Rebekah Monson is the cofounder and COO of WhereBy.Us. Monson realized she was queer in college, where she found herself ...
Running a content brand is notoriously hard
Whether you’re a social influencer, a writer, a media company, a charity, or a business, running a media brand consists of loads of manual work, a complicated stack of tools, high overhead, and uncertain economics.
Currently, customers of all sizes have to chain together dozens of tools, build their own metrics systems, hire engineers, and figure out how to make money from users or advertisers. For some, this barrier is so high they never start their brand at all. For others, it’s hard to know where to go next or how to grow. Focusing on a niche or community is the best way to build lasting engagement, but in the past it's been hard to make the business work that way.
We've changed that, starting with email newsletters.
We're helping customers of all sizes build, grow, and monetize their communities
We give customers all the tools in one box that they need to build a media brand for their community, focused around an email newsletter, and pair those tools with a proven playbook and growing network of other creators and news publishers.
Our no-code tools help them design their brand or import their existing brand, publish an engagement focused email newsletter, automatically build a website, grow their audience, and generate revenue through user subscriptions and advertising.
The result is a world where customers control their own destiny, with a clear path to monetizing their quality work and loyal community. This goes for small companies, large publishers, and individuals with a vision.
Advertisers also see the impact and value. Every one of our customers has attracted national household brands, and respected brands in their own communities, to become advertisers.
An all-in-one solution for building and engaging your community, starting with an email newsletter
Our simple process allows creators and brands to design and market to their community in just 6 weeks, often saving tens of thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of work. Our model is focused on engaged users, not impressions or page views, meaning creators receive revenue-per-user that's many times the traditional industry average.
Our base model is a monthly subscription and a revenue share, which keeps upfront costs low for customers and aligns our growth with our customers over time. Additional features and services generate even more revenue from enterprise customers.
650,000+ monthly reads, $1.8M+ annual revenue run rate
We currently have 5 customers on our platform in cities around the country—Miami, Orlando, Seattle, Portland and Pittsburgh—with dozens more on the way. WhereBy.Us founded these brands, and plans are underway to externalize them. Our network generates over $1.8M+ in annual revenue with more than 650,000 reads a month.
Our advanced pipeline of customers represents more than 3 million email readers.
Helping all customers, from individuals to businesses to publishers
We work with customers managing communities of all sizes and interests, across verticals, whether they’re already up and running, or just have an idea for a project.
Scalable revenue with great unit economics
We are a subscription and revenue-sharing model. We take a share of each dollar transacted with our customers’ readers and advertisers, and charge ongoing recurring subscription payments, just like traditional SaaS.
Our platform enables customers to make money directly from their users, in the form of subscriptions, and from advertisers through our self-service advertising system. We also contribute revenue through our national ad network.
Strong unit economics mean customers can make money with just 1,000 readers— it costs $2.16 to acquire a reader, and they’re worth $41 LTV as a free reader, and $363 when they upgrade to a paid membership. These numbers are improving as our network grows.
Total addressable market of $149B, tens of thousands of creators
Advertising is already a $238B industry in the US, with $172B+ of that being digital. By combining our subscription and ad revenue, we currently access a market worth $149B, and that’s just the local slice of the market. As we grow, we’re adding customers focused on professional industries, demographic groups, and hobbies or interests. We’re targeting independent journalists (10,000+ in the US), social influencers (500,000+ globally), and publishing companies (5,000+ in the US). And we only need 500 customers working with us to hit $100M in revenue.
Energy in this space has never been greater, and we’ve got a huge head start: as we continue to grow and expand, we expect our market to grow with us.
We’re on a mission to become the complete backend for content businesses
We primarily compete with DIY tools that customers use to attempt to build their brand on their own, such as Mailchimp, Substack, and Wordpress.
Unlike these sites, we’re not just a publishing tool-- we're a business partner in a box. While there are many tools for sending emails, there are not existing solutions that also help generate consistent revenue from your user community. We have mastered this by bringing all the pieces of building a great brand (from content to data to ads to subscriptions to growth) into one place, in a way that works together straight out of the box. This allows us to grow our value proposition and market share over time into areas like SMS and messaging.
As we grow, we'll stay ahead of any potential competition through the strength of our network and data. We've had a huge head start, and authenticity from having been customers ourselves.
A clear path to $100M with just 500 creators
WhereBy.Us has big plans for the future. By reaching our funding goal, we'll focus on expanding our platform to every vertical and customer category across the US, with our detailed go-to-market plan. We can hit $100M with just 500 customers, only a fraction of the total market. Best of all, we can be extraordinarily capital efficient in getting there, as we’re already on track to hit profitability by Q3 of 2020.
We have leading media and technology investors who believe in our vision
To date we have raised $4.5M, and we have only $535,000 left in the current $2.5M round.
- Brick Capital, who led the current $2.5M round. Their founder, Andrew Craissati, comes from a relevant background that includes senior roles with National Geographic, Sir Richard Branson & The Virgin Group
- Renowned angel investor and entrepreneur Jason Calacanis, an investor in companies including Uber and Thumbtack
- Newspaper chain McClatchy
- Knight Foundation, a philanthropy and investment fund focused on the future of media
The remaining $535,000 will specifically fund our national launch, the development of additional user, data, and automation features, and the signing of an estimated 60 new customers in the near term.
We know the problem, because we’ve been there ourselves
Rebekah, Bruce, and Chris met as friends in Miami and saw a problem: everyone they knew was excited about the community, but didn’t have a good way to connect with other locals. We launched The New Tropic newsletter in 2015 to change that. Eighteen months later, it was a profitable business. We launched a second brand in 2017 in Seattle with two talented customers, and saw the same pattern: great talent, content, and user love, but a multitude of tech and business model challenges. We started hearing from people around the world who wanted to launch similar brands for their communities, whether those were cities, demographic groups, professional industries, or just a personal interest. That helped us see a bigger opportunity: using our technology and model to empower customers to build their own businesses. We know how to make this happen, because we've been there.
Chris Sopher, Co-founder & CEO: previously at Knight Foundation, where he managed a portfolio of grants and investments in media technology; background in human-centered design and project management
Rebekah Monson, Co-founder & COO: previously at South Florida Sun Sentinel, University of Miami; a decade of experience in product/technology in newsrooms
Bruce Pinchbeck, Co-founder & CCO: previously at New World Symphony, Comcast, Philly.com; background in content production and creative strategy