I became an entrepreneur to unlock opportunities for more people to create and earn a living through the magic of software.
Today, I want to share the news that Mighty Networks raised $50M of new capital to usher in a new, easier path to help millions more participate in the creator economy.
With established creators flocking to Mighty Networks—from YouTube star Adriene Mishler, XPRIZE founder Peter Diamandis, author Luvvie Ajayi Jones, comedian Amanda Seales, and entrepreneur Sophia Amoruso to brands like TED, Oiselle, and MINDBODY—we’re seizing this moment to expand our focus and support for the emerging creator middle class.
All Creators Welcome
In 2020, Mighty Networks became the easiest way on the internet for new creators to start and grow a community they own.
The number of new creators, brands, and coaches starting their own Mighty Networks grew 200% year-over-year, and the revenue that members pay our creators to buy a membership or take an online course grew over 400% in the same period.
This growth has been fueled by our standout offering, The Business Plan, where a new creator has everything they need to build community, memberships, events, and live online courses in one place. It joins Mighty Pro, where established brands, organizations, and successful creators get everything a Mighty Network offers delivered on their own branded iOS, iPad, and Android apps available in the Apple App and Google Play stores.
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.
A community that helps its members achieve results and transformation they can’t get on their own is not just more valuable to each member, but easier for more people to create than content or courses alone.
And there is no easier way to do this than with a Mighty Network—especially for creators starting from scratch.
Own, Don’t Rent
Today, the standard assumption is that the only way to become a successful creator is to:
- Fight for attention on the platforms where everyone else is hanging out.
- Produce an endless stream of content to gain and keep people’s attention.
- Build a massive social media following.
Renting attention from Big Tech is a dangerous game. You’re building an asset you don’t own and which you can’t control, where the rules (and algorithms) can change at any time.
We’ve pioneered a different creator ownership model at Mighty Networks:
- Start with a community you own. Make this your home base on the internet.
- Bring your members together to achieve results they can’t get on their own.
- Charge for memberships, events, and live online courses, because people pay attention to what they pay for.
This shift empowers new creators starting from scratch to build successful subscription businesses with fewer than 30 members.
And when you only need 30 members to be successful, creators and coaches of all backgrounds start to see opportunities where before there were only insurmountable walls.
This is the foundation for a strong and growing creator middle class.
This kind of ownership model isn’t just relevant to an aspiring creator. Brands and businesses have spent millions building followings on social media, and then have to spend millions more to “reach” those followers.
That’s why established brands, like Oiselle and MINDBODY, have chosen to build a community on their own website and iOS, iPad, and Android apps. They aren’t going to stop having a presence on social media, but they have become much more intentional about funneling that effort into a platform where they own the relationship with their community members.
With Mighty Networks, the software is ready for brands and creators to engage their customers in their own space without needing to invest in slow, expensive custom development to get there.
There’s a Niche For Every Creator
People are amazing. It’s one of the reasons there’s an opportunity to unlock a thriving creator middle class today. The stream of never-ending niches enabled by the internet is simply awesome.
The emerging creator middle class is thriving because they are defining niches that are essential to people’s careers, health, wellness, and other important interests. This means you don’t need a lot of members to build something so valuable that people will pay for it and so motivating that members will essentially run it themselves. We’ve found that many Mighty Networks are successful with fewer than 30 people. The membership or online course isn’t about following a crowd; 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.
Let’s take our example of 30 members in a community. To get to $30,000 annual income means each member invests $1,600/year in the community. This may seem like a lot until you start to compare it to what this same person may pay to belong to a gym, join a yoga studio, attend a workshop, see a career coach, or invest in a therapist.
Over the next decade, creator and brand-led communities will define how we learn, how we build new practices, and, ultimately, how we navigate a rapidly changing world.
New creators won’t need to be experts on a topic to lead a community mastering something interesting or important to members. They just need to be one step ahead of the people they are bringing together, and willing to raise their hand to lead.
Budgets for mastering new skills and interests, health and wellness, professional development, and self-improvement moving to online communities and courses opens up a massive financial opportunity for the new creator middle class and increases their odds of success. It’s why we’re so excited about their opportunity here at Mighty Networks.
Come for the Community, Stay for the Community
We are embarking on a decade of community software innovation.
With this capital, we plan to make it even easier for a new creator to start and grow a community they own and fully benefit from.
Each Mighty Network will continue to get more valuable to every member with each new person who joins and contributes. This means connecting the most relevant people to each other quickly, breaking the ice, surfacing relevant conversations, courses, and events, and, when the time is right, prompting members to refer new people to join.
When compared to our current expectations of creators as content factories, this new model simply makes so much more sense.
Community will enable a thriving creator middle class. We’re proud to be in the business of seeing that promise through.
Gina Bianchini is the CEO & Founder of Mighty Networks, where creators and brands start and grow communities they own. Before starting Mighty Networks, she co-founded Ning, an early social networking platform that gave creators the opportunity to build their own social networks.
This funding round is led by Owl Ventures with Ziff Capital Partners and LionTree Partners joining existing investors Intel Capital, Marie Forleo, Gretchen Rubin, Dan Rosensweig, Reid Hoffman, BBG Ventures, Lucas Venture Group, and Great Oaks Venture Capital. Full press release here.