Mighty Networks — a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform designed for community creators — just raised $50 million in a Series B funding round with the help of Owl Ventures and other investors.
The capital will “make it even easier for a new creator to start and grow a community they own and fully benefit from,” stated Founder and CEO Gina Bianchini. It also takes the total amount of money Mighty Networks raised to $67 million since its launch in 2017.
Read on to learn how Bianchini’s company used its offerings to succeed in 2020 and gain its investors’ trust.
A SaaS Platform for a Creator Middle Class
Mighty Networks aims to facilitate the community-building process through digital subscriptions.
“We have a platform for people to create communities the way that they would create e-commerce stores,” Bianchini told TechCrunch. “So what Shopify has done for e-commerce, we’re doing for digital subscriptions and digital payments where the value is around a community that is mastering something interesting or important together, and not just content alone.”
The company is built on five principles:
- Communities are awesome
- People pay attention to what they pay for
- You don’t need to be an expert, just one-half step ahead
- Online courses and community belong together
- People need community now more than ever
“We believe the path to a rich, vibrant creator middle class — which we define broadly as creators who generate over $30,000 per year from digital subscriptions and payments — runs through communities mastering something interesting or important together,” said Bianchini.
The platform truly took off in 2020 because the need for community was much stronger than anticipated due to the coronavirus pandemic. People needed an outlet to find others with similar interests, goals or hobbies, and Mighty Networks embodied that role in the digital space.
Creators used the platform more than ever in 2020, with a 200% growth year over year compared to 2019. At the same time, the revenue generated from the creators’ communities — through memberships, online courses, etc. — grew by more than 400 %, according to the company.
The company’s CEO says that the growth seen in 2020 can be attributed to Mighty Network’s various offerings that are tailored to creators’ needs — with more tools and upgrades available as prices go up.
Defining Post-Pandemic Success for Mighty Networks
Although Mighty Networks’ success became apparent last year, the company strategically built up to it. Bianchini explained that her team and the platform’s users co-created an innovative approach to live online courses right before the stay-at-home orders became official.
The company could be tested as the world slowly transitions back to in-person events. Bianchini doesn’t see this eventual shift as an obstacle. In fact, she wants her creators to take advantage of it.
“Now that the world is coming back, they’ll be able to use the features that we’ve built into the platform from day one around finding members, events and groups near them, as well as making everything via not just the web but mobile apps,” Bianchini said. “We believe that making our platform even easier for creators starting from scratch to be successful will be the most important thing we can do over the next year and beyond,” she told SUBTA.
Old habits die hard, and new habits could take some time to fade away as well. For almost a year and a half, most people in the world have had to find new ways to engage with others online. This new form of interaction could set aspiring creators up for success, said Bianchini. The Mighty Networks’ CEO explained that her platform will makes finding a group or a community easier than other methods — yellow pages, google, etc. —, and it makes the first face-to-face interaction a smoother process since it’s not the first time the user and the potential member have spoken to each other.
The platform is currently helping more than 10,000 creators, including Adriene Mishler, an international yoga teacher, best-selling author Luvvie Ajayi Jones, and comedian Amanda Seales.
In Bianchini’s eyes, anyone can start a community and generate revenue from it, and it’s what makes her company so popular. Mighty Networks’ goal is to show people they don’t need a million social media followers to be successful creators. Gathering a large following isn’t as important as finding a niche that appeals to people so much that they feel comfortable paying for your online courses, events or content, Bianchini noted. All you need is 30 people who are committed to your product or offering.
“The membership or online course isn’t about following a crowd,” she explained. “It’s about mastering a new skill or navigating one’s career or health alongside people on the same journey, or just coming together to share in something you all get excited about.”
That mentality and business model are what makes Mighty Networks so popular among creators and investors alike.
“No company in this space has more loyal, passionate believers,” stated Owl Ventures’ Managing Director Amit Patel. “When we saw firsthand that creators could successfully build paid communities and online courses on a Mighty Network with as few as 30 members, we wanted to be a part of unlocking this creator middle class for a million more creators.”
- Mighty Networks raised $50 million in Series B funding after an impressive 2020.
- The company’s goal is to make it easier for users to create a community from scratch.
- CEO Gina Bianchini says the platform has features that will enable creators to succeed even when the pandemic is over and people can go back to live events, courses or groups.