With $15 million in Funding Patreon could impact Educational Content

Crowdfunding has become a valid choice for edtech entrepreneurs who look for funding but don’t want to necessarily raise money from angels or VCs. Sure, before you get this kind of funding you need to have a crowd, a classic chicken and egg problem many projects have to face.

On the other hand, we have seen crowdfunded projects that turned into VC backed companies thanks to a product that captures the imagination of the crowd like the robotics startup Play-i.

But there are already Kickstarter and Indiegogo, so why do we need yet another crowdfunding service you might ask. While the general crowdfunding approach works well with hardware products and other big projects, think of it as a special form of preorder, it does, however, not work well for content creators who need to rely on a continuous stream of support from their audience. And this is where Patreon comes in.

Other than pledging money in return for a perk or the finished product on Kickstarter or Indiegogo, patrons on Patreon set an amount they are willing to pay per piece of content released. This content may be a video, song, podcast episode, blog post, everything that gets published on a regular basis.

The advantage for the content creator is planning dependability. The whole process of creating content and receiving some sort of payment for it gets far easier as she knows what sum will come in when the next video or post is published.

This model was initially created by Adam Curry aka “the podfather” for his different podcasting shows. He calls it the “value for value model”. If a listener gets value out of the content it is only fair to give some value back in the form of financial support.

Patreon was created by Samuel Yam and Jack Conte, the latter of Pomplamoose-fame and therefore very aware of the struggle independent artists face when it comes to monetizing their craft.

Launched a year ago, Patreon quickly became the must-go-to site for many leading creators. At launch the site featured three creators, today over 25.000 creators use Patreon with 180 signing up every day. As Conte explains in a video message about the fund raising, Patreon is a creator-first company. Other than media companies that are consumer focused the team understands the value of creators and their content. Instead of focusing on consumer growth by driving down cost, Patreon wants to enable creatives to live from their work.

We already covered the movement in our post about YouTube’s effort to win back talent. Nevertheless, up to now there was of course the problem that in order to survive, Patreon needed to become financially viable for the team, as well.

With $15 million from a group of 17 angel investors and VCs, Patreon can now focus on growing its user base from both ends, getting more creators on board as well as promoting them to potential patrons. The immediate risk of Patreon closing down and leaving the creators with no income is also solved this way.

The remaining question certainly is when YouTube will launch its own version of Patreon integrated within its portal – or whether Patreon might become an acquisition target. In the meantime I think it is worthwhile for educators to get familiar with the site and the potential it has for educational content. From YouTube videos to lesson plans and blog posts, Patreon has the potential to support a variety of educational projects that don’t need to raise tons of money to get them off the ground but rely on a constant support of their community.


Further Reading

  • Patreon Raises $15 Million Series A, Revamps Site To Focus More On Content | TechCrunch
  • YouTube plans Aggressive Moves to win back Talent | EDUKWEST

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Kirsten Winkler is the founder and editor of EDUKWEST. She also writes about Social Media, Digital Society and Startups at