Startups

Patreon Acquires Kit To Bring Merch To Patron Memberships

Patreon, the company that helps artists and other creators receive an income through patron memberships, announced today that it acquired New York-based Kit, a network that allows users to make money by reviewing and sharing products online.

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Through Patreon, creators ranging from makeup gurus, painters, and musicians are supported by their subscribers and fans with tiered memberships. With its platform, Patreon aims to reshape the way that people think about art as a “sensible” profession.

“[By using Patreon] you can have a recurring steady income that grows year over year and you can buy a house and get health insurance just like everybody else. […] that has not been the future for artists for the last 25 years, and I think it will be in the next 25 years.” Patreon VP of Product, Wyatt Jenkins told Crunchbase News in a phone interview.

The company has aimed to further diversify its offerings. In February, Patreon launched Patreon Lens, an exclusive Snapchat or Instagram story-like feature. With its acquisition of Kit, it plans to fill a need creators have been asking for: merch.

“What’s happening today is so gnarly. Creators are packing boxes and putting address labels on envelopes and folding t-shirts, but what we’re creating is an automated merch solution.”Jenkins told Crunchbase News.

The company started working on its merch service last December, building out a platform to give third party vendors access to its large pool of creators and offer Patreon creators the option to choose which types of merch they want to send to their patrons.

“Some creators want really tight design control because they want to control their brand and they’ve got a great eye for that, and other creators are like a podcaster […] who just wants their logo on a bunch of stuff. For us it varies so widely that we have to give creators choice,” Jenkins told Crunchbase News.

As for Kit’s product, Jenkins says that maintaining the success of Kit is a long term priority for Patreon. “Kit is making creators money, and […] our mission is to get creators paid, so we want to maintain Kit and make sure that it continues to do so,” Jenkins explained, adding that in its long term vision, Patreon plans to integrate the best of Kit’s platform into its own.

The company is not disclosing the terms of the acquisition. However, Jenkins said both Patreon and Kit, which has raised a total of $2.5 million since its founding, are happy with the deal.

“Everybody is stoked. Their board is happy and our board is happy, and we found a place that we’re all excited about,” Jenkins said.

Founded in 2013, Patreon has raised more than $105 million from investors like Thrive Capital, Index Ventures, and others. It’s latest round, a $59.4 million Series C in September 2017, brought its valuation up to nearly $450 million.

According to Jenkins, Patreon currently has 100,000 creators supported by 2 million individuals with paid memberships. The company, which collects a small 5 percent cut on all memberships, is on track to pay out $300 million to its creators in 2018, which is nearly the total $350 million that the company paid out to creators in its first 5 years. It’s latest acquisition and plan to offer creators more membership options is yet another way the company plans to bring more creators to its platform, and more members to support them.

Illustration Credit: Li Anne Dias