Yes, Patreon is currently in the news because they kicked a number of creators off the platform for anti-feminism and racist speech – but whichever way the news cycle plays out, the underlying business model and idea in the context of technology and AI is still worth a few thoughts.
Patreon was created in 2013 by a DJ/musician and a computer scientist/entrepreneur that met at Stanford University. Jack Conte, the former DJ and, I guess, artist, is the folksy face of the highly popular membership platform running subscription based content, while the computer scientist Sam Yam, the CTO and serial Silicon Valley entrepreneur that sold AdWhirl to Google in 2010, is the tech wizard behind the scenes.
Five years, a few funding rounds, a few acquisitions, and a few cyberattacks later, the platform is valued at $450 million and employs over 170 people.
For us, the interesting parts are the venture capital partners financing the firm, the technology behind the membership platform and the digital strategies powering the expansion.