing information from 2nd Step— a firm that tracks billions of anonymized debit and credit transactions from millions of U.S. consumers– Patreon seems keeping patrons at a healthy rate. Averaging throughout numerous accomplices, 62 percent of first-time patrons on Patreon are still sending out payments six months later and 51 percent are still doing so after a year. For contrast, those retention rates are about 10 percent behind Netflix’s best-in-class 73 percent and 66 percent metrics, respectively, but on par with those of Hulu (61 percent at 6 months and 53 percent at 12 months).
Far from a distinctively San Francisco phenomenon, clients are geographically dispersed too. According to the same Second Measure information set, while New york city City leads in (U.S.-based) customers, San Antonio is the 2nd most typical city with 2.2 percent of U.S. deals, with Austin, Chicago, Houston, Las Vegas, Dallas, Tucson, Colorado Springs and Atlanta all emerging in the top 20 (a “city” here is a legal jurisdiction, not a metro location). Moreover, Patreon confirmed that 40 percent of all money streaming through Patreon since founding has actually come from patrons outside the U.S.