Patreon, a company that lets people directly support creaters of stuff, just bought Memberful, a company that does the same thing in a different way. Ben Thompson of Stratechery has an exclusive interview with the founders of both companies. Here’s Patreon founder Jack Conte:
There’s a whole segment of the market that doesn’t want to build a membership business on someone else’s platform, they want full control of the branding, they want full control of the experience. Right now Patreon is unable to serve that market, if we were to build that, it would be a completely separate thing. Working with the Memberful team accelerates us into that market segment, so it gives us a very big head start. I would say mostly that’s where the value is.
I realize that this is a bit inside baseball, but I’ve been using Memberful for the membership programs for both Six Colors and The Incomparable for a couple of years. In fact, the above paragraph describes me perfectly: I didn’t want to use Patreon, I wanted to build two membership programs myself and integrate them directly with my two sites. Memberful let me do that.
It’s a smart move by Patreon, then, to recognize that this is a part of the market they couldn’t serve, and they chose to buy a team that knows how to do it rather than building a duplicate in-house. I’m cautiously optimistic that this will mean good things for all of us who rely on Memberful for an important portion of our incomes as content creators.
(Here’s Stephen Hackett, another Memberful customer twice over, with his thoughts.)