Patreon, a company which allows creators to earn an income through patron memberships, has announced that it is acquiring Memberful, a software company which lets artists and content creators add memberships to their existing platforms. This announcement comes just months after Patreon acquired merch sharing company Kit.
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Founded in 2013 by former NFL player Drew Strojny, Memberful aims to help artists and other content creators get paid with its membership software.
“We’re not highly acquisitive, even though we’ve done two this year,” Patreon VP of Product Wyatt Jenkins half-joked during a phone interview. “But with Drew, our missions were so aligned. We’re both so creator-centric in a world where ad platforms are taking over the planet.”
According to an interview with Hack to Start, Strojny, who taught himself to code during the offseason, came up with the idea for Memberful while running Theme Foundry, a WordPress theme marketplace. Using the profits from Theme Foundry, Strojny initially founded Memberful to create a better membership software for individuals using WordPress.
Unlike Patreon, Memberful focuses on clients who want to keep complete control over the branding, marketing, and management of their projects. With Memberful, users can add a subscription link to their website. Memberful also integrates with WordPress and email newsletter services like MailChimp. Its approach to facilitating memberships has won the small bootstrapped company customers like podcast company Gimlet Media.
Jenkins told Crunchbase News that many of the 100,000 creators on Patreons platform benefit from the Patreon brand, as potential patrons view their membership through the Patreon platform itself. However, Patreon creators expressed interested in a more autonomous approach, particularly those at the high end of the market.
“A lot of creators have been asking us for this for a while at Patreon.” Jenkins expressed. “It was on our roadmap to start to think about this in the end of 2018, beginning of 2019 anyway, and then we met Drew and we looked at Memberful and we said, ‘Wow, this is fantastic.’”
The Memberful platform will be incorporated into Patreon as a wholly owned subsidiary. It will retain its branding and operate as a separate entity. Existing customers on the Memberful platform will maintain their current payment system, but the pricing for future customers will be optimized “to fit into the Patreon family of products.” Jenkins said that optimization will involve tightening up the high and low ends of Patreon’s tiered payment system so that the model is closer to the company’s own pricing system.
“We’d like Memberful to be a standalone company that has its own roadmap that is separate from Patreon,” Jenkins said. While the financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, Memberful’s six-person team has found a comfy new home with a parent organization that believes in its mission.
“Memberful is a fledgling. But it’s kickin’ ass, and it’s got a strong customer list for being so small. So we’re stoked to add them to the team,” Jenkins said. With this acquisition, Patreo is furthering its reach into another segment of the creator market.