Thanks to everyone who committed to our Community Round! We’re going to close the round to new investors on April 20th. You can invest (or confirm your reservation) at https://wefunder.com/substack/

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Mar 28Liked by Chris Best, Hamish McKenzie

At only $100 I can buy a piece of a company for about the price of a dozen eggs?!?

I’m in!

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Thank you to everyone for all of their interest in this community round!

Wanted to share a quick update: We'll continue to accept investments for the next 1-2 weeks, until our paperwork is filed and investors confirm their investments. If we're oversubscribed, we may not be able to accept all investments and may reduce individual investments—in which case people will be refunded for the difference. In that case, we’ll prioritize Substack writers who have turned on paid subscriptions and paying subscribers.

If you want to invest, go ahead and place a reservation for how much you would like to, and we’ll let you know how much you’re able to invest when we file our paperwork with the SEC (estimated 1 - 2 weeks).

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I haven't been with Substack since the very beginning, but kinda close to it -- I joined the platform in mid-2018, after talking with Hamish and Bill Bishop about what it was all about. Back then, it was essentially a CMS paired with a way to send out posts via email, and that was really it.

Since then, Substack has grown into something far more than I imagined it would five years ago. From discussion threads to podcasts and video, to Chat and Recommendations, the tools the Substack team has built for writers really are second to none. As interesting as all of that is, my guess is that's the easy part.

Now, Substack is poised to become a place where writers' work can not just get published and distributed -- it can get *discovered* too, which really is the holy grail we're all after as writers, right? You all see what's happening with Twitter, and how difficult (and increasingly more difficult with every passing month/year) it is to get discovered via social media.

If we can help Substack become the place where not just the writers are but the readers are too, just think about the potential that offers us all. That's why I'm investing today -- not a huge amount (I've got a mortgage and kids!) but enough that I hope makes a meaningful difference, while also knowing that it might go south. That's life, of course. But you miss all the shots you don't take, as someone once told me.

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May I make a suggestion? What if you offered a general Substack subscription that could be used to access a set number of subscription articles, and content providers would be paid when these subscribers accessed their content?

I will admit that I currently am not a paid subscriber to any Substacks, although there are many I read regularly. Part of the reason for this is that there are so many, and it is hard to choose. If I think back to 30 years ago, I could subscribe to a print newspaper for a fairly low price and read daily articles on a wide variety of topics. I don’t know of any Substack that currently approaches that kind of variety and quantity of content, and I’d have to subscribe to many substacks to come close to that, at a cost that would be prohibitive.

If I could pay a rate that gave me access to, say, 10 articles a day (you could offer different tiers), and I could read what I want and each writer whose article I read would get a portion of my subscription cost, it would make it a more newspaper-like experience for the reader and would give writers access to additional revenue and exposure from people who want to try out their articles before deciding to commit to a specific subscription.

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Great news, and a good job of one-upping "The Hundred". I heard its Substack meets Masterclass meets the Economist meets the New Yorker.

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Respect for living your values. Let’s keep growing and succeeding together!

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That's a big No, capital "N." There's no possible transparency here. What are the possible, realistic returns for a $100 investment? We are already the working capital of the Substack owners. The idea of Substack was to start slow, build free subscribers, introduce pay options: Substack gets a percentage of every paying subscriber we have. You're also paying well-known names an advance against future earnings: That's negative cost-flow for you until they earn back the advance, like the well-known model of the recorded music industry. I've experienced steady growth, more than 1,000 free subscribers. But I'm holding on to my wallet. There's a reason tech businesses can't find the investment capital they once did.

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I love the idea but I just don't see the numbers in the articles. Would be helpful if we can see the avg sub price, rev, exp QoQ etc... to justify that 585M valuation. I see the users growth but that's just half the picture for a 6yrs old platform.

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Mar 28·edited Mar 28Liked by Hamish McKenzie

If I had 2 million dollars to throw at you, Substack, I would throw 2 million dollars at you...

(...then I'd turn into a monster and start making unreasonable demands, like British spelling for everything - "LISTEN UP, COLOUR IS SPELLED WITH A "U", DON'T MAKE ME REGRET MY INVESTMENT NOW" - and deliveries of pastries and beer to my front doorstep every single day...)

...but I signed up for a tiny corner of this thing, and that makes me very happy. You've been a career-changer for me, and if this is one way of endorsing you and saying thanks, I'm in with both feet.

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I love this!!!

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Great! Substack always keeps me impressed by how they build their community and motivate their writers!

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I have seriously considered two different Wefunder campaigns, and this is probably the third or fourth I've been pitched. However, I never invest because I can't get a serious, straightforward answer as to how, if at all, I could potentially make money off an investment like this. As I see it, there is only one way, and that's if Substack goes public. My shares would be converted into equitable stock shares. Another option would be a buyout from another company, which more often than not results in no equitable distribution back to shareholders.

Can you spell out in certain terms how an investor could make money in this model? I'm not saying I will, but how could I?

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Do you have a forum for writers sharing innovative ideas on what could be next for Substack to either double down on or explore? The chats are great but also some actual conversations might help writers, investors and Substack leaders be more aligned on things

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Have you discussed NOT doing another funding round? I say this, only because every other great company that has thrived on the creativity of artists and writers has driven themselves into the dirt going on this path. I've been a part of a few of them. It was not fun, and in hindsight, it never felt like the right decision.

Let's face it. Companies like Substack thrive, not when they pay out dividends to deep-pocket investors (even when a small fraction of them may be writers). It thrives when those who are doing the work are the ones who benefit financially, directly. I think a lot of us here have been to this rodeo before, and those who have are probably thinking "own a piece of substack" really means: siphon off profits from your creative force who generate the revenue.

I write this not just to stick it to you, but because I wonder, if you have considered other options besides the standard Silicon Valley investor shuffle? Your huge stable of writers are radical innovators, you know. Might they (we) have ideas? Substack started off with a radical innovative idea. Why not apply that to how the company is run? To the structure? Why not challenge the notion of what a company can be and who it works for? Why not workshop different possible futures with the millions of creatives that are writing your content? I am certain that, together, we could come up with a far better idea than 'selling pieces of substack'.

Right now, we, all of us here, are on a path of continuing to work for venture capital and other outside investors. Personally, I want to work for my success and the success of the people right here in this network, and it seems there are probably many more ways to do that than to have another round of open investment for which we (your writers) will all have to pay returns and dividends on.

Why not figure out a way to become lighter on your feet as a company? Maybe we can become a true cooperative, or open source collective, or something yet imagined, but that is built and run by the only 'stakeholders' that really matter: your writers and amazing staff who keep this ship running and fill it with beautiful content. Then, when we do have excess, we can share whatever that is in a reasonable, transparent way with the amazing Substack staff and writers, instead of paying it out to people who were never involved in generating great content, let alone revenue. Does that structure not work with California law? Well, why not move? Does it not work with the structure of U.S. corporations? Well, how about not being that anymore?

I want to help everyone here succeed. So I do not feel so great about being an 'investor,' when logically this means pulling money from the pockets of my fellow writers. I would rather earn money by pushing myself to be a better artist and writer, growing my readership, and doing it while also helping this community of amazing world-changing creatives do the same, in an atmosphere geared towards collectively bettering ourselves. In other words, I would rather continue in the spirit which you started this thing ... rather than the spirit of all the other 'creative' tech startups that eventually crashed and burned or were bought out and deleted by the competition.

Apologies if all that sounded to brash. Maybe it was. I grew up in Silicon Valley and did that dance for too long. I thought Substack was something different and better than the others. Maybe it still can be? But only, I would argue, if you involve (deeply and meaningfully) your creatives in coming up with solutions for how to move forward, rather than relying on investors and old hat Silicon Valley advisors.

Does our collective brain trust of writers, hackers, artists, PR peoples, finance experts, business people, and coders have any ideas as to how Substack can 'grow' in a way that is more equitable than continued rounds of monetary investment?

What are other ideas for imagining where this ship could go, in ways that would support all of us in the long term?

With love and hope,


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I get to invest in SUBSTACK, my favorite startup and the platform i use EVERY SINGLE DAY? I’m in.

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