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Why Substack's Business Model is so successful?

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Substack’s Company Overview


Substack is a revolutionary online platform that empowers writers and creators to start their own subscription-based newsletters. Founded in 2017 by Chris Best, Jairaj Sethi, and Hamish McKenzie, the company aims to make it simple for independent writers to build a direct relationship with their audience and generate sustainable income. Substack has quickly become a popular choice for many journalists, authors, and thought leaders. It offers a platform that combines publishing, payments, and analytics into one seamless system, enabling writers to focus on creating high-quality content while Substack takes care of the rest. The company is based in San Francisco, California, and is backed by prominent venture capital firms, including Andreessen Horowitz and Y Combinator. Business Model: Substack operates on a freemium business model. It is free for writers to use the platform, create a newsletter, and grow their subscriber base. The company provides all the necessary tools for publishing, email distribution, and website hosting at no cost. However, when a writer decides to monetize their newsletter by charging a subscription fee, Substack takes a percentage of the revenue. This model allows writers to start small and scale up as their audience grows, without any upfront costs. Revenue Model: The main source of revenue for Substack is the subscription fees charged by its writers. When a writer decides to charge for a subscription to their newsletter, Substack takes a 10% commission on the revenue generated. This means that if a writer charges $10 per month for a subscription, Substack would receive $1 for every subscriber. The rest of the revenue goes directly to the writer. This revenue model aligns the company's interests with those of its writers: the more successful the writer, the more successful Substack becomes. The company also earns interest on the funds held in its account before they are paid out to writers.

https://substack.com/

Country: California

Foundations date: 2017

Type: Private

Sector: Information & Media

Categories: Platform


Substack’s Customer Needs


Social impact: self-transcendence

Life changing: affiliation/belonging

Emotional: provides access, design/aesthetics, fun/entertainment

Functional: simplifies, makes money, connects, informs


Substack’s Related Competitors



Substack’s Business Operations


Crowdsourcing:

Crowdsourcing is a kind of sourcing in which people or organizations solicit donations from Internet users to acquire required services or ideas. Crowdsourcing differs from outsourcing because work may originate from an undefined public (rather than being commissioned from a particular, identified organization). In addition, those crowdsourcing procedures are a combination of bottom-up and top-down. The benefits of crowdsourcing may include reduced prices, increased speed, better quality, increased flexibility, scalability, and variety. An anonymous crowd adopts a solution to a task or issue, usually through the internet. Contributors are compensated or have the opportunity to win a prize if their answer is selected for manufacturing or sale. Customer engagement and inclusion may help build a good rapport with them, resulting in increased sales and income.

Customer data:

It primarily offers free services to users, stores their personal information, and acts as a platform for users to interact with one another. Additional value is generated by gathering and processing consumer data in advantageous ways for internal use or transfer to interested third parties. Revenue is produced by either directly selling the data to outsiders or by leveraging it for internal reasons, such as increasing the efficacy of advertising. Thus, innovative, sustainable Big Data business models are as prevalent and desired as they are elusive (i.e., data is the new oil).

Customer relationship:

Due to the high cost of client acquisition, acquiring a sizable wallet share, economies of scale are crucial. Customer relationship management (CRM) is a technique for dealing with a business's interactions with current and prospective customers that aims to analyze data about customers' interactions with a company to improve business relationships with customers, with a particular emphasis on retention, and ultimately to drive sales growth.

Digital transformation:

Digitalization is the systematic and accelerated transformation of company operations, processes, skills, and models to fully exploit the changes and possibilities brought about by digital technology and its effect on society. Digital transformation is a journey with many interconnected intermediate objectives, with the ultimate aim of continuous enhancement of processes, divisions, and the business ecosystem in a hyperconnected age. Therefore, establishing the appropriate bridges for the trip is critical to success.

Disruptive trends:

A disruptive technology supplants an existing technology and fundamentally alters an industry or a game-changing innovation that establishes an altogether new industry. Disruptive innovation is defined as an invention that shows a new market and value network and ultimately disrupts an established market and value network, replacing incumbent market-leading companies, products, and alliances.

Ecosystem:

A business ecosystem is a collection of related entities ? suppliers, distributors, customers, rivals, and government agencies ? collaborating and providing a particular product or service. The concept is that each entity in the ecosystem influences and is impacted by the others, resulting in an ever-changing connection. Therefore, each entity must be adaptive and flexible to live, much like a biological ecosystem. These connections are often backed by a shared technical platform and are based on the flow of information, resources, and artifacts in the software ecosystem.

Freemium:

Freemium is the sum of the words free and premium and refers to a business strategy that provides both free and premium services. The freemium business model works by providing essential services for free and charging for enhanced or extra capabilities. This is a typical practice among many software firms, who offer imperative software for free with restricted functionality, and it is also a popular approach among game developers. While everyone is invited to play the game for free, extra lives and unique game features are accessible only once the player buys.

Online marketplace:

An online marketplace (or online e-commerce marketplace) is a kind of e-commerce website in which product or service information is supplied by various third parties or, in some instances, the brand itself, while the marketplace operator handles transactions. Additionally, this pattern encompasses peer-to-peer (P2P) e-commerce between businesses or people. By and large, since marketplaces aggregate goods from a diverse range of suppliers, the variety and availability are typically greater than in vendor-specific online retail shops. Additionally, pricing might be more competitive.

Revenue sharing:

Revenue sharing occurs in various forms, but each iteration includes the sharing of operational gains or losses amongst connected financial players. Occasionally, revenue sharing is utilized as an incentive program ? for example, a small company owner may pay partners or colleagues a percentage-based commission for recommending new clients. Occasionally, revenue sharing is utilized to share the earnings generated by a corporate partnership.

Software as a Service (SaaS):

Software as a Service (SaaS) is a paradigm for licensing and delivering subscription-based and centrally hosted software. Occasionally, the term on-demand software is used. SaaS is usually accessible through a web browser via a thin client. SaaS has established itself as the de facto delivery mechanism for a large number of commercial apps. SaaS has been integrated into virtually every major enterprise Software company's strategy.

Subscription:

Subscription business models are built on the concept of providing a product or service in exchange for recurring subscription income on a monthly or annual basis. As a result, they place a higher premium on client retention than on customer acquisition. Subscription business models, in essence, concentrate on revenue generation in such a manner that a single client makes repeated payments for extended access to a product or service. Cable television, internet providers, software suppliers, websites (e.g., blogs), business solutions providers, and financial services companies utilize this approach, as do conventional newspapers, periodicals, and academic publications.

Transaction facilitator:

The business acts as an acquirer, processing payments on behalf of online merchants, auction sites, and other commercial users for a fee. This encompasses all elements of purchasing, selling, and exchanging currencies at current or predetermined exchange rates. By far the biggest market in the world in terms of trade volume. The largest multinational banks are the leading players in this industry. Around the globe, financial hubs serve as anchors for trade between a diverse range of various kinds of buyers and sellers 24 hours a day, save on weekends.

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